Series C led by Creadev, Finnfund, Imaginable Futures
February 4, 2021 - By 2030, more than 300 million young people will enter the job market across Sub-Saharan Africa. A high-performing primary and secondary learning system unlocking the doors of university will be critical to educate and train the many. Yet most of K-12 institutions across the continent still perform poorly, plagued by overcrowded classrooms, scarcity of qualified teachers and lack of equipment. On the other side, elite private schools remain unaffordable to a large majority of the population.
Since 2012, SPARK School's CEO Stacey Brewer and her team have developed a pioneering tech-enabled pedagogical model to solve this issue. Through a combination of teacher-led instruction and online learning, rotational classroom set-up, and strong emphasis on educators’ professional development, SPARK Schools provides the best standards of education at a competitive price accessible to the many. The company has grown to become the 3rd largest network of private K-12 schools in South Africa, operating 18 institutions and serving over 10,500 families from diverse social & cultural backgrounds.
In 2020, COVID-19 severely disrupted global education, depriving 1.6 billion learners from access to school in more than 190 countries. SPARK was able to adapt quickly thanks to a balanced mix of online, offline distance learning and face-to-face teaching. Embarking in 2021, the team is fully geared towards accelerating on its mission to unlock access to high quality education in Africa.
To this end, SPARK Schools announced today the closing of its Series C to support the company’s next phase of growth. This funding will be instrumental in consolidating SPARK’s existing network and expanding primary and secondary schools across Africa to reach 35,000+ scholars in the next 10 years. The round was led by Creadev, together with the Finnish development finance institution Finnfund and existing SPARK shareholder Imaginable Futures.
Stacey Brewer, CEO & Co-Founder of SPARK Schools:
“SPARK Schools’ vision is for South Africa to lead global education by ensuring that under-served communities get access to high quality education. Partnering with Creadev, Finnfund and Imaginable Futures will enable us to achieve our bold and ambitious vision. They have a strong alignment to SPARK Schools’ vision, mission and values and understands what it takes to build and scale a great business. As the African proverb states, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’ – we look forward to walking this journey together with Creadev, Finnfund and Imaginable Futures, ensuring that SPARK Schools grows from strength to strength and provides better opportunities to the communities that we serve in South Africa and beyond.”
Eero Pekkanen, Finnfund:
“We are continuously looking for investment opportunities in the education sector: companies that have a proven track record, a scalable business model and potential to make a great impact. Building on Finland’s exceptional results in education, we want to actively contribute to unlocking high quality education to all, from underserved communities to middle-income families. We believe that SPARK is a pioneer in its field and can reinvent the K-12 education system in South Africa and beyond through its innovate tech-enabled model and focus on empowering students to perform at their best. In the time of COVID-19 outbreak, we are excited to support SPARK through the pandemic and start looking ahead at an ambitious and impactful expansion plan.”
Pierre Fauvet & Sarah Ngamau, Creadev Africa:
“Stacey and her team have developed a highly innovative and scalable model, relying on blended learning to optimize the cost to educate and solve the pressing issue of teacher scarcity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through this unprecedented year, the whole team has demonstrated clear commitment to the values of SPARK – Service, Persistence, Achievement, Responsibility and Kindness!
Together with like-minded co-investors Finnfund and Imaginable Future, we are thrilled to support SPARK’s mission to provide access to such an essential service to the many, and shape tomorrow’s world. SPARK has the potential to become a champion pioneering affordable private education in Africa!”
Shikha Goyal, Imaginable Futures:
“Imaginable Futures is proud to continue its support to SPARK Schools for their next phase of growth that will benefit learners and families in South Africa. SPARK’s innovative, blended learning model demonstrates that children in South Africa can receive a quality education at costs that families at all income levels can afford.”
Clermount acted as sole financial advisor to SPARK Schools in this transaction.
Investment led by SFPI
Addax Motors raises 10 million euros to expand on the European market
November 27, 2020 - Addax Motors, the only Belgian manufacturer of electric vans, raises 10 million euros, of which 8 million euros through an equity investment by The Société Fédérale de Participations et d'Investissement, the consultancy firm Resultance and a family investor. These funds will be used to continue to shape European growth.
" We are very happy that the Société Fédérale de Participations SFPI-FPIM is supporting our project. The Belgian government thus shows that it fully believes in a product developed and manufactured in Belgium. We consciously choose to keep the blend in Belgium. We are proud of our roots and we like to see things big”, say Jean-Carette, co-founder of Addax Motors.
With this financial injection, Addax will initially strengthen its European distribution network. The company is already active in twelve countries and aims for full European coverage.
“We will increase our penetration in current markets and we want to gradually expand to other countries. We will do this thanks to our electric trucks which are in great demand in cities and towns, industrial sites, holiday parks, but also postal services and last mile delivery", says Commercial Director Daniël Kedzierski.
In the meantime, the company has also started to develop a second, larger van model which, thanks to its increased autonomy, will be particularly suitable for postal services and parcel distribution. Addax has already started recruiting additional employees to support its growth plans.
Clermount acted as financial advisor to Addax Motors in this transaction.
Investment led by Inven and Contrarian
Sweden’s Eliq raises €5 million in Series A funding to help utility companies retain customers
Swedish software company Eliq has raised a Series A round of financing to the tune of €5 million from Inven Capital, Contrarian Ventures and prior backers to scale its energy customer engagement platform across Europe. The investment brings Eliq’s total funding since launch to €9 million.
Eliq basically enables utility companies to find and retain customers by upgrading the its communication with end users. The company provides software for people to monitor their electricity usage and demand patterns, taking in information from smart meters, connected devices and weather analytics to deliver instant energy insights and promote efficiency.
