CCIC takes Greentech startup from Idea to Commercialization
Figure 1 Preelabs Team: From left to right team members consist of Trevaun Miller Ashlé Henriques, Phillip Logan, and Yekini Wallen-Bryan
High energy prices in Jamaica and the Caribbean have made consumers highly conscious of the energy they are consuming and ways to ensure energy conservation. Preelabs, an energy conversation startup that develops technological products and offers custom, automated systems solutions, aimed to address the immediate need for alternative energy solutions.
Preelabs, the vision of Founder and CEO Yekini Wallen-Bryan, was just a concept in early 2016 to which he has credited entry into The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC), Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp (CGSB) in February 2016 as his big breakthrough. With the drive and willingness to succeed coupled with a talented and supportive team, the then Plug ‘n’ Pree a device which allows users to control and monitor his/her electrical appliances from anywhere in the world, from their smartphone or computer device dominated the bootcamp with Yekini’s winning pitch.
“Following the Bootcamp, the core implementation of the technology has evolved considerably. From how we gather data, turn appliances off and to how we communicate with the internet, all areas have had significant improvements with the goal of minimizing the cost of production and maximizing functionality for our customers. We have eliminated the use of a hub and are now fully utilizing Wi-Fi technology”. Said Wallen-Bryan
Figure 2 Yekini Wallen-Bryan pitching at CGSB Jamaica in February 2016
As the winner of CGSB Bryan entered CCICs Launchit GreenTech Accelerator programme with his Plug ‘n’ Pree device concept in August 2016 as an idea stage three startup; which led to the start of his company Preelabs Ltd from funding provided by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center.
Figure 3 Preelabs at CCIC’s at Consortium Scientific Research Council Health and Wellness Conference in November 2016
The then Plug ‘n’ Pree device has since gone through a name change and now dubbed the PowerPree. “I would describe PowerPree as a device which provides homeowners and the ability to make significant savings on their energy usage. By allowing them to see how much energy is being consumed in both kWh and dollars while providing them with the opportunity to turn the device on or off anywhere in the world,” said Wallen-Bryan
Figure 4 Preelabs Founder and CEO Yekini Wallen-Bryan
Within the Accelerator, Preelabs received business development training, mentorship, and coaching from both technical and non-technical mentors, in additions to being exposed to CCICs network of GreenTech donors and investors. The grant provided by the CCIC was used to conduct market research, to identify the challenges faced by the companies target market of homeowners, businesses who are trying to manage their energy usage. The research further allowed them to tailor their concept to add a reporting feature which is a well-needed addition to enhancing their competitiveness among similar products on the global market. This feature allows the user to acquire timely reports on how much energy is being used in kilowatt hours to the dollars.
By the end of the accelerator program, they had developed a working prototype and generated interest from key stakeholders and potential clients. Due to their success, preelabs has moved from a stage one-idea startup to validation stage two startup within the accelerator programme; here they will be provided with additional advice and assistance towards commercialization. “ It has not been easy given that this sort of thing is not precisely the norm in Jamaica. However, we have been meeting some helpful people who have been more than willing to advise us on the steps needed to take to get PowerPree launched in the best way possible,” said Wallen-Bryan.
Though still in the beta-testing phase the PowerPree device through Preelabs Ltd is expected to be officially launched in the local market by mid-2017.
For more information on Preelabs and the PowerPree email at firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your interest.
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Cashyaka McDonald is the Marketing Officer at the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center. She is a Rob Stewart fan, and in her free time loves to travel.
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