SolarNow, a Dutch renewable energy startup mostly active in Uganda and Kenya has raised $9 million dollar in a Series-B round led by Novastar and Shell. The capital raised will be used to strengthen the company’s position in existing markets and expand into news ones. “The investment will allow us to design and market more productive appliances, thereby enabling farmers to increase their income”, says the founder and CEO of SolarNow, Willem Nolens in an announcement about the funding.
Instead of selling appliances SolarNow sells tiered solution pacakges to its four target groups: households, small business, farmers, corporates. A household solution pacakage consists for instance out of start pack 50Wp + 50Wp Solar Panel + Phone Charging +45Ah Battery + Light Pack 3x 3w + Radio Torch. The farming solution consists for instance out of solar water pump systeem. The company has 55 branches scattered throughout Uganda and Kenya that serves up to 25000 clients. SolarNow also offers appliances suchs as lamps, TV’s, refigirators, etc.
For Novastar Ventures, a Nairobi-based early stage venture capital firm, this was their follow-up investment of 2014. Back the VC firm that is dedicated to assist entrepreneurs in East African markets invested $2.5million. “Since we invested three years ago, SolarNow’s management have proven their ability to successfully scale a business model with strong unit economics”, says
Andrew Carruthers, managing director of Novastar. Adding: “We are delighted to see that the company’s rigorous focus on quality and customer satisfaction is proving successful, with over 40% of all new clients being referred by existing clients.”
The argument for Shell to invest in SolarNow is the idea that decentralised solutions will play an important role in providing productive energy to customers who currently lack reliable power. “We are impressed by SolarNow’s talented and experienced team. They have built a proven business and an exciting modular product offering”, said Brian Davis, Vice President, Integrated Energy Solutions for New Energies at Shell.
Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash