BasiGo, a Kenyan electric vehicle startup, has secured $4.3 million in a seed funding round led by Novastar Ventures and saw participation from Third Derivative, Spring Ventures, Climate Capital, Moxxie Ventures and Nimble Partners.
The funding round occurs just about three months after the startup, founded by Jit Bhattacharya and Johnathan Green, set up operations in Kenya with the intention of providing clean-energy mass transit vehicles that’ll replace vehicles that are dependent on fossil fuels.
BasiGo’s co-founder and CEO Jit Bhattacharya spoke about the round saying that “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 leapfrog to clean, modern electric transit at the exact moment that African cities emerge as the next centre 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”.
BasiGo has huge plans for the new funding. It wants to set up an assembly plant in Kenya’s capital Nairobi as well as launch the sale and delivery of its electric buses.
The startup already has a charging and servicing centre close to Kenya’s main airport – the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The startup’s plan is to supply at least 1,000 mass transit electric buses to transport operators in Nairobi, over the next five years. It also will be providing a pay-as-you-drive credit option for drivers, so as to encourage patronage. It will also be responsible for providing maintenance and charging services.
The startup’s pilot program is set to begin next month and will be another EV company that will be hitting Kenyan roads. Last month, Opibus, a locally-made electric bus company hit Kenyan roads.
BasiGo EV buses which will come in 25 and 36-seater models will be locally assembled using parts sourced from BYD Automotive, a Chinese EV maker.
Novastar Ventures partner Sapna Shah spoke about the funding round and BasiGo’s ambition to bring EVs to Kenya. “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, leading to a vastly improved experience for commuters as well as better air quality in dense urban neighbourhoods”, Shah said.