Fraym, a geospatial data company that uses machine learning to produce local-level consumer data for emerging markets has launched a comprehensive initiative with the Shell Foundation, a UK charity, to increase electrification across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The potential impact we can have on economies throughout Africa by increasing electrification is exactly the type of work we’re driven toward,” said CEO and Co-Founder Ben Leo. “We’re humbled by the Shell Foundation’s continued collaboration and look forward to sharing collective achievements within the year.”
With a goal of decreasing market barriers for both solar home systems (SHS) and mini-electrical grid companies, Fraym’s powerful data will be made available to Shell Foundation portfolio companies, including Odyssey, via a web-based platform dataFraym. Access to the tool allows teams to interact with local-level data in areas of interest, and to test different scenarios based on target profiles. Now, it will be possible to quickly answer questions that previously stagnated growth like, “Which areas are underserved?”, “Which sites are most viable?” and “What channels should I use to reach potential customers?”
In a 2018 pilot program, an SHS company in East Africa used dataFraym to improve their business strategy. With access to Fraym data, the team could interact with relevant population data, view the insights on maps, and even combine their data with Fraym’s. As a result, the company learned their current efforts were misdirected and shifted their focus to high-potential locations. This resulted in a 2X increase in sales of solar home systems.
In addition to the unique data that Fraym produces, the company also brings valuable partnerships to the table. For example, Fraym works closely with Nithio, who provides household-level risk analytics to unlock scalable financing in Africa’s off-grid solar sector. Nithio, backed by Fraym’s datasets, has developed a proven credit scoring model and offers customer and portfolio risk assessment products, as well as receivables backed financing.
From market scoping to consumer identification, there are multiple challenges to overcome before universal access to energy can become a reality. This joint venture will identify and seek to address specific information hurdles across the entire value chain. The Shell Foundation, Fraym, and its partners will speed up learning of companies, as well as donors and decision makers. The end-to-end tools created through this engagement will empower all stakeholders to reach everyone in need of electricity, even in remote places.
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