RIYADH: Every startup’s dream is to reach a $1 billion valuation to become a unicorn. But, with the global need for a sustainable future, startups are eager to join the new gigacorn club.
To enter this elite club, a company must offset one gigatonne of the world’s 52 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Egyptian infrastructure start-up Pylon has drawn up plans to become a gigacorn.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Pylon CEO and co-founder Ahmed Ashour said becoming a gigacorn is even more important than achieving exponential growth or high revenue.
“It’s a pretty tough target, so we think it will take us eight to 12 years to offset 2% of global emissions,” Ashour added.
The company offers software as a service in the electricity and water industry to help companies better manage their operations by reducing revenue loss and providing a technology-based system.
The company offers its services with a subscription revenue model that encourages its customers to use it without requiring a large budget.
“What we’re doing is providing smart grid infrastructure on the subscription model, which results in the installation of our solution and the utility of operating that grid smartly,” Ashour said. .
The company also offers financial services which play a huge role in its business model, giving Pylon a fintech edge to make it even more interesting.
“The most important feature is revenue collection because currently the utility market loses about 40% of revenue every year,” the CEO added.
Ashour explained that the digitization of revenue collection in utility companies is extremely important as the global market has lost nearly $400 billion in revenue.
Loss of revenue is the result of poor collection methods or utility thefts which Pylon can also detect with its technology. Ashour also claimed that customers saw their income increase by 45% after using their services.
Although its operations may be tempting to label Pylon a fintech start-up, Ashour insisted that it be labeled an infrastructure cleantech company.
Growth and expansion
Seeing around 250% year-over-year growth in 2021, the company is eyeing several markets in different parts of the world to help it achieve its gigacorn dream.
Currently, Pylon operates in Egypt and the Philippines with 12 utility companies using its services. He is eyeing markets like Brazil and Indonesia, while studying the Saudi market. While all of these markets will help Pylon meet its targets, Ashour explained that Egypt and the Philippines are likely to have the highest impact in terms of their carbon emissions target.
“We are working with all or most of the major private sector players here in Egypt, as well as five of the nine public sector companies, in addition to the Philippines for now,” he added.
Pylon aims to repeat its 2021 performance this year with plans to achieve a 10% penetration rate in emerging markets.
After raising $19 million in a seed funding round, the company researched multiple markets and entered the previously mentioned countries.
“We are studying the market, and we think there is a very good opportunity there that will add value to both Saudi Arabia as well as Pylon, of course,” Ashour added.
Thanks to the investment received, Pylon has started discussing partnerships in Africa as well as operations in Jordan and Nepal.