Unlocking Capital for DRE in Emerging Markets
MCJ Startup Series: Odyssey Energy
Today’s guest is Emily McAteer, co-founder and CEO of Odyssey Energy Solutions, helping emerging market project developers to finance, build and operate distributed renewable energy at scale.
How the Global South modernizes is the original climate justice debate that has been a key topic of global policy discussions for decades, going back to the Kyoto Protocol of the 1990s and even earlier. The crux of the conversation is that climate change has primarily been caused by the 20th century economic development of the United States, Western Europe, Japan, et cetera. And if the rest of the world were to follow the same fossil fuel enabled development path, we'd rapidly blow past emissions targets and into the worst possible climate change outcomes. So what's the rest of the world to do?
The answer seems to be to leapfrog, to modernize via a network of distributed renewable energy technology as opposed to a monolithic fossil fuel-powered grid. And yet that also introduces a whole new host of questions. Emily's been working at the nexus of climate and emerging markets for just about her whole career and brings a wealth of experience into Odyssey while working on answering these questions.
In this episode, Cody and Emily have a great conversation about energy access in emerging markets today, what new distributed grids will look like, how development finance institutions (DFIs) work and the role of nation states in securing financing for energy projects. We also cover how Odyssey is bringing financing, procurement, and operational solutions to market to solve the local problems inherent in this space. Emily and Odyssey just announced a seed round led by Equal Ventures that we at MCJ Collective were honored to participate in. So we’re welcoming Emily today as an MCJ Collective portfolio CEO, as well as an MCJ podcast guest. Enjoy the show!
In this episode, we cover:
[3:16] Emily's dedicated career in climate
[10:18] Grid challenges in emerging markets
[14:51] Financing gaps for small projects
[17:33] The Nigeria Electrification Project case study
[21:38] Profile of project developers in emerging markets
[23:56] An overview of Odyssey's solution
[28:38] The company's FERN platform
[31:44] How Odyssey is scaling and handling projects in multiple countries
[35:09] The capital they've raised thus far and what they're using it for
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Episode recorded on September 21, 2022.