“Deregulation and the rising customer expectations for more actionable data insights, transparency and dynamic two-way communication has left established utilities incapable of retaining customers and in need for a platform to better engage with their existing and new clients,” commented Rokas Peiculaitis, general partner at Contrarian Ventures on the decision to invest in Eliq.
The fresh cash will serve to bring more solutions to market more rapidly, and to broaden the company’s geographical reach by growing its teams in both its HQ Gothenburg and London.
Clermount acted as financial advisor of Eliq in this transaction.
Investment by Mirova
The French operator of eco-mobility services, Clem', has been retained by the City of Paris to deploy a car-sharing service for electric light commercial vehicles for merchants in Paris (from 4,50€/half-hour or 39€/day). Mirova has reached an agreement with Clem' to finance the deployment of the vehicles starting with a first tranche to finance 266 vehicles.
Accessible to professionals but also individuals, this service promotes the development of zero emission urban logistics while supporting the economic recovery. It will be available from July 6 on the clem.mobi platform or via the Clem Mobi mobile application. It will operate initially 54 vehicles (Kangoo ZE and e-NV200) at 54 stations (ex AutoLib), distributed in the 20 Parisian arrondissements. More than 300 vehicles will soon be available at 100 stations throughout the Paris region.
Clermount acted as sole financial advisor to Clem' in this transaction with Mirova, which demonstrates Clermount's commitment to the fast expansion of clean mobility as well as its expertise in structuring innovative financing solutions for its clients.
Investment from Shell and exit of early investors
d.light welcomes investment from Shell on its journey to impact 100 million lives
Shell’s investment will support d.light in its next phase of continued profitable growth as it positively impacts millions of customers, while giving several early investors a successful exit.
November 6, 2019 — d.light, a leading innovator of solar energy products headquartered in San Francisco, announced today that Shell’s New Energies business* has acquired a minority stake in the company, buying out several early-stage investors as they move on to new projects, underscoring the sector’s increasing commercial viability. This latest development comes as d.light moves closer to its ambition of positively impacting 100 million lives with its solar-powered solutions in over 70 developing countries.
Commenting on the investment, d.light co-founder and CEO Ned Tozun said, "We are excited to have Shell join d.light as a shareholder. Shell’s record of leading important, transformative changes within the energy sector, and their alignment with our mission, makes them an ideal partner for d.light as we begin our next phase of major growth. We would like to thank our early investors who had faith in us from the start. Thanks to their enduring support, they have enabled d.light to enable incredible positive impact in the lives of millions of customers while still achieving strong financial outcomes. We have great confidence that we will continue to accelerate and deepen this impact, as we expand our geographic footprint and product portfolio to delight our customers. The future is truly bright for d.light and the offgrid solar industry as a whole.”
Shell Vice President Energy Solutions Brian Davis said, “We are impressed by d.light’s track record in meeting evolving customer needs for access to electricity across both Africa and Asia. Their experienced team has developed efficient sales and distribution channels in these markets and continues to expand their product range. We look forward to supporting d.light to realize its growth ambitions. With this latest investment, Shell takes a step closer to meeting its ambition to provide a reliable electricity supply to 100 million people in the developing world by 2030.”
Isabelle Hau, Investment Partner at Omidyar Network, one of d.light’s prominent early investors, welcomed the announcement: “d.light has achieved remarkable direct impact at scale with nearly 100 million lives reached, and sector-level impact by transforming energy access and catalyzing an entire new off-grid power ecosystem. d.light has generated both social impact at scale and solid financial performance, demonstrating that social impact and financial returns are not mutually exclusive. With the new investment from Shell, early impact investors including Omidyar Network are able to successfully exit as they would with any other type of commercial venture.”
This transaction is subject to customary conditions precedent including regulatory approvals.
Clermount acted as exclusive financial advisor of d.light and exiting shareholders in this transaction.
Investment from Kawisafi Ventures and Quadia
Growth in Energy Access and Smart City markets
With operations in China, Germany and Hong Kong, OPES Solutions is strengthening its position as a global leading supplier for the fast growing off-grid Energy Access and Smart City markets. In the Energy Access market alone, driven mainly by pay-as-you go Solar Home Systems, OPES Solutions has already supplied more than 4 million customized off-grid solar modules over the last years.
OPES Solutions will use the capital to significantly expand its production and R&D activities. “With our factory in Changzhou, China, we are at the forefront of building a new industry together with our customers” says Robert Händel, CEO & Founder of OPES Solutions. “Our product development and manufacturing concept is tailored to the needs of our customers working with Off-Grid electrification in developing countries and new applications promoting mobility and sustainability in Smart Cities”.
The research activities of OPES Solutions include new solar module design & materials, direct integration of solar modules into innovative applications and development of innovative mass-manufacturing processes & equipment for small modules.
Investors with focus on two key global challenges
The investment focus of the new shareholders is perfectly matched to what the Founders of OPES Solutions aim to achieve, supporting the solar electrification of more than 1 billion people who are currently without energy access, as well as responding to the trend of fast growing cities all over the globe that require innovative technological solutions to be environmentally sustainable.
“Currently, $17 billion a year is spent on dirty energy in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Our investments target this huge market to improve access to clean energy through economically successful solutions. As the market leader for Off-grid solar modules, OPES Solutions is a perfect fit,” says Amar Inamdar, Managing Director at KawiSafi.
“Quadia invests in sustainable companies that drive the regenerative economy. For us, not only technical and economic factors are decisive, but also positive social and environmental impacts. The investment in OPES Solutions takes all these requirements into account as solar energy is a key element to enable mobile and sustainable solutions in today’s dynamically developing cities,” adds Daniel von Moltke, Managing Partner at Quadia.
