CrossBoundary is a mission driven investment firm committed to unlocking the power of capital to make a strong return while creating a lasting difference in frontier markets. They provide investment advisory services, having developed a specialized expertise in unlocking investment across all sectors within fragile and frontier markets. The CrossBoundary team is a unique group made up of people who are genuinely excited by the opportunity to make a difference in some of the most challenging yet exciting markets in the world. Their clients include governments, development finance institutions, private equity firms, Fortune 100 companies, and research institutions. The direct investment arm, CrossBoundary Energy, also finances solar projects in Africa.
In 2017, CrossBoundary launched the first Mini-Grid Innovation Lab for Africa, a dedicated research and development fund for testing business model prototypes on mini-grids. Over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to electricity. The Innovation Lab conservatively estimates that at least 100 million of these people are most cost effectively served by mini-grids today. The Innovation Lab is supporting the sector to become more commercially viable by trialling new business ideas with developers in the field. CrossBoundary is seeking an Associate to support the Mini-Grid Innovation Lab initiative.
As the new Associate, you will support the Lab Lead in running the Mini-Grid Innovation Lab for Africa, which has two key objectives:
- To improve the unit economics of mini-grids so that they are able to provide more power to more people at less cost
- To build the case for mini-grids so that government, investors and donors can make decisions about how to best integrate mini-grids into the overall electrification mix in Africa.
Consequently, your work will focus on these two areas and involve working with mini-grid developers to identify and test innovative solutions to the mini-grid business model, through managing an iterative process of piloting and refining ideas. Based on the results of these experiments and the data collected, your second set of activities will focus on data analysis. With support from academic institutions, you will analyse the results of pilots and their impact on mini-grid business models, and support the dissemination of these results to the rest of the sector.
Support implementation of innovative business model improvements across Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia
- Alongside Lab Lead, support mini-grid companies to design prototype innovations through ideation workshops and ongoing consultation
- Support data collection on impact and undertake quantitative analysis to evaluate success
- Support external experimentation initiatives through the Lab’s network when requested and appropriate
Analyse results of Lab’s work and support advocacy efforts for the sector
- Maintain and update dashboards for reporting to the sector and to donors on impact
- Regularly analyse data received from mini-grid developers to evaluate experiment hypotheses and communicate findings
- Work with Lab Lead, academic institutions, and advocacy organisations to promote results of Lab’s work (successes and failures in experimentation) and publish results
Identify and engage partners
- Meet with new partners interested in engaging in the Lab’s work (e.g. academic institutions, NGOs, donors and funders, mini-grid developers, technology companies) and identify paths forward for collaboration
- Engage Lab’s key partners on a regular basis to provide updates on the Lab, gather feedback on prototype designs, and build community among mini-grid developers
- Support Lab Lead to mobilise scale-up funding for the Lab’s efforts
- Complete regular reporting requirements for the Lab’s funders
Support market and policy assessments and ongoing market analysis
- Conduct macroeconomic, regulatory, and operational assessments
- Provide sector analysis of priority areas for business model improvement
- Identify potential new markets and priorities for experimentation in the mini-grid sector