Zimbabwean solar startup Zonful secures funding round


Zimbabwean off-grid solar startup Zonful Energy has secured strategic investment from Persistent Energy Capital to help it expand operations and build out its technology.

Launched in 2014 by founder William Ponela, Zonful Energy has sold and installed over 5,000 solar home systems in Zimbabwe, and plans to reach 25,000 customers by the end of 2018.

With the investment from Persistent, which invests in and builds impact ventures in underserved markets, Zonful has been able to unlock a matching AECF grant and begin a major expansion.

The partnership includes Persistent’s technical and advisory support in finance, financial management and IT, with Persistent’s partner company Catalyst working with Zonful to build its IT infrastructure to support the company’s growth plans.

“Persistent has already proven to be a great partner to us. They moved quickly and methodically to bring fresh capital and immediately were on the ground in Zimbabwe helping us build our business. We are excited about continuing to grow with their collaboration,” Ponela said.

Persistent partner Rodrigo Weiss said his company was excited to support Ponela and the Zonful team in creating the leading off-grid energy business in Zimbabwe.

“We are impressed with their hard work and achievements. We believe Zimbabwe is on the verge of tremendous growth. Persistent is pleased to be able to jump in as one of the earliest new investors in Zimbabwe to catalyse one of the most promising companies we have seen,” 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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