Being part of building the Off-Grid Industry
Specially developed innovative production processes are key to the success of OPES Solutions. This technological edge enables the company to achieve fast product development & ramp-up cycles, high volume and consistent quality – despite a variety of small off-grid module designs – for which no standardized production equipment is available on the market. For example, the patented integrated Flying Fibre Laser from OPES Solutions increases the throughput of cutting solar cells by 8-fold, and with better quality and yield than comparable machines.
Tom Tang, CTO & Co-Founder of OPES Solutions: “Though we have come far without a financial partner in the past, KawiSafi and Quadia bring not only network & knowledge for our two key markets, but also financial power to give our key R&D &and expansion projects an important boost. We are all very excited to bring our company to the next level.”
Investment led by BNP Paribas and SET Ventures
CHF 13.2 million: Successful financing round strengthens DEPsys in Smart Grid growth market Puidoux, Switzerland, 8 February 2019 – The Swiss technology company DEPsys is to receive 13.2 million Swiss francs as part of a Series B investment. The new investors are BNP Paribas and SET Ventures. This capital increase prepares DEPsys for strong international growth. In 2018, DEPsys doubled the number of customers and is now present in ten markets across two continents. Large-scale rollouts are under way, and recently, DEPsys established its first international subsidiary in Germany. With increasing green electricity production, the rising use of renewable energies and electromobility, and the digitalization of power grids, DEPsys' unique GridEye solution is in heavy demand. The versatile control platform allows power grid operators to run distribution grids safely, reliably and optimally. This makes it possible to feed large quantities of renewable energies into their grids from decentralized sources. GridEye also allows for the easy management and control of micro grids and neighborhood solutions. Distribution network operators in DACH, Europe and worldwide use the platform to integrate intelligent grid management technologies. This is made possible by the innovative mix of hardware and software.
Michael De Vivo, CEO of DEPsys: "We are proud to have gained the support of our renowned new investors BNP Paribas and SET Ventures. Their networks and market expertise will be invaluable for us successfully penetrating new markets. DEPsys is firmly convinced that supplying the world solely with electricity from renewable sources will be possible in the future. We have set out to accelerate the energy revolution and make it easier for grid operators. With GridEye, we have developed an innovative technology solution to drive this mission forward. It is a Swiss Army Knife with all the instruments for distribution system operators to make their energy turnaround a success, without fear of a complex, protracted and expensive transformation process."
Focus on DACH, growth opportunities in Western Europe, Asia and North America. DEPsys continues to focus on the markets in Germany and Switzerland. But the provider also aims to accelerate business in the European market and worldwide. DEPsys will continue to expand in Asia, where three major customers have been acquired. Entry into the North American market is planned. In 2016 and 2018, DEPsys completed two successful financing rounds with Statkraft Ventures, VNT Management, ONE Creation, and Single Family Office Wecken & Cie. As a result, DEPsys was able to professionalize its corporate structure, further develop its smart grid solution and strengthen its international market presence. In 2019, together with BNP Paribas (as lead investor) and SET Ventures, they will add a further 13.2 million Swiss francs in funding. Funds with which DEPsys is gearing up for future growth.
Clermount acted as sole financial advisor of DEPsys in this equity raising.
Investment from Consortium led by Inspired Evolution
d.light Raises US$41 Million to Finance Its Rapidly Growing Solar and Appliance Business
The new equity funding, energy expertise and strong network of the Consortium, led by Inspired Evolution, will enable d.light to expand and accelerate its already impressive growth rate as well as provide energy access to millions of people in Africa. December 17 2018, Nairobi, Kenya; New Delhi, India; Shenzhen, China; San Francisco, USA – Today, leading distributed solar provider d.light announced that it had raised US$41 million in equity financing from a Consortium led by Inspired Evolution, an Africa-focused investment advisory firm that specializes in the energy sector. Consortium partners include the Dutch Development Bank FMO, as well as government-sponsored investment funds Swedfund and Norfund. This latest funding, which enables expansion of the company’s solar and Pay-Go consumer finance business in Africa, brings the total amount of equity and debt that d.light has raised in the past two years to over US$100 million. The funding round also enabled some of the company’s earliest investors to achieve an exit. “We are thrilled to have Inspired Evolution as the newest funding partner in the d.light family,” said d.light co-founder and CEO Ned Tozun. “Their energy expertise and strong network add significant value to the work of d.light, allowing us to expand our product line, launch in new markets, and reach more customers.” With a commanding market share in emerging markets in both Africa and Asia, the company’s revenue and profitability continue to accelerate at an impressive growth rate. This investment combined with solid debt financing and receivables funding solutions will put the company on an even steeper growth trajectory. Wayne Keast, Managing Partner, at Inspired Evolution said,” We are excited to partner with d.light, the market leader in the portable solar product and off-grid solar home system market, to support the expansion of their Pay-Go solar business throughout Africa which will help address the needs of more than 600 million people that do not have access to electricity”. Since its founding in 2007, d.light has provided solar energy to more than 88 million people in 62 countries. Their extensive product line ranges from extremely affordable portable solar lanterns to solar home systems that can power multiple lights, mobile phones, and small appliances, including a flat-screen television. d.light’s solar solutions have won multiple international awards for their innovation and design and are sold through more than 30,000 outlets around the world—the largest existing distribution network for these types of products. With a strong emphasis on product quality and customer service since its earliest days, d.light has built up a loyal customer base in emerging markets. d.light cont quality at scale. Its pay-go financing system has among the lowest delinquency rates in the industry. The company is led by a strong team of deeply experienced, internationally recognized leaders and highly committed, talented local staff. Mr. Tozun and Mr. Goldman established an ambitious goal for d.light at its founding: to impact 100 million people by 2020. The company expects to achieve this audacious goal ahead of schedule, and this latest equity funding from Inspired Evolution and other partners will undoubtedly accelerate those efforts.
