RIYADH: Every startup’s dream is to hit a $1 billion valuation to become a unicorn. But, with the global need for a sustainable future, startups are itching to join the new gigacorn club.
Entry to this elite club requires a company to offset one gigaton of the 52 global gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions. Egypt’s infrastructure startup Pylon has drawn up plans to become a gigacorn.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Pylon CEO and co-founder Ahmed Ashour said that becoming a gigacorn was even more important than achieving exponential growth or high earnings.
“That’s quite a tough goal, so we believe that it will take us eight to 12 years to offset 2 percent of the world’s emissions,” Ashour added.
The firm offers software as a service in the electricity and water industry to help companies manage their operations better by reducing revenue loss and providing a tech-based system.
The company offers its services with a subscription revenue model that encourages its clients to use it without requiring a large budget.
“What we do is provide a smart grid infrastructure at the subscription model, which translates into installing our solution and giving the utility to operate that network in a smart way,” Ashour informed.
The company also offers financial services that play a huge role in its business model, giving Pylon a fintech side to make it even more interesting.
“The most important feature is the collection of the revenue because, at present, the utility market annually loses around 40 percent of its revenue,” the CEO added.
Ashour explained that digitalizing the collection of revenue in utility companies was extremely important as the global market lost almost $400 billion worth of revenue.
Revenue loss is the result of poor collection methods or utility theft which Pylon can also detect using its technology. Ashour also claimed that customers saw a 45 percent increase in revenue after using their services.
Although its operations can be tempting to pronounce Pylon as a fintech startup, Ashour insisted to label it as an infrastructure cleantech company.
Growth and expansion
Seeing around 250 percent growth year over year in 2021, the company is eyeing several markets in different parts of the world to help it accomplish its gigacorn dream.
At present, Pylon operates in Egypt and the Philippines with 12 utility companies using its services. It is eyeing markets such as Brazil and Indonesia, while studying the Saudi market. Although all these markets will help Pylon reach its goals, Ashour discussed that Egypt and the Philippines will probably have the highest impact in terms of its carbon emission goal.
“We work with covering all the big players when it comes to the private sector here in Egypt, or the majority of them, as well as five of the nine public sector companies, in addition to the Philippines for now,” he added.
Pylon is aiming to repeat its 2021 performance this year with plans to reach a penetration rate of 10 percent in emerging markets.
After raising $19 million in a seed funding round, the company has been studying multiple markets as well as penetrating the countries mentioned earlier.
“We’re studying the market, and we believe that there is a very good opportunity there which will add value to both, Saudi Arabia as well as Pylon, of course,” Ashour added.
Using the investment it received, Pylon started discussing partnerships in Africa as well as operations in Jordan and Nepal.