Wassha, power supplier for off-grid Africa, snags $9M from Daikin, Yamaha Motor, others

Image credit: Wassha

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Wassha, developing a prepaid solar power delivery service to off-grid areas in rural Africa by networking kiosk vendors under the same name, announced today that it has raised 1.01 billion yen (about $9.2 million) in a series B round.

Participating investors are Daikin Industries (TSE:6367), Yamaha Motor (TSE:7272), Mistletoe, Mizuho Capital in addition to existing investors such as The University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC) and Marubeni (TSE:8002). The latest round brought their total funding sum up to about 2.4 billion yen (about $22 million).

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Wassha installs solar panels or battery chargers, then provides LED lanterns, radios, tablets to kiosk operators; the kiosks rent these out to villagers and collect fees from them for charging power at the kiosks. The owners settle the electricity bills from smartphones and power charging boxes for the appliances, not to mention earning at each kiosk by charging money for use of mobile phones.

Among the investors participating investors, Wassha aims to develop new business with Daikin Industries, Yamaha Motor, and Mistletoe. We were told that Wassha will unveil details on but the potential joint projects with these investors.

However, it seems like the startup aims to work with Daikin to establish a cold chain, a temperature-controlled food distribution network leveraging air conditioning and refrigeration facilities, and also work with Yamaha Motor to establish a motorcycle-based delivery network connecting the kiosks participating in the Wassha network. Kindly think a somewhat another version of Zipline (drone-based logistics platform in Africa) plus NinjaCart (fresh foods marketing platform in India).

Mistletoe has invested in Zipline and NinjaCart in addition to Agribuddy (microfinance platform for farmers in Southeast Asia) and FOMM (manufacturing floatable electric vehicles). Leveraging Wassha’s kiosk network, Mistletoe is expected to help their portfolio companies expand their solution into the African market.

Having rolled out their service in Tanzania, Wassha is planning to expand into Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Ethiopia going forward. While keeping power delivery service in the off-grid area as a their core business, they will cultivate new businesses such as food distribution and marketplace aiming to help farmers get more income, which may lead to gaining the need of power delivery service users.