Accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles across Kenya, BasiGo has closed a $4,300,000 seed funding round, including $930,000 raised during the pre-seed round late last year.
BasiGo will leverage the capital to set up an assembly plant in Nairobi and launch the sales and delivery of its electric buses. The company has already set up a charging and servicing depot adjacent to Kenya’s main airport, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the capital, Nairobi and has imported two electric buses for the pilot programme.
The round, which included participation from a number of existing and new Silicon Valley investors, such as Moxxie Ventures, Nimble Partners, Spring Ventures, Climate Capital and Third Derivative, was led by Novastar Ventures.
Months after setting up operations in East Africa’s biggest economy, to provide clean-energy mass transit vehicles in a country that is heavily-reliant on fossil-fuel buses, BasiGo’s round comes as a green light to facilitating the achievement of sustainability across the country.
Founded by the company’s CEO, Jit Bhattacharya and Jonathan Green, the CFO, BasiGo is operated by individuals with experience in the sector.
Bhattacharya was initially a technology leader in rechargeable (lithium-ion) batteries for over 12 years. He has held executive positions in various companies, including at Mission Motors in Silicon Valley, Project Titan — the secret electric car project by Apple Inc. and at Fenix International, an off-grid home solar system company. Green has also spent the last 15 years working with different companies to deliver renewable energy technologies to users across Africa.
BasiGo plans to supply over 1,000 mass transit electric buses to transport operators in Nairobi over the next five years. To encourage the uptake of these vehicles, the startup will extend pay-as-you-drive credit options to drivers, and provide maintenance and charging services.
The pilot programme is scheduled to begin next month and the startup will join Swedish-Kenyan EV startup Opibus, whose inaugural locally manufactured electric bus hit Kenya’s roads three weeks ago. Both companies have set their eyes on the mass transit sector, which is slowly shifting to clean-energy options.
BasiGo will locally assemble its EV buses — which will come in 25- and 36-seater capacities, with a range of about 250 kilometers — using parts sourced from China’s EV maker BYD Automotive.