RWANDA – Electric motorbike company Ampersand Rwanda Ltd has secured a US$3.5 million investment from Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF), its largest-ever venture capital fund investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
According Ampersand founder/CEO Josh Whale, the deal marks a turning point in global electric transport.
“EIF’s support further dispells the myth that electric transport will happen in rich nations first and trickle down to developing countries later, second-hand,” he added.
The San Francisco-based Ecosystem Integrity Fund is a sustainability-focused venture capital company, which invests in companies that reduce or ameliorate threats to ecosystem integrity.
Headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda, Ampersand assembles and finances electric motorcycles that are cheaper, cleaner, and better performing than the 5 million petrol motorcycle taxis in use across East Africa.
Ampersand’s motorbikes produce at least 75% less carbon than petrol motorcycles and zero tailpipe emissions. the company also builds and operates a network of battery swap station thus allowing drivers to change batteries faster than refilling a tank with petrol.
EIF’s historic US$3,5 million investment will allow Ampersand to rapidly scale up its electric motorcycle and swap station network in Rwanda putting hundreds more e-motorcycles onto the road and create dozens more battery swapping stations.
The investment will also enable Ampersand’s expansion beyond Rwanda’s borders and fuel the company’s research and development arm boosting puts Ampersand on track to electrify East Africa’s motorcycle taxi fleet by 2030.
“We’re thrilled to have EIF on board for this historic investment. We now have the momentum to scale our operations to electrify all of East Africa’s 5 million taxi motorcycles by 2030”Josh Whael – CEO, Amperstand Rwanda Limited
Introducing e-mobility to Africa
Since its commercial launch in May 2019, Ampersand’s fleet of 35 drivers and e-motorcycles have covered over 1.3 million kilometres and over 7,000 drivers are on their waiting list.
EIF’s investment builds on the startup’s acceleration through StartupBootcamp, early-stage funding from FactorE Ventures in 2018, generous support from the Rwanda Green Fund, USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures, Shell Foundation, the UK FCDO’s Frontier Technology Livestreaming fund, the New Zealand Government, and a loan from Blue Haven Initiative’s Catalytic Fund.
“We’re thrilled to have EIF on board for this historic investment. We now have the momentum to scale our operations to electrify all of East Africa’s 5 million taxi motorcycles by 2030,” Ampersand CEO Josh Whale said.
James Everett, Managing Partner at EIF said they are excited to partner with Ampersand as the company scales in Rwanda and expands across East Africa
“We believe that electrifying 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles in developing countries represents one of the low hanging fruits for climate change mitigation globally and can have a profound positive impact on urban air quality,” he added.
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