Sun Exchange looking to raise R7m through crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa

SA fintech Sun Exchange, which claims to run the world’s first peer-to-peer solar leasing platform, has launched a bid to raise R7-million via equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa, in return for a 5.2% equity stake in the company.

The launch of the campaign follows a two-week private sale via the Uprise.Africa platform, the startup said in a statement today. The public campaign will now run for 60 days.

According to the campaign’s page on Uprise.Africa, the private sale netted the startup R932 000 (or 13% of the R7-million target) from 53 investors.

Sun Exchange CEO and founder Abraham Cambridge (pictured above) said in a statement today that the crowdfunding campaign is part of a $3-million seed funding round that the startup began last year.

Sun Exchange’s Abraham Cambridge said the Uprise.Africa campaign is part of a $3-million seed funding round

Cambridge said so far Sun Exchange has raised about $800 000 in the round — from international investors, including $500 000 from the multi-million dollar hedge fund, Alphabit Fund, which was announced in October last year (see this story).

The startup said funds raised through the Uprise.Africa campaign will help cover marketing efforts to grow the Sun Exchange user base 10 times over the next two years and to add new markets in Africa in the short term, and Eastern Europe, South America and Central Asia in the medium term.

It also wants to use the funding to expand its technology team and turn its platform into an interactive and gamified solar cell ownership dashboard with rewards and referral programmes.

Lastly, it said the funding will help pay for a larger office in Cape Town to accommodate its expanding sales, business development and marketing teams.

$1.9m raised since 2016

Other than Alphabit, Sun Exchange counts among its investors Boost VC and Techstars, as well as numerous individual US. and EU investors.

In April Cambridge told Ventureburn (see this story) that as of December 2018, the startup which he founded in 2015, had raised $1.9-million through its Sunex token sale event, as well as from angel investors, seed investors, and tech incubator partners since 2016.

Since it launched in 2015, the company has built a community of more than 8000 members from about 140 countries and has brought solar power to 13 SA schools, businesses and organisations, and claims it’s offset 1500 tons of carbon per year, and growing.

Sun Exchange has received numerous accolades, including being named one of Fast Company Magazine’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa, and being listed among Africa’s “Energy Elites” by ESI Africa for the last two years running.

Three Uprise.Africa campaigns on the go

The Sun Exchange campaign is one of three campaigns under way on Uprise.Africa at present.

The three others include R3-million to fund a new Beerhouse outlet (over R1.2-million has been raised with 12 days to go) and a R40-million crowdfunding campaign to fund a documentary series on the life of Reeva Steenkamp.

A fourth campaign — a bid by Drifter Brewing Company to raise R3-million — closed recently, with the brewery having raised almost R3.9-million from 235 investors in exchange for a 12% equity stake.

In May the platform closed arguably Africa’s largest raise from an equity crowdfunding platform to date — when SA regtech startup Intergreatme raised R32,601,000 against a targeted raise of R24-million and all in a matter of days. Over 200 investors took part (see this story and this one).

At the time Uprise.Africa CEO Tabassum Qadir called the raise a record for African crowdfunding.

Last year, when the platform kicked off, it helped Drifter Brewery to raise almost R3.9-million from 196 investors at the campaign’s close in August last year (see this story).

Read more: Sun Exchange looking to raise $3m in round led by US digital asset investment fund Alphabit
Read more: Sun Exchange closes ICO with $1m raised, just 20% of target
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SA startup The Sun Exchange announces $500k investment from Alphabit [Updated]
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Featured image: Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abe Cambridge (Facebook)



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