Ampersand, a Rwandan electric motorcycle startup has raised $3.5 million from the Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) to help scale its electric motorcycle and swap station network across Rwanda.
Launched in 2019 with its headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda, Ampersand builds affordable electric vehicles and charging systems for three million motorcycle taxi drivers in East Africa.
In line with its mission to increase drivers’ income and leapfrog Africa towards a zero-carbon future, the company offers drivers motorcycles and energy that cost less to acquire and operate, outperform their current setup in every way, and are electric-powered.
The startup also provides servicing, repairs, and spare parts, and financing drivers rely on to be more operational.
Ampersand’s vehicles are eco-friendly in that they have zero tailpipe emission and produce at least 75% less carbon compared to fuel-powered motorcycles. The company also designs and utilizes a network of battery swap stations enabling drivers to change batteries within a time faster than it would take to refill a tank with petrol.
Since its inception, Ampersand’s fleet of 35 drivers and e-motos has covered over 1.3 million kilometers, and over 7,000 drivers are on its waiting list.
With EIF’s 3.5 million investment- the largest ever e-mobility investment by a venture capital fund in Sub Saharan Africa- the company plans to produce hundreds of more e-motos on the road, and dozens more battery swapping stations.
The recent investment also allows the startup to expand beyond Rwanda’s borders, and also drive the company’s research and development arm, putting Ampersand on track to electrify East Africa’s entire motorcycle taxi fleet by 2030.
“We’re thrilled to have EIF on board for this historic investment. We now have the momentum to scale our operations to electrify all of East Africa’s 5 million taxi motorcycles by 2030.
EIF’s support further dispels the myth that electric transport will happen in rich nations first and trickle down to developing countries later, second-hand,” says Josh Whale, Founder/CEO of Ampersand.
“We have confidence in the Ampersand team, and we believe the time is right,” said James Everett, Managing Partner of EIF.
“We are very excited to partner with Ampersand as the company scales in Rwanda and expands across East Africa. We believe that electrifying 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles in developing countries represents one of the low-hanging fruits for climate change mitigation globally, and can have a profound positive impact on urban air quality,” he added.
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