Kenya’s SunCulture Closes Investment Round Led by EDF Group

Published Jul. 30, 2018

By Nzekwe Henry for WeeTracker

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Kenyan-based technology company, SunCulture, has announced the closing of an investment round with the EDF Group.

Regarded as one of the pioneers of commercial solar-powered irrigation in Africa, SunCulture is a technology company that makes smallholder farming households more productive in an affordable and environmentally-friendly way by making solar-powered water pumps available at affordable rates, coupled with the provision of customized irrigation systems which incorporate ongoing support and financing.

With the latest investment round, EDF now joins the likes of Energy Access Ventures and Partners Group, who are amongst the Kenyan startup’s existing institutional investors. As an integrated electricity company that incorporates all the aspects of the business from generation and transmission to distribution, energy supply, trading, and energy services, the EDF Group is regarded as a significant player in the area of energy transition. The group also lays claim to having provided electricity to more than 500,000 people in Africa over the course of the last fifty years.

As spelled out in a press statement issued by Kenyan startup, the recent development which has culminated in the closing of the latest investment round, will see SunCulture benefit from EDF’s experience and wealth of expertise in the area of sales and installation of off-grid solutions earmarked for domestic users, as well as its accumulated knowledge of market trends in both Central and West African markets. The investment round is also expected to support efforts geared toward setting up financing mediums designed to assist smallholder farmers in the procurement of these solar irrigation solutions via SunCulture’s Pay-As-You-Grow feature.

On the backs of the development, Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture’s CEO and Co-Founder, is quoted as saying; “EDF’s commitment to partnering with local companies to create lasting impact represents an important shift in the way multinationals are doing business in Africa.” He also expressed his delight at the partnership while remarking that it affords SunCulture the opportunity to work with a true ‘powerhouse’ towards ‘increasing rural household productivity across the continent.’

With the partnership, SunCulture is poised to provide EDF the pathway into the East African market and the potentials therein. The move should see the energy company expand the impact and reach of its off-grid solutions across the continent, as it will be fancying the prospect of leveraging SunCulture’s seasoned understanding of the needs of the smallholder farmers. The data provided by the Kenyan enterprise is expected to prove vital in EDF’s bid to develop and further its off-grid offerings into the agricultural space. Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal are amongst countries where EDF is known to be already doing business and selling off-grid household technologies.

“We are proud to invest in a technology company that brings to African smallholder farmers genuinely innovative solutions transforming their lives and fostering economic development in African countries,” said Marianne Laigneau, Senior Executive Vice-President in charge of the International Division at EDF. She also highlighted the importance of the partnership in the creation of a new and up-and-coming line of off-grid offerings, while reiterating the commitment of the energy company to supporting SunCulture’s expansion plans within Kenya and beyond.

Andrew Reicher, SunCulture’s Board Chair adds: “EDF’s investment will finance SunCulture’s plans to scale up and reach millions of customers by continent-wide distribution and introduction of credit. EDF brings much more than just money, though. A shared philosophy and commitment to work closely and cooperatively together, access to deep know-how within EDF, and the opening to us of their extensive network of contacts, will all significantly increase the probability of success for SunCulture.”

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