About Inspired Evolution - Inspired Evolution was established in 2007 as a specialized African investment advisory business dedicated to two investment themes: clean energy infrastructure-type development and project finance investments; and energy and resource efficiency growth equity investments, and the value chains that support them. Inspired Evolution, with offices in Cape Town, London, Nairobi and Mauritius advises two investment funds, Evolution One and Evolution II. Its investment territory covers the sub-Saharan African region. Inspired Evolution has been involved in more than 1000 MW of renewable energy infrastructure generation projects over the past decade, and is pursuing a pipeline of new clean energy projects and resource efficiency opportunities across sub-Saharan Africa. For more information, visit www.inspiredevolution.co.za
About the other Consortium partners - FMO is the Dutch development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO is pleased to support d.light alongside EVII, a trusted local partner. This investment perfectly fits FMO’s inclusive and green business strategy and the investment is additional to FMO’s equity off-grid exposure in terms of product offering and geographies. FMO believes that d.light is one of the players offering the highest quality and most affordable products, and is able to leverage its lessons learned as one of the first-movers in the sector. Through its widespread distribution model, d.light is able to reach many customers, thereby impacting millions of families with green and affordable access to energy. For more information on FMO: please visit www.fmo.nl Swedfund is the Swedish Development Finance Institution, providing risk capital, expertise and financial support for investments in local companies in developing markets. Swedfund’s mission is poverty reduction through sustainable business, contributing to economic and environmental development as well as a positive impact to society. Swedfund’s investment strategy rests on three main pillars: impact on society, sustainability and financial viability. Since 1979 Swedfund has been engaged as an active, responsible and long-term investor in more than 260 companies worldwide. Norfund is the Norwegian Development Finance Institution. Norfund’s objective is to contribute to sustainable commercial businesses in developing countries through providing equity, other risk capital, and loans to companies in selected countries in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa, South-East Asia and Central America. With a portfolio of USD 2.4bn, Norfund invests in three main sectors: clean energy, financial institutions, and agribusiness. www.norfund.no
About d.light - Founded in 2007 in San Francisco as a for-profit social enterprise, d.light manufactures and distributes award-winning solar lighting and power products designed to serve the more than 2 billion people globally without access to reliable electricity. Through five distribution hubs in East Africa, West Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and the United States, d.light has impacted over 88 million lives with its products. d.light is dedicated to providing the most reliable, affordable, and accessible solar lighting and power systems for the developing world, with the goal of reaching 100 million people by 2020. For more information, visit www.dlight.com Media Contact For Inspired Evolution: firstname.lastname@example.org For d.light: email@example.com
Clermount acted as exclusive financial advisor to d.light in this transaction.
Financial advisory on international expansion
Logistimo - Leading logistics orchestration platform for frontier markets
Inclusive value chains for rural citizens will drive a renaissance for more than 50% of the developing world – fulfilling the promise of health equity and economic opportunity for 3 billion people across global emerging markets. High performing systems in low-resource settings can unlock this potential, but require novel technology to remain resilient in those contexts and for those users.
Logistimo pioneers network-agnostic mobile and web software to establish logistical visibility across all echelons. It helps provide retailers, transporters, and distributors with accurate, up-to-date reports of orders sales, purchases, and other on-demand information. Logistimo prides itself on its simplicity, with an intuitive interface that allows “highly trained professionals to semi-literate first time users of mobile devices” to be trained in as little as 15 minutes. The application’s software is open source, aiming to increase its reach even further beyond the 100,000 beneficiaries in emerging markets worldwide.
Logistimo is currently deployed in 6 countries and across different types of rural supply chains including health commodities, agricultural inputs and energy products. It currently has over 12,000 stores in its network, over 95% of them being below district, and over 15,000 users accessing the company's services through mobile phones. Logistimo is currently supporting one of the largest immunization cold-chains in the world, ensuring availabilty and potency of over 430 million doses of vaccines annually.
Clermount acted as financial advisor to Logistimo when planning international expansion in more than 20 additional countries.
Investment from Rolls-Royce Power Systems
Rolls-Royce expands its position in the microgrid market and invests in start-up Qinous
Rolls-Royce acquires stake in Berlin-based energy storage and systems start-up Qinous
Turnkey microgrids launched to support independent, cleaner and more reliable energy
Rolls-Royce microgrid demonstrator to showcase systems tailored to customer needs
Rolls-Royce is investing in Berlin-based start-up company Qinous GmbH, a global provider of innovative energy storage and control systems, and adding turnkey microgrids to the portfolio.
“As a strategic investor, the aim is to set up a partnership with Qinous for the development of innovative energy storage solutions and together offer cleaner solutions designed to meet tomorrow’s needs,” explained Marcus A. Wassenberg, CFO and Labor Director at Rolls-Royce Power Systems.
The increased use of renewable energies has exacerbated the challenge of how to maintain a reliable energy supply, when weather conditions are unfavourable, to meet demand. Autonomous electricity networks, or microgrids, combine cogeneration plants, diesel- and gas-powered gensets and renewable sources with batteries and a control system that links up all the elements in an intelligent energy management system that optimises the energy usage technically and economically. “With the use of energy storage and renewable sources, operators of hotels, hospitals or schools are able to make significant fuel cost savings and at the same time protect the environment ,” said Qinous CEO Steffen Heinrich.
Qinous has gained considerable experience in the integration of battery storage and energy systems in microgrids in more than 30 projects worldwide and has already integrated MTU Onsite Energy systems from Rolls-Royce in such projects. The investment made by Rolls-Royce is to be used to expand the existing product portfolio and strengthen global sales and marketing activities.
“We are looking forward to working with Qinous and see this partnership as yet another milestone as we expand our activities in this business segment,” said Marcus A. Wassenberg. Financial details of the individual investment being made by Rolls-Royce are not being disclosed.
Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, added: “We have identified our customers’ needs in terms of autonomous energy supply systems that are efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly. For this reason, we are now adding turnkey microgrids to our current portfolio. In addition to the diesel and gas gensets supplied by MTU Onsite Energy, together with our partners like Qinous we will now offer battery containers, include renewable power generation plants, and combine that with intelligent control. This strengthens our position as a provider of innovative power solutions able to supply our customers with microgrid systems tailored to their specific requirements.”
Microgrids combine renewable energy generation with reliable generator setsThe increased use of energy from photovoltaic and wind power plants, where power output can fluctuate depending upon weather conditions, has exacerbated the challenge of how to maintain energy availability. This is something microgrids can achieve by combining generation with batteries and a control system in an intelligent energy management system. Rolls-Royce already provides MTU diesel and gas gensets for use in microgrids, and will soon be able to provide full turnkey microgrid solutions.
“Microgrids combine clean and cost-effective renewable energies with our reliable generator sets and are thus the future of the power industry,” said Alexander Patt, Project leader of Microgrid solutions at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “We are convinced that, with our engineering competence, we will be able to provide our customers with a total system that will give them the availability and efficiency they require.”
Rolls-Royce microgrid demonstrator to showcase systems tailored to customer needsMicrogrids can supply energy completely autonomously to remote locations, such as mining operations or islands that have no access to a public grid. When operated in parallel with existing infrastructure, they can provide an environmentally friendly supply of electric power to industrial companies or local communities while simultaneously providing support for the public grid.
The most crucial component of a microgrid is an intelligent control system, which determines what power sources are to be used at what time in order to supply energy to the end user or top-up the battery system. This is done in accordance with the customer’s preference; for instance, whether they prefer low-cost electricity generation, the supply of renewable energy, or high rates of power availability. Rolls-Royce Power Systems is now setting up a microgrid demonstrator in Friedrichshafen that will assist in the design of microgrids that meet a customer’s specific requirements.
“Microgrids are part of our Green and High-Tech Initiative, with which we are making targeted investments in environmentally sound solutions for the future that are designed to lower the emissions of pollutants and reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials,” said Andreas Schell.
Clermount acted as financial advisor to Qinous in this transaction.
Fund raising with institutional investors
Acumen Announces Nearly $70 Million Close of For-Profit Off-Grid Energy Fund through its subsidiary Acumen Capital Partners
The fund, KawiSafi Ventures, is accelerating access to clean energy solutions for low-income populations in East Africa
New York, NY – April 17, 2019 – Acumen the nonprofit that invests philanthropic capital in companies and leaders tackling poverty, today announced the approximately $70 million close of for-profit fund, KawiSafi Ventures, through Acumen Capital Partners. After investing $22 million of patient, philanthropic capital across the off-grid ecosystem and impacting 81 million lives, Acumen saw an opportunity to drive energy access for millions of low-income people in East Africa and scale the clean energy sector.
In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 600 million people currently live without electricity and spend $17 billion a year on dirty, inefficient energy. KawiSafi aims to deliver clean, affordable energy to 10 million people, at least half of whom live in poverty, and displace more than one million tons of carbon dioxide in the next 10 years, to address energy poverty and help avert the current climate crisis. To date, KawiSafi has invested $21 million to impact 4.3 million people and avert 360 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“Acumen’s investing experience has shown us that Africa has a unique opportunity to solve its energy problem,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen. “We created KawiSafi to prove that renewable, off-grid energy can be a faster, cheaper and cleaner way to electrify the continent. By building scalable solutions that can bring power to low-income communities that have lived without electricity for too long, we can create a seismic shift in off-grid energy, releasing immense levels of human productivity and minimizing impact on the environment. Given that Africa’s population is expected to nearly double by 2030, a clean energy strategy is good not just for the continent but for everyone.”
KawiSafi has raised approximately $70 million to catalyze companies that deliver clean, affordable renewable energy to low-income consumers and businesses quickly climbing the energy ladder. The fund maintains Acumen’s values and impact-focused approach to investing but aims to deliver market-competitive returns by making larger, more significant investments in high-growth companies with proven business models. Some of KawiSafi’s early supporters include anchor investor the Green Climate Fund along with Steve Jurvetson, Chris Anderson and the Skoll Foundation. Acumen, as sponsor, holds an equity interest in the fund.
“The energy landscape has changed drastically in the last decade, and we have seen proven, profitable businesses emerge that are already transforming how low-income people access electricity,” said KawiSafi’s Managing Director Amar Inamdar. “These companies need early-growth capital to scale so they meet customer demand and drive innovation in a rapidly evolving ecosystem. KawiSafi will fill critical market gaps to create a sustainable, off-grid ecosystem, supporting countries to realize their UN Sustainable Development Goal of universal energy access.”
d.light, a longtime Acumen investee, is one of KawiSafi’s first investments. The company, which manufactures and distributes a broad range of high-quality, affordable solar products, has impacted more than 90 million lives and offset 21 million tons of CO2. d.light recently closed $41 million in Series E Financing, demonstrating how KawiSafi can help accelerate growth for companies with proven business models poised to generate significant financial and social returns.
KawiSafi is managed by Acumen Capital Partners LLC, an Acumen-owned subsidiary that structures and manages funds investing in social enterprises poised to scale to transform the lives of low-income people everywhere and solve some of poverty’s greatest challenges. Acumen Capital Partners leverages Acumen’s nearly 20 years of investing in the world’s toughest, most underdeveloped markets to address critical capital gaps for social enterprises on their journey to scale.
GCF Executive Director ad interim Javier Manzanares said KawiSafi Ventures has great potential in its ability to act as a role model for similar renewable energy investments in other countries.
