Persistent Initiates a Partnership with Ecobodaa, E-mobility Pioneer in Kenya

April 20, 2021 news category

Today Persistent announces a strategic venture building investment and partnership with Ecobodaa, a pioneer e-mobility startup, leading the revolution of the electric motorbike taxi (bodaboda) in Kenya.

Founded in 2020 by two Kenyan engineers, Kim Chepkoit and Steve Juma, Ecobodaa aims to provide more affordable, safer, connected and environmentally-friendly means of transportation for commuters in African cities. It works on a rent-to-own model so that its riders can eventually own the electric-powered motorcycles.

Ecobodaa’s electric motorcycles are designed and assembled in Nairobi. The company propels every part of the customer experience, from motorcycle design, maintenance, and revenue collection, to battery swaps. The connected e-bodaboda is equipped with sensors that collect data needed to better serve the riders and for continuous improvement of their product offerings. The swappable battery technology and the high efficiency electric motor reduces the overall cost of maintenance, with large savings for the motorbike owner.

Ecobodaa is Persistent’s second investment in electric transportation and the first one on road e-mobility, following its co-launch of ASOBO, which offers electric motor boats on Lake Victoria. Persistent’s deep industry and geographic expertise in renewable energy in Africa allows the company to lead innovation and open new markets, creating new opportunities in electric transportation such as the startup Ecobodaa, with strong social and environmental impact.

Persistent’s venture building investment approach includes technical and financial advisory support to Ecobodaa, with hands-on engagement and deep operational knowledge to ensure long term success. Ecobodaa’s leading position in electric motorbikes in Kenya, supported by its partnership with Persistent, makes it well positioned for rapid growth.

Speaking about Ecobodaa, Persistent’s Chief Venture Builder Mia von Koschitzky-Kimani said, “We are very excited to support Kim, Steve and the Ecobodaa team in creating a leading e-mobility business in Kenya. We were impressed with the team’s hard work, local knowledge, and achievements so far. We believe that Kenya’s transport electrification is on the verge of a tremendous growth opportunity, thanks to a combination of strong green energy potential, large bodaboda sector, high number of people impacted by access to or earnings from bodaboda’s, and improving cost of technology. Persistent is pleased to catalyze one of the most promising companies in the sector.”

Ecobodaa CEO Kim Chepkoit said, “Persistent has already proven to be a great partner to us. They moved quickly and methodically to bring fresh capital and immediately were on the ground in Kenya, helping us build our business with their strong experience building innovative startups. They complement our skillset, provide insights and add real value. We are excited about continuing to grow with their collaboration.”

After agriculture, the motorcycle taxi industry is the second biggest employer of youth in East Africa, but it is also the biggest contributor of CO2 emissions in the transport sector. At the same time Kenya is producing (largely green) excess electricity which is not consumed. Not only will Ecobodaa’s electric bikes, which have zero direct emissions, contribute to the air quality and climate change mitigation, but they will also serve as a better alternative for taxi drivers, who currently rent their motorbikes at high rates, ensuring significant savings and enabling youth to obtain their own vehicles, thus contributing to reduce unemployment in Kenya.

Persistent believes that many companies like Ecobodaa need to be started in order to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the next 10 years. Persistent’s strategy of providing a unique combination of early stage capital and extensive operational and strategic support to exceptional entrepreneurs, gives it a unique position in the UN SDG ecosystem.

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