Solar startup Azuri chokes-up more funds helped by Branson

In Innovation, Startup, Tech
Azuri installation in a rural outpost

Cambridge based solar home systems manufacturer and distributor for Africa and the UK Azuri Technologies has raised KSh40 million (£300,000) helped by serial entrepreneur Richard Branson.

This is the latest in a string of fundraising successes that shows how quickly Azuri has racked-up customers and attracted investors alike.

Branson’s non profit foundation Virgin Unite provided an up-front match of £75,000 while other investors put in the rest through a crowdfunding platform from over 100 investors to help more homes get connected to affordable home solar power systems.

The investment will help Azuri distribute four light solar home systems to Kenyan homes at affordable installments of over 18 months.  Azuri is addressing the problem of energy access that affects over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa due to a lack of access to the grid. The firm has sold more than 100,000 systems since 2012 which is approximately reaching 500,000 people with access to solar energy.

Earlier this year, the startup raised $5 in a partnership agreement with Stanchart and 160k euros from crowd funding due to its fast growing customer numbers.

Founded in 2012, Azuri Technologies Ltd. develops, manufactures, and installs solar power products for off-grid emerging markets in Africa and the United Kingdom. The company offers Indigo, a pay-as-you-go system that enables solar electricity to be delivered as a service using scratch cards for payment; and PayGo, a solar home system that delivers clean energy to rural households living without electricity.

Across Africa

It has a distribution network across Africa, including markets, such as Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Zambia, and South Africa. The company was founded in 2012 and is based in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Azuri home solar systems operates in 12 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa with offices in the UK, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana. The UK-based firm generated £1.9 million in revenues in 2016.

Read: Azuri gets Sh$5m Stanchart loan to light up rural Kenya

The £300,000 investment bond matures in 24 months and the investors will earn an expected interest rate of 5% per annum.   Azuri’s PayGo service model enables customers to pay back the cost of the system over time (typically 18 months) after which they fully own the system and can continue to use it for free. The Quad system includes a 10W solar panel, a rechargeable battery, 4 powerful LED lights, a rechargeable torch and radio, and a USB port to recharge a mobile phone.

The £300,000 will help the firm to manufacture and distribute at least 3,000 Quad systems together with their local distribution partners across Kenya, where approximately 4 million households do not have access to mains electricity.

Don’t miss: Azuri bites 100,000 customers off Africa’s solar energy market

The bond was raised via Energise Africa – an initiative that provides working capital to businesses that sell solar home systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to provide more than 111,000 rural families access to clean and renewable energy over the next three years.

Energise Africa is a platform run by Lendahand Ethex Ltd, made up of two online impact investing platforms,UK’s Ethex and Dutch’s Lendahand which joined forces to provide UK based retail investors with investment opportunities which will significantly improve off grid energy access for families in Sub Saharan Africa. Also read: Azuri distributor Raj Ushanga gets Sh56m from Lendable

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