This article is part of a series on Women in Tech. Read the series here.
Not many people would start a business at the height of a global pandemic, but not many people are Sahar Sam, the founder of Solaires, a company aiming to make solar energy more accessible.
“I started Solaires because it is critical to take action now and reduce our carbon footprint,” she says. “The demand for solar energy has increased, but there is a growing global shortage of solar panels due to a scarcity of silicon, the main component of conventional solar panels.”
The market is also in need of a new solar technology that is both affordable and has a higher energy conversion efficiency.
“Solaires' technology uses perovskite, which has a shorter value chain, a smaller facility footprint and requires 10 times less capital to establish a fabrication line,” Sahar says. It meets market demand for flexible, translucent photovoltaic solutions with higher energy conversion efficiency.
The result is a product that can reduce manufacturing costs by 40%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and enable new, innovative applications in the solar industry, like installing solar panels on windows, building facets or electric vehicles.
Sahar says one of the biggest keys to her success has been the support network she’s surrounded herself with.
“I appreciate all the mentorship and advice I have received from my mentors and all the virtual workshops I have attended. The entrepreneurial journey is tough but it shouldn’t be lonely. Meeting peers and creating community connections have aided my entrepreneurial journey thus far.”
Some of those individuals have come through ventureLAB’s Tech Undivided. Sahar is part of the program’s 2022 cohort.
“I joined the Tech Undivided Program to grow my network but also gain access to their strategic network that will provide us with invaluable mentorship toward honing our pitch for investor meetings and also growing our business,” she says.
In recent months, that’s included the introduction of a new product called Solar InkTM to the market; it’s already been named one of the “best perovskite inks” because it has a longer shelf life than others and enhances energy conversion and stability.
Sahar’s immediate goal is to raise $2 million in pre-seed funding to purchase new materials and equipment to ramp up Solaires’ production capabilities and increase sales. Long-term, Sahar says she wants to improve on the company’s product and to develop its technology to create flexible and translucent panels that can capture the sun’s energy from any surface.
“Solaires has a high-performing team that is eager to push our technology forward in order to make a difference in the environment,” Sahar says. “We have gathered a large number of specialists and experts in this field and we’re collaborating with several universities and industry partners to achieve their objectives.”
She adds: “We are all in the business of creating a cleaner world.”
ventureLAB’s Tech Undivided offers a comprehensive 6-month program to enable women-led tech companies to scale their businesses. The program creates a support ecosystem of resources and networking opportunities for women founders focused on key pillars of raising capital, commercializing technology and IP, attracting talent, and acquiring customers. Applications for Tech Undivided are open now! Apply today to access mentorship, peer-to-peer support, strategically aligned partners, and opportunities to pitch.
ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. Our initiatives focused on raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition have enabled thousands of companies to create over 4,500 jobs and raise more than $200 million in investment capital. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans that build-to-scale in Canada, for global markets.