Investible is thrilled to announce our investment in Solar AI, a technology enabled renewable energy startup that provides $0 upfront solar in Southeast Asia.
Between 2013 and 2022, solar technologies consistently attracted the largest share of investment from renewables, reaching USD 3B in 2022. As a result of the increased maturity of the industry and declining costs, more residential and commercial customers have become attracted to the proposition of cheaper, renewable energy through solar; however, they are often limited by the upfront costs. As a result, there has been a strong emergence of solar leases or similar, to enable businesses to get on the solar bandwagon far quicker.
Despite this, in Southeast Asia, the smaller system (500kWp or less) market remains underserved. This includes your residential homeowners who currently don’t have clear access to minimal-cost upfront solar utilising high-quality systems.
Solar AI is a technology-enabled renewable energy startup that unlocks zero upfront cost solutions to a large, underserved segment of smaller property owners in Southeast Asia, with a mission to make it as simple as possible for all property owners to get solar.
Investible's Climate Tech Fund invested in Solar AI’s seed round that was led by Vietnam-based Earth VC, with participation from Hong-Kong-based Undivided VC. In these investment notes, we will share insights into our rationale for investing in Solar AI!
3 stakeholders, 1 product
As the connection point between commercial financiers, solar installers and retail customers, Solar AI have optimised their platform to keep the installation and management process simple and seamless for all stakeholders. Through Solar AI's online solar simulator, retail customers can get an immediate estimate of their cost, energy savings, and carbon footprint reduction upon solar adoption. This feature provides the first touch point in the sales cycle and acts as the primary customer acquisition channel.
Once customers are qualified and onboarded, the portal provides complete visibility for retailers and service providers, from quotes to tracking offers and managing the installation process. For the retail customers we spoke to, these features and the ability to access 24/7 customer service were critical to their satisfaction with the platform.
Strong Traction with Significant Market Potential
Solar AI’s platform has proven its ability to attract prospects, qualify sales leads, and convert these leads into paid customers. With a team of just 4 FTE, Solar AI secured almost 100 solar projects in 2022 and has continued growing into 2023. The team has since launched their solar-as-a-service opportunity, providing $0 upfront costs and a “pay as you go” approach to solar, to reduce the barrier to entry for customers and saw a significant uplift in their customer acquisition.
While the initial market focus has been Singapore, the team is actively exploring expansion into neighbouring Southeast Asian markets, including the Philippines and Malaysia, where government incentives are driving the transition towards clean energy adoption, including residential rooftop solar.
ENGIE Factory Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) turned founder
Bolong Chew, the CEO and co-founder of Solar AI Technologies is the former EIR at ENGIE Factory, ENGIE’s early-stage venture and innovation arm and is well equipped in the development of projects that facilitate the move to net zero. Based on our experience so far, Bolong is also an extraordinary operator and relationship manager. Within hours of the investment closing, Bolong brought me into the fold of his current investors, and I got immediate insights into how he leverages relationships across the Southeast Asia energy and startup networks. Bolong also had experience across market entry in healthcare and other venture building initiatives.
Gerald Chablowski, the CTO and co-founder has spent over 12 years in lead developer and technical product manager roles across Paris, Dubai, San Francisco and Singapore. He is a self-taught full-stack developer and has managed up to 30 team members in previous roles. After helping Bolong get Solar AI up and running, Gerald moved into a co-founder position.
The founding team have continued to hire and grow, with new roles opening over the next few months. If you’d like to join a rocket ship, keep your eyes peeled!
The Investible Climate Tech Fund is delighted to lead the investment into this brilliant team and is looking forward to supporting Solar AI on their mission to drive adoption of residential solar and help support the decarbonisation of the global energy sector.
The Investible group of companies includes various entities who are corporate authorised representatives (CAR) of Boutique Capital Pty Ltd (BCPL) AFSL 508011. The full list of entities are detailed here.
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