Azuri Raises Sh400m as Solar leads Startup bonanza

In Startup, Tech

Solarpreneurs are attracting massive investments from overseas investors with M-Kopa, Azuri and many others being the main beneficiaries of Kenya’s startup investments bonanza.

Africa focused Azuri has raised Sh411.2 million ($4 million) for expanding its off-grid power product in Kenya and other African countries.

Investment firm CrossBoundary Energy and many others have successfully raised a dedicated fund for commercial and industrial solar that will deploy over US$25 million in solar solutions to power African enterprises over the next 18 months.

UK-based Azuri said this first round of fundraising is part of a bigger project in which the company has a target of Sh2.1 billion ($20 million) in off-balance-sheet financing.

“The initial phase will be deployed in Kenya, providing additional financing to enable Azuri to supply its PayGo solar systems,” said the company in a statement. Later phases will expand Azuri’s reach in East and South Africa, particularly in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The firm says that it has already drawn investment from the European Commission’s Electrification Financing Initiatives (ElectriFI) and investors on TRINE, a Swedish crowdfunding platform that focuses on solar projects.

Under the financing programme employed by Azuri, the company raises commercial debt and secures it against future revenues from its customers.

Azuri began operating in Kenya in 2011 and the company has a presence in 12 sub-Saharan African countries. It has in the last one year aggressively raised funds to expand its operations.

The company raised Sh17 million in 2017 through a crowd-funding platform, saying the money will go towards connecting 6,000 homes to off-grid energy. Raj Ushanga House, an Azuri distribution partner, last year secured a Sh56.7 million loan to boost expansion locally.

The solar kits market in Kenya has become vibrant in recent years with the entry of international firms such as Indian Orb Energy and German-based Mobisol.

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