Ampersand secures $9m for the expansion of its electric motorcycles


Ampersand secures $9m for the expansion of its electric motorcycles

Ampersand, Kenya’s first electric motorcycle company, has secured $9million from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to expand its operations in Rwanda and Kenya.

This loan is a part of DFC’s portfolio for the Impact and Innovation (PI²) initiative and contributes to DFC’s commitment to the US Energy Compact and its target to address climate change with one-third of its investments by 2023.

DFC’s facility expands on Ampersand’s $4 million Series A investment which closed earlier in 2021 and was backed by Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF), a Silicon Valley investor, and TotalEnergies.

The deal represents DFC’s first loan for electric mobility and signifies increasing investor confidence in Africa’s rising e-mobility sector. The company gathers and finances electric motorcycles known as emotos or e-bodas that cost less to buy and operate and perform better than 5 million petrol motorcycle taxis in use across East Africa, all with up to 83% fewer carbon emissions.

DFC’s Chief Climate Officer, Jake Levine, stated that the company is happy to help Ampersand in their critical and creative initiative to bring e-mobility and electric bikes to Rwanda and Kenya.

According to him, DFC is committed to making significant investments in developing countries that will help communities progress and grow while also building resilience and prosperity in preparation for a clean energy future.

This investment, as well as Ampersand’s incredible market growth, represents a significant step in that direction. The loan will enable Ampersand to scale up the number of electric motorcycles in Rwanda and Kenya by the end of 2022.

Founder and CEO of Ampersand, Josh Whale, had this to say about DFC’s investment, “We’re thrilled to have DFC on board with this historic investment, which is building momentum to electrify all of East Africa’s 5 million motorcycle taxis by 2030. DFC’s support underlines the viability and investability of electric two-wheelers for mass-market customers in the Global South, and the importance of this market to reaching net zero.”

He further commented, on the eve of COP26 in Glasgow, that Ampersand believes bolder, fast-moving, and innovative funds like PI² are urgently needed.

About Ampersand

Ampersand is the first and leading integrated electric motorcycle and transport energy solution in Africa with its headquarter in Kigali, Rwanda.

Launched in May 2019, Ampersand’s team has performed over 50,000 battery swaps, powering its fleet of 56 drivers for 2 million kilometers.

The company offers East Africa’s five million taxi motorcyclists a commercial electric motorcycle that is cheaper, provides a better overall user experience and requires minimal customer behavior change.

Ampersand’s main business is the network of battery swap stations and fleet of batteries the company builds and operates. This system allows drivers to swap batteries faster than refilling a petrol tank and shields vehicle buyers from the high upfront cost of a lithium battery pack.

Ampersand secured early-stage seed funding from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), Rwanda’s Green Fund, and the UK Government’s Frontier Technology Livestreaming initiative, and others, and is now awaiting DFC’s investment to develop its business in the region.

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