Renewable energy startup, Rensource, has completed a $20m funding round to boost its capacity to provide technology-enabled power solutions in Nigeria.
Rensource builds and operates off-grid solar technologies for marketplaces, serving over thirty-thousand SMEs. Since launching commercially in 2016, it has deployed operations in seven clusters across six states in Nigeria – Lagos, Kano, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Edo.
Ademola Adesina, Rensource founder and CEO, said the company’s focus is “on the millions of small-businesses that drive our economy.”
Nigeria has endemic power problems that limit productivity and innovation. In 2019 alone, the national grid has collapsed at least 11 times, even as power generation continues to lag in comparison to national demand. Nigeria only has 12 gigawatts of installed grid capacity, compared to 50 gigawatts in South Africa, a country with about 150 million fewer people.
With its solar hybrid micro-utilities, Rensource aims to localize energy generation, distribution, and enhance customer service to communities it serves.
Service expansion is a key focus of Rensource’s plans. It hopes to direct its new funding towards breaking into offline to online (O2O) commerce – the process of drawing customers from online channels to visit and make purchases in physical stores. It will do this by launching “Spaces O2O”, a B2B platform that offers tech-enabled value-added services to SMEs already using its energy solutions.
“Our push into O2O is a natural step that leverages our existing infrastructure to further empower the merchants we serve,” Adesina said. “We aim to connect over one-million merchants in the next 5 years.”
CRE Venture Capital and the Omidyar Network, two of Rensource’s existing investors, co-led the round. In a year where most investors have focused on fintech as the exciting sector, $20m is a huge raise for a Nigerian renewable energy company.
It could be because Rensource’s ambition is “a bold and worthwhile undertaking that is creating value for all stakeholders,” according to Pardon Makumbe, co-founder and managing partner of CRE Venture Capital. Jonathan Kirschner of Omidyar Network calls Adesina, the Rensource founder, a “true renewable energy revolutionary.”
Rensource’s claims to have saved 76,575 litres of fuel and 179.800 metric tons of CO2 emissions may be putting it in good stead with the environmentally-conscious. Inspired Evolution, one of the participants in this raise, has a portfolio comprised of mostly African energy startups. EDP Renewables, an American renewable energy company, also participated.
Others include Proparco (owned by the French Development Agency), I&P, Sin Capital and Yuzura Honda.