“While the establishment of off-grid solar power will initially target at least 10 million energy-scarce people in Rwanda and Kenya, this fund has elements which could be replicated in bringing universal, low-emission power to communities elsewhere,” Manzanares said. “A key benefit of KawiSafi Ventures is the way it empowers solar power entrepreneurs at the grassroots level to leapfrog the need for fossil fuels in lighting up people’s lives.”
Clermount advised Kawisafi Ventures on their second close fund raising with institutional investors.
Investment from EDF
SunCulture closes investment with EDF Group
SunCulture, a Kenyan-based technology company and a leader in solar water pumps and irrigation solutions for small holder farmers, has closed an investment round with the EDF Group, one of the world’s largest electric utility companies and a global leader in low-carbon energy.
EDF joins SunCulture’s existing institutional investors, Energy Access Ventures and Partners Group.
Over the past fifty years, the EDF Group has provided more than 500,000 people in Africa with access to electricity. EDF will share its experience selling and installing off-grid solutions designed for residential customers and its knowledge of Central and West African markets with SunCulture. EDF will also assist in setting up financing vehicles designed to help farmers afford these solar irrigation solutions under SunCulture’s Pay-As-You-Grow platform.
“EDFs commitment to partnering with local companies to create lasting impact represents an important shift in the way multinationals are doing business in Africa. We’re excited about this partnership, which gives us the opportunity to work with EDF to increase rural household productivity across the continent,” said Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder.
SunCulture is opening up the East African market for EDF to expand the impact of its off-grid solutions across the continent. SunCulture’s deep understanding of smallholder farmers’ needs will provide invaluable data for EDF to develop its off-grid offering into the agriculture space. EDF is already selling off-grid household technologies in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal.
“We are proud to invest in a technology company that brings to African smallholder farmers genuinely innovative solutions transforming their lives and fostering economic development in African countries. This partnership enables EDF to enter a new and very promising business line of Off-Grid offerings. Our ambition is to become SunCulture’s partner of reference in their expansion beyond Kenya, especially in countries where EDF already has a strong footprint”, said Marianne Laigneau, Senior Executive Vice-President in charge of the International Division at EDF. Four out of five African families depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, but just 4 percent use irrigation, with the rest relying on increasingly unreliable rainfall. Although switching to irrigated agriculture increases yields by 90 percent when compared to nearby rain-fed farms, high diesel costs make irrigation an unaffordable expense for many small farmers. With 620 million Africans lacking a connection to the electricity grid, mains-connected electric water pumps are also not a viable option. Andrew Reicher, SunCulture’s Board Chair, adds: “EDF’s investment will finance SunCulture’s plans to scale up and reach millions of customers by continent-wide distribution and introducing credit. EDF brings much more than just money, though. A shared philosophy and commitment to work closely and cooperatively together, access to deep knowhow within EDF, and the opening to us of their extensive contact network, will all significantly increase the probability of success for SunCulture.” Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, is available for interviews. He can provide more insight into the exciting potential for agricultural productivity in Africa. Clermount advised SunCulture on this transaction
SunCulture is a technology company that makes smallholder farming households more productive in an affordable and environmentally friendly way by selling them affordable solar-powered water pumps and customized irrigation systems bundled with ongoing support and financing. SunCulture was the first company to commercialize solar-powered irrigation in Africa and is the only company in Africa that provides a turnkey solar irrigation solution to farmers. SunCulture’s partners include Energy Access Ventures, Partners Group Impact, Shell Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, and USAID. SunCulture recently won awards for Excellence in Transformational Business and Achievement in Sustainable Development: Food, Water and Land at the Financial Times and International Financial Corporation Transformational Business Awards.
A key player in energy transition, the EDF Group is an integrated electricity company, active in all areas of the business: generation, transmission, distribution, energy supply and trading, and energy services. A global leader in low-carbon energies, the Group has developed a diversified generation mix based on nuclear power, hydropower, new renewable energies and thermal energy. The Group is involved in supplying energy and services to approximately 35.1 million customers, of which 26.5 million are in France. The Group generated consolidated sales of €70 billion in 2017. EDF is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange
Clermount acted as exclusive financial advisor to SunCulture in this transaction.
Investment from large corporate
AgriProtein secures largest investment to date in insect protein sector
London, 4 June 2018
FLY-FARMER and waste-to-nutrient pioneer AgriProtein, named as one of the UK’s 10 most disruptive businesses*, has raised a further USD 105 million in funding, marking a new high in investor appetite for the insect protein sector.
The record raise by AgriProtein Holdings UK, together with additional local project finance for a series of factory builds in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, puts AgriProtein on track to deliver its ambitious factory roll-out plans.
Jason Drew, AgriProtein co-founder and CEO, said: “This is a significant vote of confidence in a growth industry producing a sustainable protein for use in animal diets. It reaffirms our position as the leading up-cycler of waste-to-protein and brings us the financial resources for further global expansion.”
The company, which won acclaim as the BBC Food Chain Global Champion 2017, is building a global business through its circular economy strategy: up-cycling organic waste to tackle the food security and waste disposal challenges posed by the world’s burgeoning population, while helping conserve wild-fish stocks in our threatened oceans.
AgriProtein uses black soldier flies and their larvae to convert organic food waste into a high-protein alternative to fishmeal suitable for fish, poultry, pigs and pet food.
Jason Drew said: “We need to see waste differently – as a resource – particularly food waste. A growing population, scarce water and land resources, and declining natural fish stocks make this more critical than ever.”
AgriProtein has fly farm projects under development across the world to produce its flagship product MagMeal™.
The company has expanded its R&D capability, hiring new staff and building chemistry and genetics labs. It has also hired senior staff from engineering and waste management backgrounds to increase its project roll-out capacity.
