news - FMO backs a venture capital firm that improves access to electricty for low-income people in Africa


FMO backs a venture capital firm that improves access to electricty for low-income people in Africa

February 19, 2018

EAV invests in companies which bring innovative technologies and business models across the electricity value chain thereby improving productivity for industry and access for consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

This includes companies involved in solar home systems  mini-grids and in the ‘commercial & industrial’ (C&I) solar space as well as companies providing ancillary services (e.g. internet connectivity) enabled by access to electricity and industry enablers (e.g. smart metering). . EAV works closely with its portfolio companies to help them to grow their businesses by supporting deployment plans, building stellar teams on the ground and introducing customers and strategic partners.

“At FMO we are excited to participate in EAV Fund I", says Marieke Roestenberg, FMO’s Senior Investment Officer Private Equity Energy. "We believe EAV represents a unique opportunity to invest in an existing operational team with a thorough understanding of the energy market in Sub-Saharan Africa combined with solid expertise in early-stage investing. This investment fits with FMO’s strategic agenda in terms of promoting renewable energy, inclusive growth and innovation. At the same time, it will allow FMO to gain exposure to and improve our understanding of the dynamic and rapidly expanding energy access market. Not only will the fund aim to provide improved access to energy to several million underserved consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa, but it is also actively exploring innovative businesses promoting the productive use of solar energy and other transformational business models. We are proud to have become part of this venture and look forward to a long-lasting partnership with the EAV team.”

FMO’s commitment in the fund was financed through MASSIF and the Access to Energy Fund, two government funds managed by FMO. EAV neatly fits the profile of the two funds, that support innovations that provide basic goods and services (MASSIF) and access to energy in Sub-Saharan Africa (AEF). A look at some of the companies in the portfolio of EAV illustrates  this fit: d.light, Off-Grid Electric and PEG are among the frontrunners in the industry providing solar home systems to the bottom of the pyramid in a broad range of geographies, while PAYGO provides clean cooking solutions for East-African families. With its investments in SunCulture and Inspirafarms, EAV also advances the use of solar power for a range of agricultural processes.

Michael Gera, Managing Partner at EAV, stated: “We have developed an excellent relationship with FMO and are delighted to welcome them aboard." Michael continues: "We greatly look forward to working with them along with our current first-class investors, which include CDC, Proparco, EIB and Schneider Electric. Holding a second closing at this point in a fund’s life is somewhat exceptional and represents a strong endorsement of EAV’s strategy and track record. EAV Fund I's enhanced size will enable us to strengthen the support we give to our portfolio companies and to have additional reserves for the ones that continue to show long-term promise.”

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