South African Blockchain-Based Solar Firm Raises $1M+ In ICO

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

The Sun Exchange, a South African blockchain-based solar micro-leasing marketplace, has concluded an initial coin offering, raising more than $1 million.

The ICO, which ended on Dec. 31, only managed to raise 20 percent of its initial target of $5.4 million, according to the company’s blog.

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Sun Exchange said it had raised $1,068,205 and has allocated 28.4 million Sunex Tokens.

The company blamed the turbulent nature of the ICO market in recent times for failing to reach their target amount, according to Ventureburn.

The ICO still had its benefits, the company noted, explaining that they had doubled its user base through the sale of the tokens, and the Sun Exchange platform now has members from more than 130 countries as a result.

Blockchain-based solar leasing

The Sun Exchange allows anyone in the world to own or lease solar panels used to power African businesses and communities; earning panel owners an income.

The exchange allows for collaborative solar finance using blockchain technology.

blockchain-based
The Sun Exchange is a blockchain-based solar micro-leasing marketplace. Photo – AP – Schalk van Zuydam

With this concept in mind, the company launched an ICO early in 2018 that was run out of Malta, with a private presale of SunEx tokens during March and April, according to Businesslive.

Launched in 2014, the blockchain-based firm expanded its reach globally with a U.S. headquarters in California and a regional operating office in Dubai.

In October last year The Sun Exchange received a $500,000 seed investment from U.S. hedge fund Alphabit, according to Ventureburn.

Alphabit typically backs companies that are trying to solve problems through blockchain technology.

In 2017 the Stellenbosch-based startup raised a $1.6 million investment through SA venture capital company Kalon Venture Partners, Network Society Ventures, BoostVC, TechStars and Powerhouse, according to ITNewsAfrica.

The year 2018 has been positive for the company’s expansion and publicity, with new partnerships struck with the the United Nations Development Programme and Leonardo DiCaprio-backed Powerhive, according to ITWebAfrica.

In May last year, the United Nations Development Programme announced a partnership with The Sun Exchange to pilot blockchain-based finance for solar in Moldova.

Two months later the company revealed that they were partnering with Powerhive, with The Sun Exchange platform set to provide access to electricity for around 175,000 people in Kenya that do not have power.

ICOs in Africa

The Sun Exchange is part of a handful of initial coin offerings that have been launched in Africa in recent years.

Nigerian remittances firm SureRemit launched its initial coin offering in 2017, raising $7 million from a host of investors in over 60 countries, according to DisruptAfrica.

The funding was dedicated to developing and implementing the company’s digital voucher system that makes payments easier and cheaper. That amount meant that the remittances firm succeeded in raising the largest African ICO in 2017.

Fintech startup Wala raised $1.2 million from its initial coin offering in 2017. The South African company admitted that it considered their ICO to be a success in spite of falling well short of its $30 million target, according to Coindesk.

The Dala token, as they it is named, is a new financial services utility token built on the Ethereum blockchain.

Golix, a Zimbabwean cryptocurrency exchange that makes it possible for users in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Tanzania, Nigeria and Rwanda to invest in a variety of digital currencies, launched its own ICO in 2018, according to BitcoinAfrica.

Golix privately sold $2 million worth of its token GLX, and publicly sold around $8 million to finance the setting up of cryptocurrency infrastructure across the African continent.

Despite falling short of its $32 million target, it was hailed as a success, becoming the largest amount raised by an African ICO.