South African startup company Plentify has won the South African edition of the EDF Pulse Africa innovation competition.
The competition is aimed at supporting African innovators committed to the continent’s energy development.
Plentify turns water heaters into grid-connected thermal batteries, which intelligently “recharge” when electricity is abundant on the grid, thereby improving reliability, decreasing reliance on expensive generation and saving water heating costs.
The company achieves this using an easy-to-install Internet of Things controller, a mobile application and a cloud-based artificial intelligence engine, which turns each water heater on or off, based on the needs of the user and the grid.
As winner, Plentify will participate in the grand finale of EDF Pulse Africa, which will be held in Paris, France, in November.
EDF Pulse Africa was created in 2017 by integrated electricity company EDF to discover the African continent’s technological gems and support innovation by involving local entrepreneurs in the development of innovative offers.
The EDF Pulse Africa tour spanned seven countries on the continent, discovering candidates that were plugged into their local economies.
The winner of each national edition is awarded a place in the finale.
Seven startups were selected to compete in the South African final, presenting energy solutions in off-grid power generation, electrical power applications and services, and access to water through the use of electricity.
The competition was open to startups and small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 50 employees in the 54 African countries.
The judging panel for South Africa comprised EDF Southern Africa VP Luc Koechlin, France South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry director Marjolaine Pierrat-Ferraille, Kukhanye Energy Services CEO Vicky Basson, GIBB Power business development manager Julien Dumas, Fliptin CEO Mustapa Zaouini and Oppenheimer Partners investment professional Frederic Dupouy.
The winners of the EDF Pulse Africa will receive grants of between €5 000 and €15 000, as well as comprehensive support from EDF that includes operational and financial advice, project development partnerships with local stakeholders, such as incubators, and access to EDF’s innovation ecosystem – including research and development laboratories.