The startup world is a buzz and every day there is a Kenyan startup taking the world by storm! Something has been cooking, the Negawatt Accelerator at @iBizAfrica-Strathmore University.
The Negawatt Challenge is an innovation challenge launched by the World Bank focusing on solutions for energy efficiency across four big cities in the world: Nairobi, Accra, Dar es Salaam, and Rio de Janeiro. The iHub and @iBizAfrica-Strathmore University are the local implementing partners of the Negawatt Challenge.
In the Kenyan Chapter, after a successful first phase that consisted of a Design Thinking Workshop, a Hackathon and Bootcamp, two teams Plugin Pulse and Pawa Tele emerged and proceeded to the second phase - the Negawatt Accelerator at Strathmore University’s @iBizAfrica.
Quietly, the two teams have been working over the last two months to build smart devices for energy efficiency as well as develop and implement business models to take these new innovations to market by storm.
Plugin is a startup company that provides energy date profiles for various consumer households in easy to understand visualizations. The team is addressing the lack of reliable and accurate energy data for different consumer clusters in Kenya. They have developed the Plugin Pulse, a device that is able to collect and send data to plugin data servers for analysis and reporting. The team is led by Dr. Winnie Waudo, a renewable energy specialist.
Pawa Tele, on the other hand, has developed the Pawa Tele smart switch that is able to provide grid energy consumers for the first time with a multiple access smart switch. The device not only enables energy consumers to automatically use the most optimal energy source at any given time, but also provides users with an affordable and gradual grid to solar power plan.
During the Accelerator program under the @iBizAfrica incubation program, Plugin and Pawa Tele have been provided with additional training and coaching on legal and IP issues, business planning and solar energy PV systems training, testing and piloting. The teams have also continued to receive mentorship support from National Instruments (NI), the Negawatt Challenge global Terrawatt Sponsor.
To ensure the teams develop hardware innovations that meet the highest quality standards, the physicists and engineers from Strathmore University Energy Research Centre have worked closely with the team to offer technical advisory, training and mentorship to both team on renewable energy technologies.
On Friday 16th October, Pawa Tele and Plugin will face the judges for an opportunity to be declared winners and flag bearers for Nairobi in the Negawatt Global competition and Study Tour taking place at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona this November.