The company is focusing initially on the aquafeed market, where demand is increasing year on year to satisfy growing consumer appetites for farmed fish.
Worth over USD 114 billion in 2017, aquafeed is predicted to grow by a factor of 2.5 in just eight years to nearly USD 290 billion in 2026. (Source: Reuters/MRC Stratistics, March 2018).
Said Jason Drew: “There is simply not enough marine material left in the oceans to meet fishmeal demand in aquafeed, let alone in feed for poultry, pigs and pets. Along with algae and bacteria, new, disruptive sources of protein like our own are needed to close the feed gap and, in the process, help repair the future of the planet.”
In January 2018 AgriProtein was named a Global Cleantech 100 company for the second year.
*Top 10 Disruptors to Watch: Sunday Times/Virgin Media Fast Track 2017.
Investment from Shell Technology Ventures
SteamaCo secures $2.9 Million series A financing led by Shell
SteamaCo, a market leading technology company focused on enabling energy access in frontier markets, today announced its $2.9 million Series A equity financing. The investment supports the company to further develop its universal smart meter platform for utility customers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Shell led the investment round, with participation from existing investors: GReeN investor group and Ashden Trust.
The Series A financing builds on SteamaCo’s early work as a global leader in frontier market energy automation. The company, named on 2017’s Global Cleantech 100 “Ones to Watch”, remotely operates hundreds of distributed energy assets across Africa for some of the world’s most intrepid energy businesses – mini grid operators, off-grid retailers, and grid-edge solar providers – enabling modern energy for tens of thousands of previously unconnected consumers.
“SteamaCo is an important investment for Shell’s energy access portfolio. We believe their competitive, high functionality offering has disruptive potential for decentralized energy systems,” said Brian Davis, Vice President, Integrated Energy Solutions for New Energies at Shell. “We like SteamaCo’s flexible approach, impressive operational capability and technical expertise.” Harrison Leaf, CEO and Co-Founder at SteamaCo said, “Shell’s support brings within reach significant untapped opportunities in our core markets. We’re investing in the enabling technologies required to connect 1.2bn new consumers with affordable, clean and abundant energy. This year we achieved world leading results with our load shifting, on-bill appliance financing and tariff optimisation services, and we continue our data work to understand and serve consumers better. Beyond the financial investment, we’re thrilled to have access to Shell’s global footprint and supply chain expertise as we continue to scale across borders and industries.”
SteamaCo was advised by Clermount, a financial advisory boutique, and Pannone Corporate LLP.
The utility of the future powers the world’s largest unserved market – 1.2bn unconnected people. Yet standing between the utility and the consumer are many miles of tough landscape, unreliable infrastructure and a lack of data. Founded in Kenya in 2012, SteamaCo enables its customers to sell energy anywhere on the planet. Forged in the most exacting technical environments, its universal smart meter automates any distributed energy asset, even in low- or no-connectivity locations, for the price of a classic meter.
SteamaCo is headquartered at Manchester Science Park, one of the UK’s leading science and technology campuses, with offices in Kenya.
ABOUT SHELL TECHNOLOGY VENTURES
Shell Technology Ventures B.V. is the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”). It supports Shell’s New Energies business which was created in 2016. New Energies focuses on two main areas: new fuels for transport, such as advanced biofuels and hydrogen; and power, which includes low- carbon sources such as wind and solar, as well as natural gas. Within the power portfolio, Shell is also actively pursuing investments in scalable commercial businesses that expand energy access to communities who currently have no energy at all or unreliable supply.
Clermount acted as exclusive financial advisor to SteamaCo in this transaction.
Acquired Baywater Healthcare
Bastide Le Confort Médical acquires UK-based Baywater Healthcare
Bastide Group has announced that it has signed an agreement for the acquisition of the entire share capital of Baywater Healthcare, previously owned by European investment fund Duke Street.
Baywater Healthcare is a leader in the UK home oxygen therapy market, where it is the only independent company alongside three major gas group subsidiaries. The United Kingdom is a highly structured market organized into 11 regions. For each region, the National Health Service (NHS) gives one operator exclusive rights for five-to-seven years, provided performance and quality criteria are met.
At present, Baywater Healthcare successfully operates three of the largest regions, with its exclusivity rights due for renewal in 2019. The company currently provides support to 26,000 patients, representing a market share of close to 25%. Baywater Healthcare employs 230 people and reported revenue of around €27 million in 2017 at current exchange rates. Its recurring operating profitability is today higher than that of Bastide Group.
The acquisition is subject to the approval of the NHS, which is expected to make its decision in early 2018. It will be paid in cash with an initial price based on the net value of operating assets (equipment) and significant additional payments in the event the exclusivity rights are renewed. The current management team will continue to oversee the company’s development.
With this strategic transaction, Bastide Group will secure a position in a growing market and increase its portfolio of oxygen therapy patients by more than 50% to 75,000, spread between France and the United Kingdom. The Group will also significantly exceed the €300 million mark for full-year revenue, thereby confirming its change in scale and its strong expansion into high value-added services.
Clermount acted as exclusive financial advisor to Bastide Group in this transaction
Investment from Apis Partners
Greenlight Planet Raises $60 MM for Off-Grid Solar Financing Business
London-based private equity fund manager Apis Partners and other investors announced disbursement of $60 MM in new funding to Greenlight Planet Inc., the leading provider of off-grid solar products and solar financing for underserved populations around the world.
Greenlight Planet, a growth-stage company with a mandate to deliver social as well as financial returns, disclosed that it has been profitable in each of the last 10 financial quarters.
Greenlight Planet announced that it now operates the world’s largest direct-to-consumer, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar product distribution business, with over 2,400 company-managed sales agents in five countries, selling more than 25,000 solar products to off-grid consumers each month. Using mobile money systems, customers pay for their solar energy products over time, for as little as 25 cents per day. After six to eight months, they own the solar product outright, making solar energy more affordable than traditional electrical grid power.
