With destruction comes opportunity.
That’s sort of the idea behind Sesame Solar Inc., a newly unveiled startup based in Jackson that is looking to sell renewable powered mobile trailers to be used in areas devastated by climate disaster, war and other ills that are befalling the planet.
The company, launched five years ago and now rolling out its product to the public, is based around the notion that climate change is happening and leading to more weather and other disasters. And while climate change needs to be slowed, there’s also need “to adapt to it to mitigate the impacts” of such catastrophic events, according to Lauren Flanagan, a serial entrepreneur and the company’s co-founder and CEO.
“But we also as a species have to adapt to it, to mitigate the impacts, of particularly things like extreme weather,” Flanagan told Crain’s in an interview last month. “So we see ourselves in the adaptation. We are helping adapt to provide the mobile power as needed, and that that’s part of what we as a species have to do. And so we don’t just look at it as opportunistic, we look at it as evolutionary.”
The nascent company on Thursday formally unveiled its “100 percent renewable mobile nanogrids,” which it says are the world’s first.
Each nanogrid sells for $100,000-$300,000, depending on a variety of factors.
The mobile trailers, which run on solar and hydrogen power, have already been put to use by governmental entities such as the U.S. Air Force and telecom companies, and deployed in disaster areas such as hurricane zones.
The nanogrids are shipped ready to use and can be set up by one person, generating power within 15 minutes, , Flanagan said. Sesame Solar is manufacturing the nanogrids at a factory in Jackson and has an administrative office in Ypsilanti, according to Flanagan.
The company, thus far, has venture capital backing from Morgan Stanley, VSC Ventures, PAX Angels and Belle Capital. Flanagan told Crain’s that the company has raised about $2 million total, but also had revenue from its contracts with the Air Force and others.
A Series A raise of around $10 million is likely in the coming months, she said.
Companies such as Sesame Solar, with a focus on climate change, have been well received by the venture capital markets over the last several years.
In 2021 alone, a record year for the venture capital and startup sectors, at least $40 billion from more than 600 deals flowed to startups with a focus on climate technology, according to a recent report by Climate Tech VC, which tracks such deals.
The report puts climate tech companies into a handful of buckets, including energy, food and water, mobility, industrial, consumer, climate and carbon. The mobility, energy and food/water sectors accounted for 90 percent of those deals, according to the Climate Tech VC report.
The formal launch of Sesame Solar makes for Flanagan’s fifth entrepreneurial endeavor, and the CEO told Crain’s that her skill is getting companies “to go from zero to a running start.”
The “existential crisis” brought about by climate change necessitates such solutions, the entrepreneur said during a presentation in Jackson last month.
“What we need to do is to be able to respond to catastrophic events with all the essential services and power that people need off the grid,” Flanagan said. “But to do so in a renewable way.”
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