Al­phabit backs Sun Ex­change

Business Day - - COMPANIES - Nick Hed­ley Se­nior Busi­ness Writer hed­leyn@busi­

The Sun Ex­change, a Cape Town-based blockchain startup that lets peo­ple buy into so­lar projects, re­ceived a $500,000 seed in­vest­ment from global hedge fund Al­phabit.

The com­pany raised $1.6m in 2017 from lo­cal in­vest­ment firm Kalon Ven­ture Part­ners and US in­vestors, and plans to raise at least $5.4m via an ini­tial coin of­fer­ing, which it will run un­til the end of De­cem­ber.

The Sun Ex­change’s plat­form lets in­di­vid­u­als buy so­lar pan­els or cells and then lease them to end users, who pay monthly rentals to the in­vestors.

The plat­form uses blockchain tech­nol­ogy, a pub­lic on­line ledger of trans­ac­tions best known as the tech­nol­ogy be­hind dig­i­tal cur­ren­cies.

Al­phabit CEO Liam Robert­son said The Sun Ex­change “has po­ten­tial to dis­rupt two of to­day’s most dys­func­tional cen­tralised global sys­tems — en­ergy and fi­nance. I’m con­vinced this will be one of the best eq­uity in­vest­ments Al­phabit has made to date”.

Al­phabit , which is reg­is­tered in Dubai and the Cay­man Is­lands, was launched in 2017, ac­cord­ing to a Reuters re­port.

The Sun Ex­change founder and CEO Abra­ham Cam­bridge said the in­vest­ment would “sig­nif­i­cantly ac­cel­er­ate our growth and progress to­wards our goal of so­lar pow­er­ing the world through the crypto-econ­omy”.

In July, The Sun Ex­change an­nounced a part­ner­ship with the Leonardo DiCaprio-backed Pow­er­hive, which aims to use The Sun Ex­change’s plat­form to sup­ply elec­tric­ity to 175,000 peo­ple in Kenya. The com­pany has also part­nered with the UN De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme on a sep­a­rate pi­lot project.

In SA, The Sun Ex­change is rais­ing funds for so­lar power at Sa­cred Heart Col­lege in Jo­han­nes­burg. The com­pany has in­stalled so­lar plants at Knysna Ele­phant Park, a wildlife re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre in the Western Cape and at a school in Stel­len­bosch, among other projects.

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