Home » Startup led by Nairobi-based entrepreneur secures $5-million funding from UK gov’t

Startup led by Nairobi-based entrepreneur secures $5-million funding from UK gov’t

Bhattacharya's venture sparks electric revolution in East Africa

by Omokolade Ajayi
Jit Bhattacharya

BasiGo, a leading Kenyan e-mobility startup led by Nairobi-based entrepreneur Jit Bhattacharya, has secured $5 million in debt funding from British International Investment (BII) — the development finance institution of the UK government — to scale up the local assembly of electric buses in Kenya.

The funding will facilitate the delivery of 100 locally assembled electric buses, setting the record as the first initiative of its kind dedicated to electrifying the public transport sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The $5 million in debt funding from BII comes on the heels of the $1.5-million grant that BasiGo received from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support its pilot program in Kigali, Rwanda.

BasiGo gains momentum: BII backing and 350+ reservations propel Electric bus expansion in Kenya

However, the recent backing from BII — coupled with more than 350 reservations from matatu operators in Nairobi — positions BasiGo to meet the escalating demand for electric buses in Kenya—it is looking to deliver 1,000 locally assembled electric buses in East Africa by 2026.

The support from BII’s Climate Innovation Facility will help in reducing reliance on fossil fuel imports, cutting operating costs for Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators, creating green manufacturing jobs, and positioning Kenya as a global leader in low-carbon public transport. 

Jit Bhattacharya’s venture sparks electric revolution in East Africa

Established in 2021 by Bhattacharya and Jonathan Green, BasiGo seeks to revolutionize Kenya’s public transportation sector by offering a cost-effective electric alternative to diesel. The startup’s approach aligns with the abundance of renewable electricity in Kenya, providing not only an eco-friendly but also a sustainable solution.

In line with its expansion plans, BasiGo has partnered with KCB Group, one of East Africa’s leading lenders. The partnership has led to the launch of a financing scheme facilitating Kenyans’ access to financing options for the purchase of electric public service vehicles.

BasiGo’s electric buses hit 1 million kilometers

BasiGo’s electric buses have already proven their mettle, covering over 1,000,000 kilometers, transporting more than 1.2 million passengers, and mitigating approximately 400 tonnes of CO2 since March 2022.

The first batch of BasiGo’s Electric Buses underwent successful road testing in Kigali in November, with passenger operations on various bus routes set to commence shortly thereafter — this underscores a significant stride toward a cleaner, more sustainable future for public transportation in East Africa.

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