Zimbabwean Off-grid Startup Zonful Energy Secures Investment from Energy Access Ventures

By  |  November 27, 2018

Harare-based Zonful Energy, a provider of clean energy solutions to off-grid households, has secured its first funding round from Energy Access Ventures. This is the second round the startup has secured in the last 3 months, with the previous investment of 300 K coming from Persistent Energy Capital.

Zonful aims to use the current funding raised to strengthen its core team, diversify its product offerings, and drive growth to serve the 10 million people without access to grid electricity in Zimbabwe.

William Ponela, the Founder CEO of Zonful, said; “At Zonful, we don’t just provide solar products, we make families more productive. We believe that a customer-centric focus, resulting from us closely listening to those we serve, is the right way to have the greatest positive impact. We are excited to work with EAV who truly share our values and ambition. Their investment and, importantly, their value-addition will allow us to expand our distribution efforts in Zimbabwe and to realise our objective of sustainably improving the standard of living for millions of Zimbabweans while reducing CO2 emissions by at least 3 million tonnes over the next five years.”

WeeTracker, in a recent story, had mentioned that the startup had already reached 20,000 households in 32 districts of Zimbabwe. With revenue touching USD 3.5 Mn as of October 2018 for Zonful, this investment round comes in reasonably at the right time for it to chase its target of reaching the hinterland.

Read: “People Thought We Would Give Up”- CEO, Zonful Energy

Vladimir Dugin, Investment Manager at EAV said; “EAV is delighted to lead Zonful’s funding round. Zonful is a unique example of a startup where a local entrepreneur, despite economic and political headwinds, has managed to launch and grow their business. The company’s core values of customer satisfaction and gender diversity have helped them to place 10,000 systems and build a strong team of young professionals, nearly 60% of whom are women. We aim to be Zonful’s growth partner and to support them in substantially accelerating the deployment of solar home systems in rural Zimbabwe”.

Energy Access Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm in Africa. EAV raised its first fund (“EAV I”) of USD 85 Mn in February 2015. The fund is sponsored by French multinational Schneider Electric and is managed by Aster Capital in Paris. Its investors are CDC Group (UK), the Netherlands Development Finance Company, and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to name a few.

“We are delighted that EAV is investing in Zonful, a clear homegrown leader in the Zimbabwean access to the energy market,” said Gilles Vermot Desroches, SVP Sustainable Development at Schneider Electric. “Schneider Electric is proud to support the off-grid sector through EAV in Zimbabwe. Zonful is an outstanding example of the unbundling happening in the solar home systems industry as its business model focuses on cost-efficient distribution and financing.”

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