After a short break, we continued our discourse with Vincent Maposa, the CEO at Wetility. The second part of Wetility interview highlights the following:
- Return on Investment
- How to get Involved
- Advice for the young entrepreneurs
- Premier of the RiA Meet and Greet
RiA: Okay Vincent. So welcome back. I think we had a little break, you and I. We going to start looking at Wetility from investment point of view, right? Because you’re a company that is growing and you already have some partners and am also happy to share with our audience that you were successful in raising the first tone of money. So, congratulations!
VM: Thank You!
RiA: That’s normally very difficult for any start up. And you have been able to do that. So that’s good. But you are growing, that means you also need financial partners, you need people to move along with you., to make sure that this little dream that you have can also now take shape as its doing at the moment. If you okay, we are going to carry on with our questions. Is it okay for me to continue Vincent?
VM: Yeah! Am happy to continue. Am happy to be back to continue the interview.
RiA(Q1): Excellent! Excellent! The first question is, what value do your partners getting from you, so what is the benefit that you’re giving then and I wanted specifically to know what is the offsite so that people know?
VM(A1): Yeah! I think the partners that have invested in us such as the Innovation Hub, I think they get an opportunity to test their models and principles on advancing the core. And off course you know, fourth industrial revolution type companies as per advancing their mandate from the government. I think in addition to that there is a, call it a social return that comes out of doing the right thing especially in a country where there is a call for entrepreneurs to take the mantle and take the economy forward as opposed to the traditional larger corporates which are going through certain pin points and the like. So, I think they benefit in that way. I think our shareholders obviously they get a return but I think they befit by practically assisting entrepreneurs like us who they have made their purpose to invest in. So that becomes you know, something significant. And I think also as well, it’s the advancements we are making in technology as well that provides them with the spectrum or view into what is possible within our space in the future. And you know being involved in that I think is quite exciting, I think it’s quite interesting. The second thing I think because they provide us with strategic advice to markets and they also make us ready for other investors, they benefit from also expanding their own networks by interacting with us and also getting shoe in regards to what’s happening on the continent, what’s happening in South Africa, what’s happening in Cowden and if they have other ideas or sought of spin-off or investments that they would like to make, then they have an opportunity through us to expand their networks and engage with our existing networks as well.
RiA(Q2): Okay excellent! So, I wanted to know, the company is growing but how are you building Wetility? And how do we all get involved?
VM(A2): Okay! That’s perfect. So, we building Wetility on three main characteristics that will drive us going forward. So, the first thing we are building is We – X which is sought of our platform right from digital marketing to post installation monitoring with all other entices such as design, rapid calculators, customer acquisition in between there. So, we are very excited about We–X it’s a fully digital platform and what we mean by that is we don’t want to spend a lot of time going to site visits and trying to figure out what’s happening on a customer’s site. So, we can design a system for a customer remotely by them proving us with their residential address and the type of house or residence that they live in and the bill that they are paying, and the same would apply to some of the light commercial customers as well who have the kind of set-up we can remotely design a set-up for them. So, we are very excited about that. The second exciting product is a physical product which is still in development which we are extremely excited about because we have seen the prototypes. But what it does is that it makes it a very simple process to come to site and make an installation. So, we are very excited about that physical product. There’s quite a bit that has gone there in terms of innovation for it to deliver the way we wanted it to deliver. The third and critical aspect is the branding and marketing side of it. So, we believe in the unification of our brand and the uniformity of it and for us to succeed in the market we need to be on brand or have a great brand experience and the brand experience needs to communicate customer journey in its entirety and to give our customers the comfort and confidence that we are an entity that wants to be with them along the entire journey and don’t aim to be a flier by night. We are looking at a long-term horizon and the brand needs to communicate that and be effective at communicating that.
RiA(Q3): Okay! I think that message is very clear. So, what would you say is the key takeaway that a potential investor would get from working with Wetility? And am talking about key take away both from the financial and that other side, what would you say?
VM(A3): So, they key take away is a significant amount for growth especially in the power constraint market that we currently exist in. So, if you think about households earning under 10000 USD per month, which still have connection to the grid, there’s an opportunity for us to engage with those customers and figure out how we can lower their energy costs and provide them with backup power. The households that earn above 25000 to so USD there’s a significant opportunity for us to just enhance their life style by providing them with the device that optimizes the resources at their disposal and also provide them with the comfort that they are always connected and that they are always on. So, I think form a growth perspective our investors can look forward to that. Our ambition is quite significant given the number of installations that we want to have across southern Africa. But if we look statistics in the number of households that are available or the number of small businesses that are cropping up here and there and the energy intensity of the business are now engaging in. So, now we leave in an era where being connected is quite significant and if we think about Morse Laws hierarchy, we were joking about this, probably at the bottom of it now is energy. You need energy to drive every single aspect of your livelihood or of your business. And you know, we want to greatly influence where southern Africa goes with regards to how it uses energy especially dwellings, in office spaces and in homes.
