GAIA, a francophone investment enterprise fund announced their investment in Oolu and Y Combinator affiliate. The investment is part of a Series B round of funding that will end in 2019. Oolu is a West African company located in Senegal. Y Combinator affiliate is amongst the fastest growing solar firms in West Africa. Investment of GAIA in the two startups will strengthen Oolu’s leading position in the market. This is mainly in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Senegal.
The funding will offer Oolu a platform to develop on it robust business infrastructure using investment in its software capability and IT system. It will also provide an additional working capital to support the growing needs of the business. The funding will help the startup to increase its expansion plans in the region to get into the untapped markets across the region. GAIA majors on renewable energy and it have a strong track record in the solar energy ecosystem. It has supported many SMEs, infrastructure projects and startups since its launch in 2016. The enterprise has previously invested in solar firms from Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Cameroon.
Since its launch in 2015, the Senegal based startup has since been a force to reckon. The startup has managed to sell more than 34K solar home systems in less than three years of its operations. It has done that to rural clients in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal. The company has a total of 130 employees working on a full-time basis and a management team located in Dakar Senegal. This makes it be amongst the most experienced startup in West Africa as far as solar power is concerned. The startup finished its Series A funding on October 2017 facilitated by Persistent Energy Capital (PEC). Both GAIA and PEC are committed to supporting Oolu in more rounds of fundraising and in promoting strategic goals. According to the GAIA’s investment manager Guilhem Dupuy, GAIA has been keeping track of Oolu for quite a while now. They are happy to announce an investment in one of the promising solar startups of solar hubs in West Africa. He added that Oolu’s success has been due to world-class customer support and lean operations. This gives GAIA confident that the startup will successfully expand into the West African markets. Oolu’s CEO and co-founder Dan Rose said that they are overwhelmed to add GAIA as their investment partner. According to him, Oolu has always been selective about who is qualified to join its strong base of investors that it already has. He added that looking at the GAIA’s strong presence in Francophone West Africa, its track record on solar energy and its quench to get people out of energy challenge. It is evident that the partnership is of great help.
According to co-founder and chief business development officer at Oolu, ensuring the environmental and social impact is significant both GAIA and Oolu. He added that they are looking forward to the partnership and working on their vision of growing into the financial service and energy provider to many people in the developing countries. French-based venture GAIA Impact Fund is an initiative of a group of entrepreneurs with the same vision.