Cleantech, also known as GreenTech, is the branch of technology and business sectors dedicated to clean energy, as well as environmentally sustainable products and services. It may be a developing industry, but cleantech has grown into one of the top largest venture capital investment sectors. As many Asian cities struggle to deal with the effects of climate change, cleantech is steadily providing the solutions that they all need.
In Southeast Asia specifically, there have been a series of recent investments in cleantech startups. The New Energy Nexus Southeast Asia (Nexus SEA) platform has established an initiative to develop more smart energy software within the region. They are working to invest in and connect startups throughout the region, with the hope of building Southeast Asia’s clean energy economy. With new outreach in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, Southeast Asian cleantech startups have an exciting future planned.
Here are five startups to watch.
Cambodia based cleantech startup ATEC, short for ATEC Biodigesters International, is on a mission to create a “smart farmer community” in which farmers use ATEC’s biodigester technology to create more income while working less. The biodigester works by “process[ing] farm waste… into free biogas for clean cooking and organic fertiliser for better crops and healthier soil.” These biodigesters enable farmers to save approximately $521 USD per year as they manufacture free fertiliser and gas to improve their lives.
In the last year, ATEC secured a significant investment in debt financing from a US-based impact investor Beneficial Returns. This funding has allowed ATEC to launch a PAYGO model to increase access to its biodigesters. PAYGO, short for Pay As You Go, is a new financing model that allows rural farmers to invest through instalments , using the savings generated from the use of ATEC’s technology. This financing model, in combination with the creation of useful natural resources, makes ATEC a lifesaver for many farmers.
Third Wave Power
Third Wave Power is a Singapore-based startup whose goal is to “emPOWER people around the world by creating portable power solutions.” Their renewable energy is useful for fieldwork, emergency back-up situations, and outdoor environments. Their unique selling point is that they are fusing solar power and IoT technologies to enable off-grid power as well as combining Solar, IoT and sensor solutions to further the development of smart, green cities.
Third Wave Power serves the needs of both rural and urban areas in ways that improve lives and increase productivity. Last year, Third Wave Power received a special Sustainability Award for its efforts and commented that they intend to work with other companies and have a worldwide impact.
Sensorflow, another cleantech startup in Singapore, focuses on hotel energy efficiency. They use wireless sensors to collect real-time data from hotel rooms and automate the room’s temperature according to guest behaviour. These adjustments enable hotels to save up to 30% in energy usage. Additionally, their model is considered flexible and easy to install, with predictive maintenance features that make it smart as well as green. Last year, they raised $2.7 million USD for expansion throughout Southeast Asia and globally. By 2022, they hope to have 800,000 smart hotel rooms up and running around the world.
RAD Green Solutions
RAD Green Solutions, located in the Philippines, is another cleantech startup dedicated to providing solutions for everyday problems. The company’s technology focuses on environmentally friendly waste control. Their equipment, called PYROCLAVE, treats both solid waste and infectious medical waste through non-incineration technology. Additionally, the system is water-free, resulting in less water contamination than other methods. In the future, they will continue working on other solutions such as treatment storage and disposal facilities, as well as modular containerized sewage treatment plants.
Cleverheat, also based in the Philippines, is a cleantech company whose aim is to use solar power instead of electricity for refrigeration. Historically, the Philippines has had a high rate of vegetable post-harvest loss due to exorbitant electricity rates. Post-harvest loss leads to other problems, such as a lack of food security, as well as waste management problems. Cleverheat’s invention allows farmers to keep their crops refrigerated with the use of heat power which results in less waste, a more abundant food supply, more income for farmers, and a decrease in carbon emissions.
Climate change is not a problem with a simple solution, but we all must do our part to help create a “greener world.” Cleantech can be a part of the solution, but as the sector continues to grow, there are some issues that many startups will face – ranging from capital efficiency to funding shortages, and large competitor markets. However, cleantech needs to be part of our future. Smart business tactics and sound investments can ensure that these five companies, and others like them, continue to grow and develop products that help us repair the world one piece of tech at a time.