Kenyan startup BasiGo, an electric vehicle technology and financing company bringing electric bus services to Sub-Saharan Africa, has raised a US$4.3 million seed funding round to help it commercialise its business model and begin local assembly of electric buses.
BasiGo launched operations earlier in the year in Nairobi having secured KES100 million (US$900,000) in funding.
The startup provides state-of-the-art electric buses along with charging and maintenance services for bus operators, making these vehicles affordable through a financing model that allows operators to pay for the battery and charge separately from the bus through a pay-as-you-go financing arrangement.
The US$4.3 million seed round was led by Novastar Ventures with participation from several Silicon Valley investors, including Moxxie Ventures, Nimble Partners, Spring Ventures, Climate Capital, and Third Derivative.
BasiGo will use the funding to launch sales and delivery of its electric buses this year, as well as local assembly of its electric buses in Kenya. BasiGo will offer electric buses to bus operators through the company’s “pay-as-you-drive” financing solution, which enables public bus owners to purchase an electric bus for the same upfront cost as an equivalent diesel bus. Through this model, BasiGo plans to deploy over 1,000 locally assembled electric buses in Nairobi over the next five years.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Novastar, Moxxie, and this incredible group of investors, all of whom are deeply experienced in rapidly scaling businesses in this market,” said Jit Bhattacharya, CEO and co-founder at BasiGo.
“They understand this extraordinary moment of opportunity and urgency as time runs out for the world to make a meaningful impact on climate emissions. With East Africa’s abundant renewable energy, this market can leapfrog to clean, modern electric transit at the exact moment that African cities emerge as the next centre of economic growth. The support and knowledge of this investor group will catalyse BasiGo in its mission to make East Africa a leader in inclusive, sustainable bus transport.”
BasiGo has brought two 25-seat electric buses to Kenya, which are currently undergoing performance and reliability testing in Nairobi. These buses will enter pilot operation with select bus operators in Nairobi next month.
“We are excited to partner with BasiGo and support the team’s audacious vision to transform the public bus transport sector in Africa. Our investment will accelerate the adoption of electric buses through an innovative finance model, leading to a vastly improved experience for commuters as well as better air quality in dense urban neighbourhoods,” said Sapna Shah, partner at Novastar Ventures.
BasiGo has also opened a state-of-the-art charging and servicing depot for electric buses, located adjacent to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Leveraging the fact that 73 per cent of Kenya’s electricity comes from renewable sources, each BasiGo electric bus helps to dramatically reduce the air pollution and climate-warming emissions originating from Kenya’s diesel buses.