Opibus closes $7.5 million funding round, largest ever for an African electric mobility

African electric mobility company Opibus announced today that it has closed on a round of equity and grant fundraising totaling $7.5 million. According to the company, this the largest sum of money raised by an electric mobility company in all of Sub-Saharan Africa, eclipsing the previous by $4 million. Opibus now looks to use this investment money to continue to scale its operations in electric motorcycle and bus manufacturing in Africa.

Opibus is a Swedish-Kenyan technology company that develops, designs, and manufactures electric vehicles to help transition the African continent toward more sustainable transportation.

The company was founded in 2017 as a research project at one of Sweden’s top technical universities. Its mission, from the beginning, was to implement electric mobility in emerging markets.

In our previous Electric Vehicle Spotlight of Opibus, the company’s head of marketing and strategy, Albin Wilson, did a wonderful job of explaining the potential for multiple electric transportation segments in Africa:

We believe there aren’t currently products on the market that fit the needs of areas with inadequate infrastructure and low automotive uptake rate. Therefore, this presents an unprecedented opportunity to leapfrog technology in Kenya and all of Africa, as electric vehicles may make even more sense here than anywhere else in the world, with unlimited sun and already 86% renewable energy production. This means that potentially, the energy grid could become decentralized as it is rolled out further with localized renewable energy production. What strengthens the leapfrogging argument is that it has happened before with phone landlines and credit cards, Kenya went straight to mobile telephones and digital payments.

The premise of Opibus is to operate and work in the markets it serves. As a result, all of the company’s operations, management, and design takes place in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city.

Previously, Opibus has made huge strides in electric conversion using its proprietary powertrain, transforming mining and safari vehicles toward zero-emissions. Additionally, it has been working on converting 51 seat public transport buses in Nairobi toward electrification, the first of their kind in Africa.

Speaking of first of its kind, Opibus has also developed its own electric motorcycle from the ground up, a vital form of transportation for the young workforce in Africa.

With its latest announcement, Opibus has garnered some record setting capital to scale these electric technologies for the Sub-Saharan market and beyond.

Opibus electric
Opibus’ electric motorcycles lined up / Source: Opibus

Opibus closes $7.5 million invest to scale African electric mobility

In a recent press release from Opibus, the Kenyan tech company announced its latest funding milestone, the largest ever for an electric mobility company in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The funding was led by At One Ventures out of Silicon Valley, and supported with funding from former Google and Uber executives at other venture capital companies.

Previously, the largest funding round was $3.5 million, as announced by Ampersand in April of 2021, to expand its fleet of electric motorbikes.

The newly closed fundraising round for Opibus is comprised of $5M in equity and $2.5M in additional grants, and will be used to scale up for mass manufacturing starting 2022. Opibus CEO and cofounder Filip Gardler spoke on the investment and its potential for the future of the company:

We are proud to be backed by globally recognized investors providing a balance between deep-tech and emerging market expertise. We have together reached a clear strategic and visionary alignment – with the conviction that mass manufacturing of electric mobility solutions in Africa will not only make the products more accessible and affordable, but also lead to one of the largest industrialization and welfare transitions of the region in modern time. The targets and objectives we’ve set for Opibus might seem bold, however it is a mission that has become more important than ever. We have a responsibility to the coming generations and the earth at whole.

Bold and inspiring ambitions indeed. With this fresh cashflow, Opibus will look to bring the first African-made electric motorcycles to mass production, and reduce air and noise pollution on populated Kenyan streets with its electrified public transport.

According to Opibus, Africa is one of the fastest growing transportation markets globally, with a total market potential of $10 billion by 2030, which remains untapped for the most part. Opibus looks to change that as it looks to serve customers in six African countries and beyond.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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