Dealflow | July 8, 2024

Electric cookstove maker ATEC raises $3.75 million to expand in Asia and Africa 

Lucy Ngige
Guest Author

Lucy Ngige

Cambodia-based ATEC is tapping into two hot trends: electric cookstoves and the use of carbon credits to offset costs for rural households.

ATEC’s induction stoves are connected to the Internet, enabling it to produce what it says are auditable and verified carbon credits, overcoming issues that are holding back the voluntary and compliance cookstove carbon markets. Like other forms of carbon credits, offsets based upon emissions reductions from clean cookstoves have been criticized for overstating their impact.

“ATEC’s ability to combine IoT, ensure data accuracy, and utilize carbon finance will be instrumental in democratizing access to clean cooking,” said Gilles Vermot Desroches of Schneider Electric Energy Access Asia, or SEEAA, which co-led the $3.75 million Series A round with Spark+ Africa Fund.

The energy-focused impact funds were joined by Save the Children Australia Impact Investment Fund, Kibo Investments, emerging markets investor International Development Enterprises (iDE), and DRW Venture Capital

Clean cooking

ATEC will use the funds to help expand across the African and Asian markets beyond its 10 countries, strengthen its R&D and forge partnerships with last-mile distributors and carbon buyers.

Over 850 million Africans use charcoal or wood for cooking. In Asia 67% of cooking is fueled by firewood, dung, coal and other solid biomass resources. Firewood alone is a major deforestation culprit and is linked to around 2% of global emissions.

“Given greater rates of electrification and improving grid/mini-grid reliability in many African countries, electricity is a clean, modern cooking option for a growing number of consumers,” Peter George and Xavier Pierluca of Spark+ said in a statement.  

Other African startups, including Koko, BURN and Bboxx, are also tapping carbon markets to subsidize the costs of their clean cooking stoves, although they use natural gas, not electricity.

Digital access

ATEC says its electric cookstoves are energy efficient, 50% cheaper than liquefied petroleum gas, and can be bought with a pay-as-you-go system starting at just $5 per month. In addition to verifying emissions reductions, Internet connectivity enables customers to monitor their electricity consumption, and make payments for their cookstoves via a mobile app. 

The company also sells biodigesters that turn farm waste into safe and clean biogas for cooking.