Home » Meet Mike Heyink, South African entrepreneur who raised $23 million for his startup this year

Meet Mike Heyink, South African entrepreneur who raised $23 million for his startup this year

by Yusuf Abdulfatai

Michael “Mike” Heyink, a South African entrepreneur who is delivering life-changing tech products to low-income households in Africa through Yellow, is one of the few African startup founders who have secured multimillion-dollar funding for their companies.

Heyink worked as a private equity analyst at Metier, a leading private equity fund manager with more than $100 million in renewable energy assets under management across Africa before co-founding Yellow in 2018 with Maya Stewart.

His background in deal origination, evaluation, and execution, as well as portfolio management, particularly with a focus on renewable energy assets in Africa, has aided him in growing Yellow into a leading startup charged with delivering life-changing technology to low-income households in Africa.

Yellow has provided pay-as-you-go power to 30,000 homes in Malawi and Uganda, increasing revenue from $1 million in 2019 to $16 million in 2021 in line with his commitment to providing electricity, financial services, and connectivity to people living in underserved communities.

This outstanding performance aided the startup in obtaining $23 million in debt financing to expand both its reach and operations as it prepares to transition from energy provision to delivering asset-backed finance to households in underserved areas lacking access to electricity, financial services, and connectivity.

As part of its strategy to extend its reach in Africa beyond energy provision and thrive in more verticals and geographies, the funding will also allow it to increase its footprint to more than 100,000 customers in Malawi and Uganda.

Heyink said that when discussing the opportunities in Africa, it is crucial to understand that the continent is moving at a different rate than the rest of the world. As Internet access continues to advance on the continent, it is likely that electricity will follow suit.

Given the high costs of supplying the population with grid electricity, he thinks that investments in renewable energy should be made on the continent as part of the effort to generate and store energy in a clean and efficient manner.

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