Kenya-based EV startup, BasiGo Secures $4.2M Seed funding to scale up operations In Kenya

Kenya-based EV startup, BasiGo Secures $4.2M Seed funding to scale up operations In Kenya

Kenya-based electric vehicles startup, BasiGo, which provides clean-energy mass transit vehicles, has closed a $4.3 million seed funding barely three months after commencing operations in the  East African powerhouse.

The $4.3 million funding round, which includes $930,000 raised during the pre-seed round late last year, was led by Novastar Ventures with participation from several existing and new Silicon Valley investors, including Moxxie Ventures, Nimble Partners, Spring Ventures, Climate Capital, and Third Derivative.

The Nairobi headquartered e-mobility startup will utilize the raised fund to set up an assembly plant in Nairobi and launch the sales and delivery of its electric buses. BasiGo has already set up a charging and servicing depot close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. It has also imported two electric buses for the pilot program.

Jit Bhattacharya, BasiGo co-founder, and CEO, expressed his joy in the partnership.

“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. 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 clean, modern electric transit at the exact moment that African cities emerge as the next center of economic growth. The support and knowledge of this investor group will catalyze BasiGo in its mission to make East Africa a leader in inclusive, sustainable bus transport,” he added.

Bhattacharya is quite experienced in the electric vehicle space, having worked as the technology leader in rechargeable (lithium-ion) batteries for more than 12 years. He has held executive positions in various companies, including Mission Motors in Silicon Valley, Project Titan — the secret electric car project by Apple Inc, and Fenix International, an off-grid home solar system company. Green, BasiGo’s chief financial officer, has spent the last 15 years working with different companies to deliver renewable energy technologies to users across Africa.

BasiGo plans to supply over 1,000 mass transit electric buses to transport operators in Nairobi over the next five years. To enable the uptake of these vehicles, the startup will extend pay-as-you-drive credit options to drivers and provide maintenance and charging services.

BasiGo will kick start the pilot program next month to join Swedish-Kenyan EV startup Opibus, which rolled out its locally-manufactured electric bus to Kenya’s roads three weeks ago. Both companies have set their eyes on the mass transit sector, slowly shifting to cleaner energy options.

The Kenyan government announced its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network, a bus-based public transport system in Nairobi last week, and is due for completion this year. The network will operate green (electric, hybrid, and biodiesel) vehicles, a great business opportunity for EV manufacturers like Opibus and assemblers like BasiGo.

“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, vastly improved experience for commuters as well as better air quality in dense urban neighborhoods.” Novastar Ventures partner, Sapna Shah, said.