Kenyan off-grid solar startup Pawame crowdfunds $543k

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Kenyan off-grid solar energy startup Pawame has raised US$543,000 in debt finance through Sweden-based crowdfunding company TRINE.

Launched in 2016, Pawame is an off-grid home solar company. With its pay-as-you-go (PAYG) Solar Home System, customers can benefit from clean and affordable electricity, whilst also building a credit history that can unlock access to other products and services.

The startup announced in March it had raised US$2 million in funding through Gulf-based investors to help it reach its goal of electrifying 150 million households in Sub-Saharan Africa, and it has now crowdfunded an additional US$543,000 through TRINE.

Launched in February 2015, TRINE connects people with projects in Africa, enabling individuals to invest in solar energy, and giving them the opportunity to earn a return on investment of up to six per cent. You can read a Q&A with founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Sam Manaberi here.

“We have been fortunate to date to attract supportive, visionary equity investors and now for the first time, we have successfully crowdfunded a significant amount of debt finance through Trine, which bodes well for the future,” said Maurice Parets, CEO of Pawame.

To date, Pawame has connected over 4,000 homes to solar power in Kenya. It said its strong proposition and initial success had helped secure the debt funding, which will be used to finance equipment and inventory which in turn will enable further growth and accelerate expansion.

The startup’s chairman and co-founder Alexandre Allegue said debt-based crowdfunding had proven to be a great alternative for Pawme, as it offers more flexibility, lower interest rates and more options to secure resources when compared to a traditional bank loan.

“It is a great way to access financial support and resources outside traditional lending form with like-minded investors aligned to our vision,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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