Networks growing within cleantech startup sector

The cleantech startup sector is emerging as a key driver of economic growth while attracting foreign investors keen on its potential to combat climate change.

Stride, a solar cleantech startup headquartered in Vietnam, has received significant support from Clime Capital and Touchstone Partners in a seed funding round, raising 2 million USD in mid-May.

The primary objective of Stride is to expedite Vietnam’s transition to a low-carbon economy by offering eco-friendly home improvement projects, smart home technology, energy-efficient products, and accessible solar energy solutions to households and small businesses.

The company’s mission is to empower residential and small business consumers to embrace a clean energy future through an affordable, transparent, and straightforward payment system. At the point of sale, customers can conveniently finance eco-friendly home improvements and solar installations with a zero interest rate.

Over the past two years, Stride has experienced remarkable growth in Vietnam by providing low-cost financing, complimentary insurance, independent quality assurance, and a seamless online consumer onboarding process.

This has resulted in a surge of interest from individuals and businesses seeking affordable clean energy solutions and reduced energy costs. Stride addresses this demand directly by offering a commercial solution that eliminates the barrier of high upfront expenses.

Networks growing within cleantech
Networks growing within cleantech. Illustrative image. (Photo: Shutterstock)

CEO Andrew Fairthorne said, “The investment allows Stride to accelerate the deployment of clean energy solutions to more households and small businesses across Vietnam, ultimately reducing their energy expenses and assisting the country in achieving its net-zero targets.”

In another development, Selex Motors, a Vietnam-based electric vehicle (EV) startup, has introduced a network of battery-swapping stations in multiple cities throughout the country. Selex Motors ensures that their EVs are priced below 1,000 USD and customers are not required to make upfront payments for the batteries.

The company’s vision extends beyond Vietnam, as they aim to persuade consumers across Southeast Asia to transition from conventional petrol-powered cars to EVs by providing a convenient and economically viable solution for battery charging. Selex Motors has supplied EVs to well-known logistics companies such as Lazada, Viettel Post, and DHL, and is now exploring international expansion opportunities.

CEO of Selex Motors Nguyen Huu Phuoc Nguyen wants to break even within a three-year timeframe and expand into the Indonesian and Thai markets within two years. “We aim for the widespread adoption and utilization of the battery exchange network because it benefits the entire community,” Nguyen said.

Presently, Schneider Electric Energy Access Asia, ADB Ventures, and Touchstone Partners are among the investors who have collectively injected 5.5 million USD into Selex.

Dat Bike, a prominent startup that gained recognition from its participation in Shark Tank Vietnam, has set itself apart by focusing on the production of robust electric motorcycles rather than traditional electric scooters.

With a total funding of approximately 16 million USD and a valuation of around 32 million USD, the company boasts an impressive 10-fold annual revenue growth rate. It has also joined forces with Gojek to incorporate electric motorcycles into its tech-enabled ride-hailing service.

According to Gojek, the utilization of Dat Bike’s Weaver electric bikes has the potential to significantly reduce fuel costs for partner drivers by over four times compared to conventional bikes. This not only leads to substantial operational savings but also contributes to environmental preservation by curbing emissions.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s startup focusing on biodegradable bioplastics, BUYO, in mid-May secured a seed funding round led by family office Aldebaran Capital, while venture capital firm Antler and other investors also joined in.

“BUYO is pioneering the field of biodegradable bio-plastics, offering sustainable alternatives to traditional plastics. Their innovative approach and commitment to environmental solutions make them an inspiring addition to our portfolio,” Jussi Salovaara, co-founder and managing partner of Antler told VIR.

Alejandro Osorio, CEO of Grab Vietnam, noted that the ride-hailing platform was also taking proactive steps towards sustainability and was actively seeking partnerships to drive its green agenda.

“With a clear focus on reducing carbon emissions, Grab is open to collaborating with EV manufacturers, recognizing the pivotal role of cleantech businesses in creating a cleaner and more sustainable future,” Osorio told VIR.

By joining forces with top cleantech companies, Grab can solidify its commitment to environmental responsibility and pave the way for a greener transportation ecosystem that benefits both riders and the planet, ultimately facilitating the transition towards a more sustainable and energy-efficient society.

Fabian Wandt, the co-founder of Levitate and former COO of Lazada Vietnam, also believes that Vietnam’s startup market has significant untapped potential in renewable energy, EVs, and plastic reduction. “Plastic reduction is a growing concern, presenting opportunities for startups to develop solutions in recycling, waste management, and sustainable packaging. These sectors are attractive to investors due to their growth potential,” Wandt said.

Southeast Asia has witnessed a significant surge in climate tech investments, surpassing 1.1 billion USD during the first 11 months of 2022.

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(Source: VIR)