Kenyan startup BasiGo has raised US$6.6 million in new seed funding to begin commercial delivery of locally-manufactured electric buses and charging infrastructure.
As reported in November of last year BasiGo had launched operations in Nairobi having secured KES100 million (US$900,000) in funding earlier in the year.
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 charging separately from the bus through a pay-as-you-go financing arrangement.
BasiGo raised a US$4.3 million seed funding round back in February to help it commercialise its business model and begin local assembly of electric buses, and it has now topped that up with an additional US$6.6 million to begin delivery of these buses and the necessary charging infrastructure.
The round is led by Mobility54, the corporate venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho; Trucks VC, a transportation-focused venture capital fund in Silicon Valley; and Novastar Ventures, a global VC supporting entrepreneurs transforming markets in Africa. It also includes investment from Moxxie Ventures, My Climate Journey (MCJ), Susquehanna Foundation, Keiki Capital, and OnCapital.
“BasiGo is thrilled to have the backing of investors who are leaders in the automotive sector and climate finance,” said Jit Bhattacharya, CEO of BasiGo. “Over 90 per cent of Kenya’s electricity already comes from renewables. Yet Kenya’s transport sector relies entirely on imported petroleum fuels. By electrifying Kenya’s public transport, we can make an immediate dent in climate emissions, clean up the air in our cities, and give bus owners relief from the rising cost of diesel. With this new funding, BasiGo is ready to bring the benefits of state-of-the-art electric transport to all people in Africa.”
Kenya’s public transport sector is home to over 100,000 privately-owned buses and minibuses, referred to as matatus. BasiGo’s electric buses have driven over 110,000 kilometres and carried over 140,000 passengers as part of fleet operations with two Nairobi bus operators – Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle. BasiGo has already received over 100 reservations from customers, and recently announced partnerships with KCB Bank and Family Bank to provide up to 90 per cent financing to owners for purchase of an electric bus.
“We strongly believe in the potential of electric buses in Africa,” said Takeshi Watanabe, CEO of Mobility54. “BasiGo’s strong capability to implement the concept and its cutting-edge technology is the key to transforming conventional diesel buses to environmentally-friendly electric buses. We are extremely excited to build a solid partnership with BasiGo, and to support their growth by fully leveraging the business assets under Toyota Tsusho and CFAO.”
BasiGo’s next 15 electric buses will be delivered in January, and will enter operation with many of Nairobi’s largest bus operators. BasiGo is already deploying high-power, DC fast-charging stations at strategic locations across Nairobi to support this expanded fleet. All buses delivered in 2023 will be locally assembled in Kenya, and the startup aims to have over 1,000 electric buses deployed in Kenya by the end of 2025.