RiA(Q4): That’s a very big and broad ambition and I love it. So in terms of a conclusion or pre-conclusion, coz I definitely have one more question for you after that, how far do you think your belief would take you and how would you encourage especially young people that would like to leave out the dream and make the difference, so what do you have to say about that?
VM(A4): I think one of the things that I have really focused on throughout my career is being very focused on what the end goal is and picking sectors that I can acquire the right knowledge and make use of that knowledge on a regular basis. So I was very deliberate on choosing the energy sector as an area I want to enter into as a professional and as an entrepreneur and the think that normally separates most entrepreneurs from others is the entrepreneurs have bright ideas but the execution of it is extremely important and you need to partner with the right people especially if you are going to go down the path of partnering to enable you execute on the vision. And a lot of entrepreneurs there is no shortage of ideas, I think there’s shortage of implementors and our perspective as a business is being very good at implementing those ideas. So, we have significant filters that allow us to go through ideation process and adopt the ideas that have greater potential or greater probability of you know coming to fruition and being able to see those through., so that’s sought of the perspective and the approach that we are taking. I think my advice to other entrepreneurs is that you need to figure out what you want to do very early on but before you make the leap or step, you need to find out if there is significant market for what you are trying to do and secondly if there is appetite for it you need to completely understand that you cannot go the journey alone and be successful especially in a market like Africa where there’s information disparity, you know, people seat with pocket of information here and there. So, you need to really expand your network quite significantly, reach out to as many people as possible, find the pockets of brilliance that you would need to succeed and then bring those people on board on to your journey and then from there after you can propel yourself and you can start to expand da little bit more.
RiA(Q5): Excellent! Excellent! So definitely with you it’s about knowing what is your mission, what is your calling and go for it. And obviously there will be challenges but if you stick to it and if your why is strong enough, you definitely can make it. So, is there any last words you have on Wetility and how can people get hold of you?
VM(A5): Okay. One of the key things that I would like to say especially from a sector perspective and from what we are trying to do from a customer journey is; prices from equipment we install are going to continue to fall. Things like cost per Watt are going to fall, so this is an opportune time for investors to really look into the sector and say where can we get involved and in what capacity. And there is variety of opportunity that presents themselves to investors or people that want to partner with businesses like ours in the sector. You can come in as a Fintech, you can come in as a provider of a unique technology that enhances the customer experience, yeah, significant opportunities there. From an investment side I think the returns are apparent especially for some of the IPP type projects that are coming up in Africa. But even after that there is still significant scope for on-sight smaller scale systems, micro-grids and storage after the meter considering as well the cost dynamics and what’s going on there. So, this is an exciting market sector to be involved in more so because the demand for energy is still going to continue increasing. And I think the world is also at a point where they are realizing fossil-based technologies are not going to be sustainable going forward, mostly because of the gestation period of plants and all other clean development issues that present themselves as a result of that. So, renewables make sense. So, if businesses or investors want to get involved then this is where the world is going and has been going for quite some time. So, in terms of getting in touch with us, my email is: vincent@wetility. Am always happy to have a conversation about the energy space, what we are seeing from a market sought of perspective and always have a chat with people interested in what we are doing. My number is also +27 738 320 725, am happy for anyone to give me a call if you want to have a discussion and on LinkedIn @we-tility, and our website of-course is: www.wetility.com.
RiA(Q6): Okay! So that’s great! Just to say to our viewers as you were talking, you couldn’t see that Vincent, we had all your details also flashing on their screen. So, they should be able to get it and get hold of you. That’s great. And you talked about inviting investors, I just wanted to say that we are going to be featuring you in our first ever RiA meet and greet the project where you will be showcasing your company, your project to investors and that an exciting gap that we are putting together and I thought that you were the ideal company to start with. So are you ready for that Vincent?
VM(A6): Am ready, and am very excited as well. I think it coincides with the staff we have been building in the background as well, actually being launched. We are very excited about it. I think my team as well will be excited to participate in it as well in one way or another and to start show casing what we are bringing into the market, what our value is, give people a bit of insights on what is our values, our culture and our vision. We are very excited about that and we really appreciate the opportunity.
RiA: Excellent! I can even say to people listening to us, you definitely want to turn up for this even because if I can give something, I don’t want to give everything, Vincent could probably be running simulations of one of their customers and looking at their consumptions, and how we can plan and focus their load profile and how it impacts their bill. You did the simulations for me and I find that very exciting and whoever is joining they will have the opportunity to see that. Vincent, it was a very interesting conversation we had today and like I say, only to be continued, we are going to have this first meet and greet project end of September. The date will be provided closest to the time. But it was a pleasure, you doing a fantastic job. I am sure we will her more about you in the coming months and years. Thank you very much.
VM: Thank you vey much Tony. Thank you for your time and thank you to your viewers and listeners.
RiA: Excellent! Brilliant! So have a great day.
VM: Have a good one too! Bye!
Go straight to interview HERE.
Vincent Maposa is the CEO and Founder of Wetility. Wetility is a solar energy technology company focusing mostly on roof top solar under one Megawatt in South Africa with links to other parts of Southern Africa.