Kenyan EV startup Roam secures $24m to scale production

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Kenyan EV startup Roam secures $24m to scale production

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Roam, a Kenya-based electric vehicle company has raised $24 million in equity and debt to expand local manufacturing capabilities in Kenya, scale up production at its new 10,000 sqm Roam Park facility, invest in research and tooling for cost efficiencies, and streamline local and global supply chain networks.

The $14 million Series A funding round was led by Equator Africa and participation from At One Ventures, TES Ventures, Renew Capital, The World We Want, and One Small Planet, among other prominent private and institutional investors. The $10 million debt facility was provided by the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

The funding is significant and comes at a time when attention is shifting to electric vehicles as countries around the world make efforts to make the environment safer. EV sales are projected to reach 16.7 million in 2024, representing a 20% increase from the previous year, according to estimates from the BloombergNEF. Roam which designs, develops, and deploys electric motorcycles and buses said it has managed to capture or mitigate over 120,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. This is primarily the inspiration for investors like DFC in Roam. James Polan, Vice President of the Office of Development Credit at DFC said the debt facility to Roam aligns with its goals for a cleaner future.

But transitioning to electric vehicles isn’t cheap with the price of batteries and building infrastructure for rollout making the cost for individual owners very expensive. The Kenyan government, however, is undeterred, as they have set a 5% target for new vehicles to be electric by the end of 2025. Roam and its rival BasiGo are at the forefront of ensuring the target is achieved by providing cheaper options for consumers in the country.

Roam offers riders in the East African country payment flexibility and the option of battery ownership. This lets users charge their batteries at a standard household outlet and significantly reduces the cost of operations while increasing the ability to travel longer distances.

“As Africa embraces the move toward electric vehicle technology, we are proud of our impact on the environment and livelihoods across Kenya and the wider continent. This funding is a critical step for Roam to achieve our strategic objectives in scaling up and increasing utility to our customers,” said Rajal Upadhyaya, chief financial officer of Roam.

In line with the expansion, Roam will increase the utility of its motorcycles to riders through the deployment of Roam Hub stations. These are multiple open-architecture electric motorcycle charging stations that offer a wide array of after-sales services including the option to rent batteries for a flexible period.

“At Equator, we are committed to building a future with efficient, accessible, and sustainable mobility. Roam’s innovative electric mobility platform is at the forefront of this transformation, and we are proud to provide catalytic funding that will enable Roam to build a cleaner, more equitable future for African cities,” said Nijhad Jamal, partner at Equator.

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