Opibus, Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, has announced it has raised $7.5 million in funding led by Silicon Valley fund At One Ventures. This has been further supported by Factor[e] Ventures and Ambo Ventures managed by former Google and Uber executives.
Opibus is a Swedish-Kenyan technology company that develops, designs and manufactures electric vehicles tailored for the African continent, leading the transition to sustainable transport.
Founded in 2017, it became the first company to deliver locally produced electric motorcycles and vehicles. With nearly 100 employees, Opibus is today the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles in Africa. It has one of the largest fleets of electric motorcycles deployed.
The investment is the largest ever in an electric mobility company in Sub-Saharan Africa and is aimed to scale its operations in electric motorcycle and bus manufacturing.
Opibus, which has existing customers across six countries in Africa, is the leading provider of electric vehicles designed and manufactured locally. Its vision is to create reliable and cost-effective products designed for the pan-African mass market.
With several vehicles in different categories deployed, Opibus has reduced customer CO2 emissions by 94 percent and operational expenditures by more than 60 percent.
The company has a unique approach to both heavy electric vehicles and electric motorcycles. The proprietary powertrain enables existing heavy commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks to be converted to electric. This thereby reduces the cost, resource use and gave the vehicles a second life.
The electric motorcycle is designed and tailored for the local use case. It features a robust frame and dual swappable battery packs. This provides a perfect product-market fit intended to maximise local content.
The closed fundraising consists of $5 million in equity and $2.5 million in additional grants, totalling $7.5 million. The investments will be used to prepare for scale-up and mass manufacturing starting 2022. Africa is one of the fastest-growing transportation markets globally, with a total market potential of $10 billion by 2030, and is largely untapped.
Opibus was founded in 2017 and over the years has developed products in three main segments including electric motorcycles, electric public transport/commercial vehicles and charging and energy solutions. The focus is on creating sustainable ecosystems for mass transport in Africa.
Today, it is the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles in East Africa and was recently featured in National Geographic alongside Volkswagen, Tesla and Rivian. The company is also recognised for having produced the first truly African electric motorcycle.
Filip Gardler, Opibus CEO, said: “We are proud to be backed by globally recognised investors providing a balance between deep-tech and emerging market expertise.
“We have together reached a clear strategic and visionary alignment with the conviction that mass manufacturing of electric mobility solutions in Africa will not only make the products more accessible and affordable, but also lead to one of the largest industrialisation and welfare transitions of the region in modern time.
“The targets and objectives we’ve set for Opibus might seem bold, however, it is a mission that has become more important than ever. We have a responsibility to the coming generations and the earth as a whole.”
Helen Lin, One Ventures principal, said: “Opibus is taking a fundamentals-first approach to delivering a compelling customer value proposition that is tailored for the African market.
“Their vehicles are half the cost compared to second-hand fossil fuel vehicles and perform better in the harsh road conditions. We are excited to be supporting them in their growth phase to achieve true impact at scale.”
Morgan DeFoort, Factor[e] Ventures managing partner, said: “The electric mobility space in Africa represents a huge opportunity. Not only to provide a better service at a lower cost to customers but also to reduce carbon emissions and avoid deadly exposure to particulate pollution on a local level.”