East Africa: KawiSafi Ventures invests $5m in clean energy company

Posted on: 23 July, 2020 at 12:35 PM

BioLite, a Brooklyn-based company on a mission to bring energy everywhere, closed a $5 million investment from KawiSafi Ventures, a growth fund investing catalytic capital to scale companies providing clean, affordable, and efficient energy to East Africa’s low-income populations. KawiSafi joins existing investors Emerson Collective and Disruptive Innovation Fund (Rose Park Advisors) to support Biolite’s plans to further develop innovative off-grid energy products for recreation and emerging markets.

Through partnerships with over 30 distributors in emerging markets, BioLite brings clean cooking and solar home energy products to customers in 17 countries. Since its founding in 2009, the company has provided cooking and energy solutions to over 700,000 customers, generated over 840 million hours of electricity, and offset almost 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

BioLite will use the new financing to expand into new geographies, invest in new product development, and streamline its Chinese supply chain. Jonathan Cedar, co-founder and CEO of BioLite remarked, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with KawiSafi Ventures. Their deep sectoral knowledge of clean energy in East Africa makes them a valuable thought partner and our mutual close relationship with Acumen builds on the positivity and trust of BioLite’s more than five-year partnership with the impact fund.”

Having raised over $25 million to-date, BioLite is a leader in both the US outdoor recreation market and the energy access sector in Africa. Using a unique business model called ’parallel innovation’, BioLite develops core energy technologies that are applicable to both markets. This win-win scenario, whereby innovation engineering can be applied in two diverse sectors, has proven successful for BioLite, which expects about half of its revenue for this year to be generated from emerging markets.

“We’re excited to be partnering with a company at the forefront of clean energy and cooking innovations that will bring higher quality and lower prices to off-grid consumers. KawiSafi looks forward to supporting Jonathan and team as they continue on their mission to bring energy everywhere,” said Amar Inamdar, managing director of KawiSafi Ventures.

As the off-grid energy sector continues to evolve, BioLite seeks to be the pre-eminent consumer energy products provider in the market committed to a business-to-business (B2B) distribution strategy, enabling the company to focus on building the best products possible.

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