Kenyan microgrid provider Powerhive raises $20m funding round

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Kenyan energy solutions provider Powerhive, which has operated rural microgrids in the country since 2012, has closed a US$20 million Series A financing round, which will support its expansion into new markets in Africa and Asia-­Pacific.

Powerhive ended last year by receiving an US$11 million equity investment in its flagship project, while earlier in 2015 it became the first company in Kenya’s history to be granted a utility concession to generate, distribute and sell electricity to the public.

The company leverages its proprietary technology platform to develop and operate portfolios of renewable microgrids that supply affordable, reliable, and productive electricity to off-­grid communities in emerging markets.

The Series A round is led by San Francisco-based VC firm Prelude Ventures, and also includes participation from Caterpillar Ventures, Total Energy Ventures, Tao Capital Partners, Pi Investments, and other private investors.

“We’re thrilled to be working with such a diverse and well­-respected investor base,” said Powerhive chief executive officer (CEO) Christopher Hornor.

“Each investor brings unique expertise and experience, which will prove invaluable as we advance our mission to provide clean energy access to millions of people around the globe.”

Prelude Ventures managing director Tim Woodward said Powerhive had developed a unique platform and business model to address one of the fastest growing electricity markets in the next decade -­ energy access in emerging markets.

“Bringing sustainable and scalable electricity to these communities will be life changing for millions of people,” he said. “We’re very excited about partnering with the company, a global investor syndicate and partners like Enel to scale the Powerhive opportunity.”

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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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