What a diversity of challengers for the 4th step of EDF Pulse Africa Tour: South-Africa, Namibia and Zambia were all represented, either physically or virtually, for the Tour’s Southern-Africa edition. Seven start-ups pitching but only one getting to the finals. Eventually, South-Africa will represent Southern-Africa in Paris through the project of Plentify, freshly elected winner.
Large-scale profiles and diversity of fields of expertise: every jury member belonged to South-African high sphere. But this amazing composition has not interfere with the Southern-African candidates’ serenity and determination on Thursday, 19th of September in Johannesburg. All the seven finalists kept their head up and answered the precise questions of the experts without even blinking, facing an alert and interested audience. The jury members were either committed for the energy access in Africa (as Luc Koechlin from EDF and Vicky Basson from KES), or taking part to the local entrepreneurial spirit’s development (as Mustapha Zaouini from Fliptin and Frédéric Dupouy from Oppenheimer Partners), or even stakeholders of the economic landscape such as Marjolaine Pierrat-Ferraille from the French South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FSACCI). This variety allowed the jury members to have a wider vision of the candidates’ project to appoint unanimously Plentify as Southern-Africa winner.
What made the jury vote for Plentify instead of its determined and groundbreaking competitors? Plentify’s maturity, its pioneering technology and its wide targets. The start-up transforms water heaters into batteries which are connected to the grid and can charge “smartly”. Actually, it shifts energy use to times when electricity is abundant, while ensuring homes have hot water when needed. And that makes a difference because it eliminates the dirtiest power on the grids while ensuring a cheaper electricity production and a more secure supply at any time. A win-win project for both the consumers and Plentify employees.
But EDF Pulse Africa is, over all, a challenge launched with the aim of finding and supporting African “technological nuggets". That is why the incubator Fliptin and the FSACCI become major partners for this 1st edition of the Tour. And because of the amazing pitch delivered by Solar Turtle, the FSACCI decided to give them the “Coup de Coeur” Award with a promise of help and accompany for a year. What a nice proof of South-African support to a social and local project. Solar Turtle develops intelligent solar battery to charge kiosks that teaches and motivates rural entrepreneurs on how to run a small business. The technical process consists into small energy kiosks that uses solar power to charge mobile devices, offer internet hotspots, printing…
To sum up the success of EDF Pulse Africa Tour first edition in Southern-Africa, Luc Koechlin, VP Southern Africa EDF, said: “For this new edition, we have made improvements to diversify the way projects are screened. We had a hard time selecting the 7 startups selected because we received many exciting projects. We are proud to encourage these African entrepreneurs, who have been able to set up ambitious projects whose foundations will be part of the energy solutions of tomorrow”.
In Johannesburg, EDF Pulse Africa Tour had a huge challenge: to gather innovative entrepreneurs and seasoned actors from the energy sector. Successful mission for the local team! Thus, the roadshow keeps its momentum for the next destination, Ivory Coast.