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SA startup The Sun Exchange announces $500k investment from Alphabit [Updated]

SA startup The Sun Exchange, a blockchain-based solar micro-leasing marketplace, announced today that it had received a $500,000 seed investment from Alphabit, a multi-million-dollar US hedge fund.

The hedge fund, which invests in companies that solve real-world problems by applying blockchain and decentralisation, was launched in April last year and aims to invest $300-million, according to a Reuters story.

Alphabit CEO Liam Robertson said in a statement today that with technology that has the potential to disrupt two of today’s most dysfunctional centralised global systems — energy and finance — that he’s convinced that Sun Exchange will be “one of the best equity investments Alphabit has made to date”.

The Sun Exchange has received a $500,000 seed investment from Alphabit, a multi-million-dollar US hedge fund

Sun Exchange said in the statement that earlier this year crypto power couple, Stacy Herbert and Max Keiser of Heisenberg Capital and the Keiser Report, joined the Sun Exchange advisory board.

In July, the company announced a partnership with Leonardo DiCaprio-backed Powerhive (a mini-grid solutions provider), aiming to leverage the Sun Exchange platform to deliver electricity for up to 175 000 people in Kenya currently living without power.

Read more: Sun Exchange, Powerhive to provide energy access for 175 000 Kenyans

In May, the UN Development Programme announced it is partnering with Sun Exchange to pilot blockchain-based finance for solar in Moldova.

Sun Exchange founder Abraham Cambridge said in the same statement today that the startup is “delighted” to have the support of Alphabit’s team of blockchain industry visionaries.

“Their investment will significantly accelerate our growth and progress towards our goal of solar powering the world through the crypto-economy,” he said.

Six operational projects

Sun Exchange said today that it has facilitated funding for six fully operational solar projects in South Africa through it’s solar micro-leasing platform.

The projects power organisations such as schools, small businesses, wildlife protection parks and nonprofits. The company is currently running a crowdsale for it’s seventh project, which will solar power Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg, a historic educational institution renowned for its social justice leadership.

By leveraging the borderless, decentralised nature of cryptocurrency, Sun Exchange enables practically anyone, anywhere in the world, to buy into their solar projects and receive a stream of monetised sunshine from the power generated by the projects.

Through this model, Sun Exchange has built a global community of over 14,000 Sun Exchange members across 90 countries.

Token sale at $2.7m now

Sun Exchange said it had also recently introduced Sunex, its own digital rewards token, which can be earned to get discounts on the Sun Exchange marketplace and can be staked into a ground-breaking solar project insurance fund.

The Sunex Network Token is currently available for purchase through a public token sale event which will run until December 31, 2018.

The startup has so far raised just over $2.7-million, against a target of $5.4-million. On 31 July it stood at $2.4-million (see this story). The initial coin offering (ICO) will allow investors to earn an income off small solar projects.

The Sun Exchange’s targeted raise was lowered from $24-million to $5.4-million earlier this year.

Commented Cambridge: “Over the course of the past few months we have adjusted the goals of our token sale to reflect the challenges of the current ICO environment.

“While technically our hard cap is $24-million, our focus now is on achieving the lower $5.4-million fundraising goal, which is more realistic given the recent ICO market climate,” he said.

Read more: SA startups Vizibiliti Insight, The Sun Exchange celebrating after VivaTech win
Read more: The Sun Exchange in $25m ICO to allow investors to earn income off solar projects
Read more: SA blockchain startup The Sun Exchange raises $1.6m to help fund planned ICO

Editor’s note (11 October 2018 and 12 October 2018): The target for The Sun Exchange’s token sale was quoted as $25-million in a 31 July story by Ventureburn. The figure on the startup’s token sale page is however currently set as a hard cap of $24-million, with a fundraising goal of $5.4-million.

Ventureburn sought to verify with the company whether these targets were subsequently altered or not.

Sun Exchange founder Abraham Cambridge responded via his PR agent that he had indeed changed the targeted raise for the ICO.

“Over the course of the past few months we have adjusted the goals of our token sale to reflect the challenges of the current ICO environment.

“While technically our hard cap is $25-million, our focus now is on achieving the lower $5.4-million fundraising goal, which is more realistic given the recent ICO market climate,” he said.