New gBETA Madison Class Includes Solar Electricity Startup NovoMoto
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San Francisco-based d.light. Olson says d.light is currently expanding its operations in the D.R.C., but he believes NovoMoto’s pay-as-you-go fee structure will help differentiate the startup from its more entrenched competitor.
He adds that there’s been less of a push to expand access to electricity in the D.R.C. and some of the surrounding countries than there has been in other parts of the continent.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa in general, there have been a number of companies that have gained a lot of traction and have attracted a lot of investment,” Olson says. However, he adds that “most of that action has been in east Africa—Tanzania and Kenya, to be specific. In Congo, we are one of the first movers in this pay-as-you-go electricity space.”
Here are descriptions from Gener8tor of the other four participants in gBETA’s current Madison program:
—Clock’d: software allowing bars, restaurants, and retailers to hire employees and communicate with job candidates.
—Geladen: charged ultrafiltration membranes that can be used to perform tasks like separating proteins from cow’s milk to make baby formula. Dairy processors currently use uncharged ultrafiltration membranes, which are slow and cannot separate different types of proteins, the company says. Geladen co-founder and UW-Madison food science professor Mark Etzel co-authored a 2009 paper in which he and other researchers found that adding a positive charge to ultrafiltration membranes made it possible to “permeate proteins having little or no charge … and retain proteins having a positive charge.”
—Pyran: renewable chemicals from wood and crop waste. One of the chemicals the startup is developing is a primary ingredient in nylon, spandex, and other common plastics, Pyran says. One of Pyran’s co-founders is George Huber, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at UW-Madison.
—Stimmi: software allowing parents and caregivers to document and share information on non-verbal autistic people. The company says its digital tools allow users to create profiles for individuals with autism containing personal information and videos documenting how they communicate feelings and ideas.