Ugandan electric mobility startup Zembo has secured an investment grant of $3.4 million and plans to use the fund to expand its electric motorcycle company in the country’s capital Kampala. Zembo can be described as the Tesla of motorcycles; it provides electric motorcycles for the African market at low cost and also provides battery swap stations where these electric bikes can be recharged.
The startup started in 2018 and was founded by Daniel Dreher and Etienne Saint-Sernin. Currently, the company has sold or leased 200 electric motorcycles popularly referred to as “boda boda”. It has 20 charging stations of present and carries out at least 10,000 battery swaps in a month.
A funding agreement was signed among Zembo, private infrastructure development group (PIDG) company InfraCo Africa and a consortium of companies that include Toyota Tsusho’s venture capital facility Mobility 54 and Dutch private equity firm DOB Equity.
With the funds, the company plans on increasing the number of its electric motorcycles in circulation. The goal is to increase the number of electric motorcycles on the road by about 2,000. Other plans include increasing the number of available battery swapping outlets throughout the city.
The world is shifting from gas-powered vehicles and electric vehicles are slowly but gradually becoming the next point of call. These vehicles have quite a plethora of benefits, from being environment-friendly to being cost-effective.
Zembo electric motorcycles are either purchased at once or acquired using the lease-to-own option it provides. Africa remains an emerging market for electric mobility options for transportation, and Zembo is one out of the continuously increasing number of companies providing these solutions. Zembo is, therefore, one of the first companies in Africa that is pushing for the global goal of net-zero emissions and are contributing its quota by producing electric motorcycles.
Apart from increasing the number of vehicles it has on the road, Zembo will channel part of the newly-raised fund to grow its operations as well focus its operation on the riders of its electric bikes; ensuring their safety and health. The startup also will use the fund to position itself in a position to attract more investments in the future.
Speaking about the startup, co-CEO of DOB Equity, Saskia van der Mast, said that “Zembo is providing a low-emission and cost-effective mobility option to address the growing need for urban transit. DOB is thrilled to join with Zembo and work with InfraCo Africa and Mobility 54 to develop the electric mobility industry on the continent, with the objective of investing more in Uganda and in firms with strong environmental aspects”.
A media statement from the startup’s co-founder Etienne Saint-Sernin said that “We’re pleased to join with impact-focused institutions like InfraCo Africa, DOB Equity, and Mobility 54 to continue developing electric boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) and charging stations for our consumers.”
He also added that “Our sponsors support Zembo’s objective of boosting earnings for Ugnada’s boda boda riders while reducing air pollution, and that is the driving force behind our relationship. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers and helping Uganda achieve sustainable mobility”.
The company mentioned that its electric motorcycle project aims to make about 2,000 electric motorcycles accessible to people who want to buy by the middle of 2023. The company also has other bigger plans, mostly about a continental expansion, under its sleeves.