Rwandan e-bike startup Ampersand banks $19.5m funding

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The Kigali-based electric transport energy company Ampersand has raised US$19.5 million in equity and debt funding to help it continue to expand operations.

Formed in 2016, Ampersand assembles and finances electric motorcycles that cost less to buy and operate, and perform better than the five million petrol motorcycle taxis in use across East Africa.

Since its commercial launch in May 2019, Ampersand’s fleet has grown to over 1,000 in size, and is expected to exceed 10,000 by late 2024. 

Its US$19.5 million funding round was led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF), and joined by Acumen and Hard Edged Hope Fund. Other investors were Alphamundi VC, Societe Petrolieres du Rwanda, TotalEnergies, EIF and Beyond Capital Ventures. It also includes a US$7.5 million debt facility from Cygnum Capital’s Africa Go Green Fund. 

“Our made-in-Africa battery fleet already leads the world in cost per km and uptime for light-electric vehicles. Our technology continues to advance, alongside the now rapid march of government e-mobility policies across Africa and removal of fuel subsidies, our addressable market continues to grow. With this funding, we are on track to deliver thousands more electric motorcycles in the coming months,” said Josh Whale, CEO and founder of Ampersand. 

“The strong support of both existing and new investors, despite the current challenging fundraising environment, reflects their confidence in our business model, technology, customer centric approach, strong unit economics and competitive advantage. It also reflects our investors’ commitment to support the green transition in Africa. We are very pleased by the trust placed in us by our growing investor base and look forward to continuing to partner with them to meet the fast-growing demand for electric mobility on the continent.”

“We are delighted to provide continued support to Ampersand as it transitions to a growth-stage company and leads the development of electric transportation in East Africa,” said James Everett, managing partner of Ecosystem Integrity Fund.

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