Ampersand Raises USD 19.5 Million for Electric Motorcycle Expansion in Africa

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Ampersand, Africa’s pioneer in electric transport energy, has successfully raised $19.5 million in a funding round led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) and featuring participation from Acumen and Hard Edged Hope Fund. Additionally, the company secured a $7.5 million debt facility from Cygnum Capital’s Africa Go Green Fund. The funds will be utilized to ramp up the production of electric motorcycle batteries, expand the battery swap station network, and accelerate research and development (R&D) efforts on battery technology, software, and swap systems.

Key Points:

  • Funding Breakdown:
    • Ampersand secured $19.5 million in funding, with $7.5 million in new debt from Africa Go Green Fund (AGG), managed by Cygnum Capital.
    • The funding round included participation from EIF, Acumen, and Hard Edged Hope Fund, showcasing confidence in Ampersand’s business model and technology.
  • Utilization of Funds:
    • Equity funds will be used to accelerate product development.
    • Both debt and equity will facilitate the scaling up of Ampersand’s battery swap network to meet the increasing demand from delivery and taxi motorcycle riders transitioning from fuel to electric motorcycles in Africa.
  • Geographical Presence and Impact:
    • Ampersand, based in Kigali, Rwanda since 2016, deployed Africa’s first electric motorcycles in May 2019.
    • The company’s motorcycles have collectively traveled 180 million kilometers, avoiding 8,000 tons of carbon emissions.
    • As of December 2023, Ampersand serves 1,700 electric motorcycle riders with 140,000 monthly battery swaps in Kigali and Nairobi.
  • Technology Leadership:
    • Ampersand’s made-in-Africa battery fleet is highlighted as leading the world in cost per kilometer and uptime for light-electric vehicles.
    • Ongoing technological advancements align with the growing support for government e-mobility policies across Africa.
  • R&D Focus:
    • The funds will support R&D efforts focused on Ampersand’s next-generation batteries and battery-swap technology.
  • Investor Confidence:
    • Despite the challenging fundraising environment, Ampersand received strong support from both existing and new investors, reflecting confidence in its business model, technology, and customer-centric approach.
  • Future Growth Plans:
    • With the funding, Ampersand aims to deliver thousands more electric motorcycles in the coming months.
    • The company anticipates further growth as government policies favoring e-mobility and the removal of fuel subsidies contribute to an expanding addressable market.
  • Investor Statements:
    • James Everett, Managing Partner of Ecosystem Integrity Fund, expresses delight in supporting Ampersand’s transition to a growth-stage company and its leadership in electric transportation in East Africa.
    • Laurene Aigrain, Executive Director of Africa Go Green Fund, emphasizes the potential of e-mobility to transform the African transportation sector.
  • Legal Representation:
    • Silicon Valley law firms Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Goodwin Proctor represented Ampersand and EIF, respectively, in the transaction. Allen & Overy represented Cygnum Capital.

Ampersand’s successful funding round reflects a significant milestone for the electric transport energy company. The infusion of funds from various sources, including debt and equity, positions Ampersand to expand its electric motorcycle presence across Africa. The focus on R&D and the enhancement of the battery swap network align with the company’s commitment to sustainable and affordable mobility solutions in the region. The support from investors, despite market challenges, underscores confidence in Ampersand’s technological advancements and its pivotal role in the green transition in Africa.

TAN

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