The SME Story: Daniel Domingues and Tariq Said, co-founders, Sirius Energy
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The SME Story: Daniel Domingues and Tariq Said, co-founders, Sirius Energy

The SME Story: Daniel Domingues and Tariq Said, co-founders, Sirius Energy

Sirius Energy is batting for the implementation of sustainable clean energy initiatives in the UAE

What is the core business model of Sirius Energy?
Our mission at Sirius Energy is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. We plan on doing this by offering sustainable commercial and industrial market solutions that are good for our clients and good for the planet. Our solar subscriptions allow companies to save money by purchasing affordable electricity from us and reducing their carbon footprint in the process.

However, we realised that it’s not enough to simply be cheaper. We have to be better. So we are strengthening our value proposition with an ecosystem of software and hardware solutions that elevate our customers’ experience and enhance the value they get from our ecosystem.

What were you doing before you started Sirius?
We worked together at a leading renewable energy company here in Dubai. We were tasked with building out a new business unit in the company, to develop fully financed solar solutions for commercial and industrial clients. We achieved modest success, but after hundreds of client meetings, carefully studying the competition and watching more mature markets in Europe and the US, we realised this customer segment was really underserved.

What gap did you see in the market that necessitated the need for such a company?
There was a general lack of quality service being rendered, and many incumbents were treating customers simply as buyers of electricity. We wanted to take that a step further, to transform units of electricity from a commodity into a service with a customer-centric approach. We are designing an ecosystem of services that revolve around energy-as-a-service model.

How mature is the UAE market compared to Western markets with regards to renewable energy?
The market is fairly nascent compared to most G20 nations. However, the UAE is very ambitious in the introduction and implementation of supportive regulatory frameworks to allow renewables to rapidly flourish. We expect to see this trend continue robustly and expand across the borders to neighbouring markets.

Can clean energy systems make good business sense too?
Absolutely. It’s great for businesses and the planet. The electricity tariffs are straightforward, affordable and 100 per cent sustainable. It’s also a major upgrade for businesses to do the transition to our service. The energy industry has been allergic to adopting new and innovative technologies. We’re blending tech into various touchpoints across our business, providing a seamless customer experience and maximising value. It’s an all-round win.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve encountered as entrepreneurs?
Other than the usual soup of highs and lows that comes with the job, we found the banking system to be challenging. It’s clear that banks are used to dealing with traditional businesses, but are not prepared for the emerging startup movement in the region. Another challenge we face are the legacy business practices and systems that most commercial and industrial clients have. We’re working on creating a more tech-savvy approach to doing business, whether it’s in procurement and customer acquisition or basic communication methods.

What are your expansion plans?
We’re very excited about entering and developing the Saudi market. Regulatory headwinds are turning into tailwinds, and the market is hungry for innovative, fresh change. We are also in talks with customers in several other neighbouring markets, and we’re happy to explore those too. The market is rapidly growing, and we look forward to pioneering its further development.

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