KENYA – BasiGo, an electric vehicle technology and financing company bringing electric bus services to sub-Saharan Africa, has announced a US$4.3 million Seed funding round to help commercialise its electric bus business model and launch local assembly of electric buses in Kenya.
The 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.
“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.
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 beginning in March 2022.
BasiGo sources electric buses from BYD Automotive, the largest electric bus manufacturer in the world. These buses are capable of travelling 250km on a single charge and offer a more modern and comfortable passenger experience than current diesel buses in Nairobi including USB Charging and WiFi connectivity for all passengers.
“We are excited to partner with BasiGo and support the team’s audacious vision to transform the public bus transport sector in Africa,” said Sapna Shah, Partner at Novastar Ventures.
“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.”
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% 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.
“Confronting the climate crisis and building a sustainable business to help catalyze the electrification of transportation across Africa is an extraordinary opportunity,” said Alex Roetter, General Partner at Moxxie Ventures.
“BasiGo has the vision and an exceptionally talented team to meet this challenge head on, and Moxxie is thrilled to support their critical mission.”
BasiGo will offer electric buses to bus operators here in Kenya through the company’s unique “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.