Australian startup Okra Solar has taken out the champion prize for the “Hardware Battlefield” at the TechCrunch conference and VC meetup in Shenzhen in November.
Okra’s plug-and-play smart grid technology enables rapid electrification for last-mile communities.
Using mobile payments, modular grid design and remote monitoring, the firm provides utility companies with a low-cost, data-driven solution to operating solar networks in hard-to-reach places.
The TechCrunch win comes on the back of previous accolades, including Best IoT startup at the Australian IoT Awards, and the top prize at the global 2019 Booking Booster accelerator program designed to support and nurture sustainable tourism.
‘It’s something most people don’t know but there are around 1 billion people in the world who don’t have a reliable source of electricity,’ says Afnan Hannan, CEO and Co-founder of Okra Solar.
‘Clean sustainable power has major impact on the ability of communities to develop, educate and prosper, and we are really hoping to change that and allow greater connectivity for communities throughout Asia but also elsewhere.
‘The award in Shenzhen is fantastic and helps with publicity but we have also benefited from contacts and networks we made at the conference, and particularly the ecosystem Austrade has established around key networks of entrepreneurs and innovation precincts in Shenzhen,’ he adds.
Truly born-global, Okra Solar has undertaken R&D in Australia, Cambodia, Austria and Shenzhen, as well as implementing solutions in remote communities of Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines.