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Ampersand makes history in sub-Saharan Africa

Rwandan startup Ampersand raises $3.5M, largest-ever e-mobility investment in sub-Saharan Africa

The Kigali based startup secured a $3.5 million investment from the Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) last week. This is the largest ever e-mobility investment by a venture capital fund in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We’re thrilled to have EIF on board for this historic investment. We now have the momentum to scale our operations to electrify all of East Africa’s 5 million taxi motorcycles by 2030. EIF’s support further dispels the myth that electric transport will happen in rich nations first and trickle down to developing countries later, second-hand,” said Josh Whale, Founder/CEO of Ampersand.

Ampersand, Africa’s first electric motorcycle company, specializes in assembling and financing electric motorcycles (‘e-motos’ or ‘e-bodas’). These electric bikes according to the company are cheaper and better performing than the 5 million petrol motorcycle taxis in use across East Africa.

Ampersand’s vehicles emit at least 75% less carbon than petrol motorcycles and zero tailpipe emissions. Ampersand also builds and operates a network of battery swap stations – allowing drivers to change batteries faster than refilling a tank with petrol.

EIF’s investment builds on the startup’s acceleration through StartupBootcamp, early-stage funding from Factor[e] Ventures in 2018, generous support from the Rwanda Green Fund, USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures, Shell Foundation, and many more.

Since its commercial launch in May 2019, the company claims its fleet of 35 drivers and e-motos have covered over 1.3 million kilometres and over 7000 drivers are on their waiting list.

Rwanda in focus

Population: 12,629,950

GDP: $10.354 Billion

GDP per capita: $820 (2019)