HomeIndustry SectorsBusiness and marketsInvestment opportunity for Zembo to scale its e-mobility startup in Uganda

Investment opportunity for Zembo to scale its e-mobility startup in Uganda

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), InfraCo, DOB Equity and Mobility 54 Investment SAS are backing e-mobility startup Zembo by committing $3,4 million. This investment will go a long way toward growing the company’s electric motorcycle business in Kampala, Uganda.  

Zembo provides affordable electric motorcycles and battery-as-a-service for motorcycle taxi drivers in Africa, recharging them at solar battery swap stations. Zembo enables drivers to buy electric motorcycle taxis (boda bodas) or to pay for them on a lease-to-own basis. The investment will enable the company to grow the number of electric motorcycles on the road by approximately 2,000 and will support development of an additional 60 Zembo charging and battery swapping stations across the city.

“We’re excited to partner with impact-focused institutions like InfraCo Africa, DOB Equity and Mobility 54 to continue developing electric boda bodas and charging stations for our customers. Zembo’s mission to improve incomes for Uganda’s boda boda riders while cutting air pollution is shared by our supporters and is a driving force for this partnership. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers and making sustainable mobility a reality in Uganda,” said Étienne Saint-Sermin, co-founder of Zembo.

Increasing the number of electric motorcycle taxis on Kampala’s roads, Zembo’s model means that drivers do not need to buy or own batteries or wait for them to be charge. They can simply swap a discharged battery for a fully charged one at a Zembo’s battery swap station and continue their journey. Uganda’s national grid is fuelled by 92% renewable energy and the addition of off-grid solar PV charging stations will also ensure that vehicles are truly reducing emissions.

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Private equity Dutch investment firm DOB, which has offices in Nairobi, is excited to support innovative businesses in the region. Co-CEO, Saskia van der Mast, DOB co-CEO: “Zembo is offering lower emission and cheaper transport solution to meet the growing demand for urban transportation. With an ambition to invest more in Uganda as well as in companies with a strong environmental angle, DOB is excited to partner with Zembo and work together with InfraCo Africa and Mobility 54 to scale the electric mobility industry on the continent.”

The new investment is expected to support Zembo’s growth whilst embedding high standards of health and safety and business development to enable the company to scale and attract further private sector investment in the future. As part of global efforts to achieve net zero emissions Zembo’s model has considerable potential for replication in other African cities.

Mobility 54 a proudly African Corporate venture capital under Toyota Tsusho Corp and CFAO group primarily dedicated to growing mobility in Africa. Mobility 54 aims to solve the social and industrial challenges of Africa.

Takeshi Watanabe of Mobility 54: “It is great to have InfraCo Africa on board as an anchor investor and co-developer committed to Zembo’s growth in Uganda. We believe that the Zembo’s zero emission motorcycles as well as carbon-free charging swap stations are tremendously contributing to the carbon neutrality of Uganda where air pollution is deemed to be one of the worst levels in Africa.”

He also commented on how Zembo’s e-motorcycles are improving the income of the boda boda drivers through lower fuel and maintenance costs than conventional combustion engines.

During the recent Smarter Mobility Africa conference a case study revealed how the e-motorcycle revolution is changing the landscape of transport across Africa.