Home » Startup led by Kenya-born American entrepreneur secures $40 million to build Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest mini-grid

Startup led by Kenya-born American entrepreneur secures $40 million to build Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest mini-grid

by Omokolade Ajayi
Jonathan Shaw

Kenya-born American entrepreneur Jonathan Shaw has led his renewable energy startup Nuru to raise an impressive $40 million in its Series-B equity funding round.

The funding, led by the International Finance Corporation, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Renewable Energy Performance Platform, Proparco, and E3 Capital, solidifies Nuru’s position as one of Africa’s pioneering renewable energy-powered micro-grid companies.

This will enable Nuru, under the leadership of Jonathan Shaw, a Kenya-born American entrepreneur who is also the founder of Cafe Kivu and other entrepreneurial projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to undertake ambitious new projects, including the construction of the largest mini-grid in Sub-Saharan Africa.

With plans to secure an additional $28 million in project finance by the end of the month, Nuru aims to expand its renewable energy reach further and transform lives across the DRC.

The $40 million in funding will be utilized to establish three transformative projects in Goma, Kindu, and Bunia, collectively boasting a capacity of 13.7 MWp. Of particular significance is the Bunia site, which will become the largest off-grid solar hybrid metro grid in Sub-Saharan Africa.

By combining solar power and batteries, the new transformational projects will build upon Nuru’s existing operating assets in four other cities in eastern DRC.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the recent developments, Shaw, the CEO of Nuru, stated: “We are thrilled to partner with such a dynamic group of investors who are keen to drive our vision of expanding energy access and transforming 5 million lives in the DRC. 

“Closing the Series B is a significant milestone in Nuru’s journey but also demonstrates the viability of the metrogrid model in the distributed energy sector in Africa,” he said.

Founded in 2015 by Shaw, Nuru has made significant strides in the renewable energy sector. Under Shaw’s leadership, the company constructed the DRC’s first mini-grid in 2017, setting the stage for future achievements.

Three years later, Nuru accomplished another milestone by launching a 1.3-megawatt facility in the city of Goma, establishing itself as the largest mini-grid in Sub-Saharan Africa without a connection to a national grid.

As Nuru secures substantial funding and plans to expand its operations, it is poised to make an impact on energy access and socio-economic development in the DRC. 

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