Greenlight’s line of Sun King™ solar-powered products, now used by nearly 30 million consumers in 62 countries, includes lighting, home energy systems, phone chargers, radios, fans, and soon-to-be-released televisions. The company began selling affordable solar home systems just three years ago, and has sold nearly 600,000 to date, now at a rate of over 1,000 solar home systems per day. Greenlight Planet partners with a network of more than 100 distributors, including retailers, NGOs, and over 40 micro-finance institutions, to provide sales and service for off-grid communities in 62 countries.
Financing of off-grid solar home systems is a step toward broader financial inclusion for rural, unbanked consumers in emerging markets across Africa and Asia: Consumers without previous access to credit can build a credit history via the PAYG payment model, enabling Greenlight to offer them additional products and financial services in the future. Greenlight Planet will use the new debt and equity capital to expand its solar-energy product lines, distribution networks, and financing capabilities in Africa and Asia. There, over a billion people lack reliable access to electricity, finding it too expensive or unavailable.
Clermount acted as sole financial advisor to Greenlight Planet in this transaction.
Investment from consortium led by BNP Paribas
Sunna Design raises 7 million euros to deploy its industrial and commercial strategy
Sunna Design announced today a €7 million fundraising which should enable it to deal successfully with new international markets by strengthening its commercial and industrial capacities.
Having developed pioneering technologies such as its range of smart solar street lights, Sunna Design has the means to pursue its development in the promising field of connected solar street lights for smart cities by launching a groundbreaking offer that combines energy and digital.
In addition to the new blue-chip investors such as BNP Paribas, Sunna Design received the continuous support of the historic shareholders who accompanied us during the previous round of € 5 million in December 2014. The participation of institutions and experts in the financing round validates Sunna’s strategy that is focused on synergies between solar power, LED, storage and digital embedded in quality products to meet the needs of sunny and emerging countries. With its maintenance-free solar street lights designed to last 10 years, Sunna Design is well placed for convincing local buyers who are now demanding and sensitive to the notions of climate resilience and lifespan.
For Pierre François, former CEO of Sicame Group and new investor “Sunna has developed a very coherent approach, by first positioning proprietary technologies, and by structuring strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as Schneider Electric and Thorn Lighting. Now the company is strengthening its industrial capabilities with a concept: the factory of the future, flexible and easy to set up as close as possible to targeted markets. I was taken by the Sunna teams’ agility and thorough understanding in the field.”
The fundraising will also allow to continue the development, under the Moon brand, of a new business providing access to energy and digital services for rural populations of Africa by allowing them to enter into a virtuous circle of cost savings and generation of income. Launched eighteen months ago, Moon has already proven its relevance in Senegal, where hundreds of customers already buy Moon kits composed of a solar system and a smartphone using the pay-as-you-go system. Sunna Design’s energy access business was partly funded by the crowdlending platform of Solylend, together with well-known donors such as the French Development Agency, the French Treasury through its FASEP tool, and most recently, USAID.
Clermount acted as sole financial advisor to Sunna Design in this transaction.
Investment from Bestseller Foundation
SOLARKIOSK partners with BESTSELLER FOUNDATION
At the end of June 2017 BESTSELLER FOUNDATION formalized an investment into SOLARKIOSK AG that will see SOLARKIOSK increase the number of kiosks – dubbed E-HUBBS – that it currently has in its core countries of operation in East Africa; Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. The solar panels that lend their name to the business are the backbone of mini-grids that can power E- HUBBS in a number of configurations depending on the context – e.g. a market place, a health center, a business hub or a mix thereof.
The investment will enable SOLARKIOSK to set up an additional 85 E-HUBBS and with an average of 5,000 households in the catchment area of each E-HUBB some 425,000 households will feel the difference a nearby E-HUBB makes. In addition E-HUBB operators will be recruited locally – in some places one and in other places two – which will create direct employment for approximately 120 people.
There’s a strong mission alignment between BESTSELLER FOUNDATION and SOLARKIOSK which provides the basis for a solid partnership that will enable, empower and enhance the sustainable economic development of communities at the base of the pyramid.
Clermount acted as sole financial advisor to SOLARKIOSK in the context of their equity raising.
Investment led by Investec
Mobisol completes the largest equity raising in the off-grid solar sector so far
Investec Asset Management, through its African private equity capability, has acquired a significant shareholding in Mobisol, a leading and rapidly-growing provider of off-grid solar home systems (SHS) in Africa in the biggest yet round of equity financing for the off-grid solar industry.
Mobisol, based in Berlin, makes rooftop solar systems that generate electricity in places that aren’t connected to the power grid. Their largest 200W product can power lights, mobile phones, a radio, a small TV and refrigerator. The company has 60,000 customers in Tanzania and Rwanda, and recently expanded to Kenya. It’s grown 80 percent year on year in 2016 and plans to move into Uganda and Nigeria in the next two years while continuing to scale in its existing markets.
A three-year payment plan makes the systems highly affordable while a significant proportion of customers are also able to generate income from their SHS, for example by providing a mobile phone charging service or by running productive electrical equipment in businesses, such as hair clippers in barber shops. The use of innovative mobile technology such as mobile money, allows customer payments and remote system monitoring to be carried out in a cost and time-efficient manner.
The off-grid solar industry emerged from non-existence a decade ago to a market worth about $700 million in 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Pay-as-you go solar companies have mostly received investments from impact or strategic investors so far. Mobisol’s round with Investec breaks this mold, bringing in a private equity player and signaling that the sector is changing from impact-driven to a purely commercial opportunity.
Clermount acted as sole financial advisor to Mobisol in this transaction.