BasiGo secures $4.3 million funding to commercialise electric bus business model, launch assembly plant  in Kenya

BasiGo, an electric vehicle technology and financing company bringing electric bus services to sub-Saharan Africa, has announced a $4.3 million Seed funding round, led by Novastar Ventures with participation from several Silicon Valley investors including: Moxxie Ventures, Nimble Partners, Spring Ventures, Climate Capital, and Third Derivative. The funding round will help BasiGo commercialise its electric bus business model and launch local assembly of electric buses in Kenya.

“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.” said Jit Bhattacharya, the CEO and co-founder at BasiGo.“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 catalyse BasiGo in its mission to make East Africa a leader in inclusive, sustainable bus transport.”

BasiGo has brought two 25-seat electric buses to Kenya which are currently undergoing performance and reliability testing in Nairobi. The buses will enter pilot operation with select bus operators in Nairobi beginning in March 2022. BasiGo sources electric buses from BYD Automotive, the largest electric bus manufacturer in the world. The buses are capable of travelling 250km on a single charge and offer a more modern and comfortable passenger experience than current diesel buses in Nairobi including USB Charging and WiFi connectivity for all passengers.

“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”, said Sapna Shah, Partner at Novastar Ventures.

BasiGo has also opened a state-of-the-art charging and servicing depot for electric buses located adjacent to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Leveraging the fact that 73% of Kenya’s electricity comes from renewable sources, each BasiGo electric bus helps to dramatically reduce the air pollution and climate-warming emissions originating from Kenya’s diesel buses.

“Confronting the climate crisis and building a sustainable business to help catalyze the electrification of transportation across Africa is an extraordinary opportunity,” said Alex Roetter, General Partner at Moxxie Ventures.” BasiGo has the vision and an exceptionally talented team to meet this challenge head on, and Moxxie is thrilled to support their critical mission.”

This latest funding round will enable BasiGo to launch sales and delivery of its electric buses this year, as well as local assembly of its electric buses here in Kenya. BasiGo will offer electric buses to bus operators here in Kenya through the company’s unique “Pay-As-You-Drive” financing solution, which enables public bus owners to purchase an electric bus for the same upfront cost as an equivalent diesel bus. Through this model, BasiGo plans to deploy over 1,000 locally assembled electric buses in Nairobi over the next five years.

BasiGo is an electric vehicle technology and financing company working to bring electric bus services to sub-Saharan Africa. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the company offers state-of-the-art electric buses from BYD Automotive along with charging and maintenance services for bus operators in East African cities. BasiGo also makes electric buses affordable to operators through an innovative financing model that allows operators to pay for the battery and charging separately from the bus through a “Pay-as-you-Drive” financing arrangement. BasiGo began pilot testing electric buses in Nairobi in early 2022.

Novastar is a global VC working from the entrepreneurial centres of Lagos, London and Nairobi. It partners with gritty optimists to build businesses that create value for the many, not the few. Novastar entrepreneurs pursue big solutions with the potential to transform markets and sectors. Whether in healthcare, finance, education, agriculture, information or mobility, since 2014 the Novastar team has been following the threads of consumer behaviour to help power enduring change, for good.


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