A Boulder-based company, which aims to simplify the process for renewable energy projects in developing countries, has raised $15 millions to expand its technology.
Odyssey Energy Solutions closed its Series A funding round on Friday. Union Square Ventures led the round, with participation from Equal Ventures and Twelve Below. Other participants included Equator, MCJ Collective Abstract Ventures Founder Collective Climate Capital, Twelve Below Transition, Twelve Below Equator, MCJ Collective MCJ Collective Abstract Ventures Founder Collective.
Emily McAteer, co-founder and CEO of the company, has spent most of her professional career in emerging markets' energy sectors. She knows that there are different challenges faced by developers when they try to develop new energy sources such as solar or wind.
McAteer explained that developers in emerging markets often work simultaneously on several smaller projects. They need to find and communicate with investors more effectively, but they also need to be able to quickly procure the equipment needed for their projects.
She said that "project developers" are calling distributors to find out what's available in their area, but it is either not the brand they want or it doesn't have the right price. Or, it may be too small an order to go directly to a manufacturer.
Odyssey describes itself as a platform in a box that brings together all the stakeholders on a project, from those who can finance projects to those who provide equipment. The platform allows developers to track progress on multiple projects and communicate with stakeholders in one location.
Many of the areas where developers are working don't yet have a fully-developed utility grid. Their projects, therefore, fall under what is known as distributed renewable energy. McAteer suggested that a South African shopping mall might want to install solar panels on its roof in order to be able to power itself during a rolling out blackout.
Odyssey encourages developers to create energy sources near the point of consumption and to skip the traditional utility systems that are in place in developed countries. She said that the company had placed itself in the middle of the clean energy revolution -- "one the biggest opportunities for economic growth and climate change of our lifetimes," McAteer stated in the funding announcement.
Odyssey's platform has a total of $1.3 billion in financing, originating from financial institutions, international and regional bank, infrastructure funds, and donors.
Odyssey raised its last seed funding of $5.34 Million in September. At that time, the company reported approximately 1,500 companies as using its platform.
McAteer stated that this round of funding will be used to expand the company's Odyssey Procure procurement marketplace. This includes technology as well as geographical expansion into new markets, such Latin America and some parts of Asia.
Odyssey estimates that only 1.5% of all global energy infrastructure investments are allocated to 70% of the population. This is mainly in developing countries. Over the last five years, however, average transaction sizes in the off-grid industry have tripled.
In a press release, Nick Grossman, partner at Union Square Ventures said that Odyssey was positioned to be the system of record in emerging markets for DRE projects. "Odyssey’s platform streamlines all transactions and provides powerful network efforts to unlock industry scale."
McAteer, who is based in Boulder, said that the Odyssey team spans 12 countries, six time zones and plans to expand into new markets.