Africa and Asia


Energy Access

Type of Investment

Risk Capital

Project Stage
Test & Transition
Length of Investment


Investment Overview

Sparkmeter enables utilities and governments to make the transition to modern electrification, through its innovative combined smart meter and software solution, which provides affordable, reliable, clean power to consumers.


The Development Challenge

Over two billion people either lack electricity access or suffer from unreliable service, with the issue more pronounced in remote, rural areas. This situation forces reliance on unsafe alternatives like kerosene and diesel, hindering economic growth and causing health issues. Unreliable power contributes to Africa's greenhouse gas emissions and affects local economies by limiting productive hours. While adopting renewable backup generation can mitigate health risks from unreliable grids, enhancing economic development and tackling climate change requires addressing the underlying issues of these broken and unreliable utilities.


The Innovation

SparkMeter sells a proprietary smart metering technology and complementary software solution to central grid utilities and microgrids to enable real-time monitoring of grid systems, pay-as-you-go electricity usage, and load control to prevent grid outages. SparkMeter’s solution is designed for emerging markets, and has connected thousands of customers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.


Our Investment

GIF’s initial $600k investment in 2016 helped SparkMeter establish a full suite of certified meters that scaled to both microgrids and central grid utilities. GIF provided follow on funding of $530k in 2022 to support Sparkmeter as it moved into its next phase of growth expansion.


Theory of change

Smart grids offer a pathway to sustainable, reliable, and affordable electricity in poor communities by enhancing grid operations and efficiency. These grids can connect previously unconnected or poorly served customers, offering significant benefits. These include reducing health risks by replacing kerosene and diesel, boosting small business income through productive energy use, notably in agriculture, enhancing household safety and educational opportunities through better lighting, and improving overall quality of life through the adoption of consumer appliances. Smart grid solutions for utilities and microgrids thus play a crucial role in delivering social, environmental, and economic advantages from increased access to electricity.


Why we invested

Important development problem – 1 billion lack formal access to electricity, and 1 billion have nominal grid access but lack reliable electricity.

Promising commercial traction with mini grids and potential for scale impact by proving out that the technology works for large central grid utilities.


SparkMeter in numbers


Countries reached


Deployments worldwide


SparkMeter Impact Brief

SparkMeter’s simple plug-and-play grid management services, equipment, and software enable microgrids and distribution utilities operating in hard-to-reach places to improve their operations, help them achieve financial sustainability, and deliver reliable electricity for end-users, particularly those living under PPP$5.

SparkMeter addresses common utility pain points by offering internationally compliant meters and integrated communications and software to automate payment processes, prioritise maintenance, and monitor system performance. The smart metering system leverages real-time data to prioritise and plan field visits, identify and resolve customer and technical issues, and reduce outages by limiting consumption to specific groups during times of high demand or low supply (due to a voltage drop or transformer under-loading, for example). The team leverages this data to create models of distribution network assets in simulation, alongside metrics on power quality, customer credits and debt, electricity rate, and load limit. From the models developed by digitising network assets, utilities can target interventions to precise locations on the grid with confidence that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Use of GIF Funds

GIF’s funding allowed SparkMeter to establish a full suite of certified meters able to scale to both microgrids and central grid utilities. The newly developed Advantage Meter Suite meets the highly-specific certification standards in the biggest and toughest microgrid markets, like Nigeria (NEMSA), Uganda (UNBS), the Philippines (ERC), and India (BIS). The new meter suite offers prevention through remote shutdown and improved tamper detection with remote notification functionality. The financing focus was on technology and R&D, business development, and sales – including trials in Nigeria.

Impact to Date

To date, the company has sold meters across 25 countries. Its customers range from local solar installers and developers to venture-backed mini-grid developers such as Husk Power and Powerhive, and the mini-grid arm of global energy giant Engie.

The company successfully closed successive funding rounds for a total of $16 million, attracting several sophisticated energy investors, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Clean Energy Venture Fund, as well as energy-focused impact funds such as the Schmidt Family Foundation. The latest $12 million, raised in August 2020, are used to grow SparkMeter’s share of metering for the fast-growing off-grid energy market. The company also launched digital solutions, a suite of services that translates grid data into decisive actions that support every role within business operations for electricity distribution utilities in emerging markets.