Microsoft recently announced the eight early-stage companies it selected for third annual Airband Grant fund to provide internet access and cloud-enabled solutions to underserved communities in the US, Africa and Asia. ME SOLshare, a solar electricity provider to rural and underserved people of Bangladesh, is one of the eight recipients of the fund in the world and the only in Asia.
Microsoft will provide these startups with cash investments, and access to technology, mentorship, networking opportunities and other support to scale their connectivity solutions. This year’s grantees were selected for their focus on developing affordable internet solutions that connect underserved communities and creating internet-enabled applications that improve agriculture, education, healthcare and small business.
ME SOLshare is building a peer-to-peer solar energy trading platform in Bangladesh with Wi-Fi towers. The company has created ground-breaking new approach to bring affordable solar electricity to everyone in Bangladesh and beyond through its peer-to-peer solar energy trading platforms based on distributed ledger technology. Under this project, more households can access electricity that could not be reached before; more households enjoy a flexible, reliable and cheaper electricity service than before; more households can earn direct income from their Solar Home Systems (SHS) by cashing in what they have fed into grid.
ME SOLshare will use the grant fund from Microsoft to help form partnerships with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to connect sites, to increase product adoption, identify mobile money partners and build secure mobile money and energy-routing mechanisms.
“It is a very proud moment for SOLshare and Bangladesh to become a winner of Microsoft Airband Grant fund. We believe, working together with entrepreneurs, we can empower unserved and underserved communities to transform their lives through digital inclusion and bridge digital divide,” said Sonia Bashir Kabir, Managing Director for Microsoft Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and Laos.
“The transformation process of SOLshare to a platform company is undergoing. Being part of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative will not only accelerate this process but also shape it toward excellence. Boosting reliability of us for the last mile communication infrastructure is only one of the examples,” said Hannes Kirchhoff, Chief Technical Officer of ME SOLshare.
The Airband Grant fund is part of Microsoft Airband Initiative and seeks to spark innovation to overcome the barriers to affordable internet access, by supporting high-potential, early-stage startups that are creating innovative technologies, services and business models.