In order to launch the commercial delivery of locally produced electric buses and charging infrastructure, the Kenyan firm BasiGo has acquired US$6.6 million in new seed funding.
In November of last year, Disrupt Africa announced that BasiGo had begun operations in Nairobi after securing KES100 million (US$900,000) in finance earlier in the year.
The firm offers modern electric buses to bus operators along with charging and maintenance services. By using a financing approach that lets users pay for the battery and charging separately from the bus through a pay-as-you-go financing structure, the startup makes these vehicles cheap.
In order to help it commercialize its business model and start local assembly of electric buses, BasiGo raised US$4.3 million in initial capital back in February. Now, it has added another US$6.6 million to that sum in order to start delivering these buses and the necessary charging infrastructure.
Mobility54, the corporate venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho, Trucks VC, a Silicon Valley venture capital fund that focuses on the transportation sector, and Novastar Ventures, a global VC that supports entrepreneurs reshaping African markets, are the funders of the round. Additionally, Moxxie Ventures, My Climate Journey (MCJ), Susquehanna Foundation, Keiki Capital, and OnCapital have invested in it.
According to Jit Bhattacharya, CEO of BasiGo, “BasiGo is happy to receive the support of investors who are leaders in the automotive industry and climate financing.” Over 90% of Kenya’s electricity is already produced by renewable sources. Kenya’s transportation industry, however, is totally dependent on imported petroleum fuels. We can immediately reduce climate emissions, improve the quality of the air in our cities, and provide bus owners with relief from the escalating expense of diesel by electrifying Kenya’s public transportation. BasiGo is prepared to provide all Africans with access to the advantages of cutting-edge electric transportation with the help of this new funding.
In Kenya’s public transportation system, there are over 100,000 privately operated matatus, or buses and minibuses. As part of fleet operations with two Nairobi bus companies, Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle, BasiGo’s electric buses have traveled more than 110,000 kilometers and carried more than 140,000 passengers. In addition to recently announcing collaborations with KCB Bank and Family Bank to offer up to 90% financing to owners for the purchase of an electric bus, BasiGo has already received over 100 bookings from clients.
Takeshi Watanabe, CEO of Mobility54, declared, “We firmly believe in the potential of electric buses in Africa. “BasiGo’s strong ability to put the idea into practice and its cutting-edge technology are the secret to converting traditional diesel buses to eco-friendly electric buses,” says the company. We are very excited to work closely with BasiGo and support their expansion by fully utilizing the corporate resources of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO.
The following 15 electric buses from BasiGo will be delivered in January and put into service with a number of Nairobi’s biggest bus companies. To support this larger fleet, BasiGo has already started placing high-power, DC fast-charging stations in key areas of Nairobi. The startup plans to deploy over 1,000 electric buses in Kenya by the end of 2025. All buses delivered in 2023 will be locally assembled in Kenya.