A francophone investment venture fund known as GAIA has announced their investment in Oolu, a West African startup based in Senegal and Y Combinator affiliate, which is said to be one of the fastest growing solar companies in the region. The said “strategic” investment is announced as part of a Series B round which will come to a close next year.
GAIA’s investment will act as a strengthening force for the market-leading position of Oolu in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali. The funding will give Oolu the enablement to build on its formidable business infrastructure through investment in its IT systems and software capabilities. It will as well provide additional working capital to support the growing needs of the business. With the funding, Oolu will accelerate its regional expansion plans to reach further into virgin markets across West Africa.
GAIA is focused on renewable energy investments. The venture has a solid track record in the solar energy sector, supporting several startups, SMEs, and infrastructure projects since its founding in 2016, and has previously invested in solar companies from Cameroon Sierra Leone and Tanzania
Oolu was launched in 2015 in Senegal, and has, according to courses, since then been a force to be reckoned with. The company has sold over 34 K solar home systems in less than three years of business, to rural customers from Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. Being one of the fastest-growing SHS distributors in West Africa, the enterprise continually has the capacity to adapt it customer offering to local market dynamics. It has 130 full-time employees and a management team based in Dakar, with which Oolu passes as one of the most experienced in West Africa when it comes to solar power
Just last year October, Oolu finalized its Series A funding, which was under the wiring of Persistent Energy Capital (PEC). PEC and GAIA are both devoted to supporting Oolu in further fundraising rounds and in driving strategic initiatives. Commenting on the development, Guilhem Dupuy, the Investment Manager at GAIA said they “Have followed Oolu for some time, and are delighted to announce an investment into one of the most promising companies of the solar homes sector in West Africa. The impressive growth Oolu has achieved, has been coupled with lean operations and world-class customer support, giving us confidence that the company will successfully scale across West Africa.”
Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Oolu, Dan Rosa remarked that they are “Thrilled to have GAIA join as an investment partner, adding to the strong base of investors we already have. We have always been selective in the partnerships we form. Give the fundamental focus of GAIA on the tackling energy poverty, its solar industry track record and established presence in Francophone West Africa, we deem the partnership as an organic fit”.
“Ensuring a positive social and environmental impact is vital to both organizations,” said Nilmi Senaratna, Co-Founder and Chief Business Development Officer of Oolu. “We are aware that GAIA’s assistance will vamp up our efforts to better the living standard or rural customers across West Africa in months and years to come. We anticipate to partner with GAIA and furthering our vision of becoming the leading energy and financial services provider to millions of people in the developing world”, he added.
GAIA Impact Fund is a French venture established by a conglomeration of like-minded entrepreneurs and philanthropists from the renewable energy access ventures the need for energy is at it highest.