Ugandan company gnuGrid has raised the size of its seed funding round to US$612,500,as it pivots its product offering to move into the fintech space
Solar Sentra was launched in 2019 by David Opio and James Dailey with the goal of streamlining and automating the highly fragmented solar industry in Uganda and beyond by using AI-optimized sensors to monitor solar systems and collect data on power usage that solar companies can use to tailor service delivery.
To help solar companies operate more efficiently and at lower costs, gnuGrid bundled this hardware with digital payments, predictive analytics, customer profiling, and data management, among other features.
The startup began the year with a funding round, which it has now increased to close its seed round at US$612,500. The funding comes from a handful individual angel investors, giving gnuGrid a pre-money valuation of US$6.25 million. In 2019, the startup raised $50,000 to develop its tech engine, pilot the product, and launch it into the market.
However, gnuGrid’s product has changed, with the firm announcing that it has pivoted to become a licensed credit reference bureau to help many informal and formal financial and credit institutions de-risk their investments and build reputational collateral for last-mile credit consumers and borrowers.
“gnuGrid has the system necessary to onboard the millions of unbanked/tier four consumers in Uganda – all of Africa, actually,” Opio said.
“It is the first-ever local credit reference bureau licensed by the Bank of Uganda to provide credit reference services to enable lenders to know how borrowers repay their loans.”
The seed funding was utilized to make up data hosting servers and a cutting-edge customer support center, onboard new employees, develop the CRB platform, and implement sales and marketing initiatives. With the round now closed, gnuGrid is working with PwC on a US$10 million Series A round.
“The US$10 million raise will go into scaling the CRB services to the last mile informal financial institutions, collecting data from several credit providers, expanding the data hosting infrastructure, enhancing data security and protection, onboarding more staff members, and scaling the CRB solution to other Africa countries, starting with Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia,” said Opio.