Mobile Power, a Sheffield-based smart battery rental business, has raised £2 million to support its deployment of solar-powered battery charging hubs across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The funding round was led by Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), which is funded by the UK government’s International Climate Finance.
Mobile Power was set up in 2013 to serve the needs of end-users that are underserved by existing rural electrification models in the region.
Currently, the company has operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the poorest countries in the world where most of the population live on less than US$1.25 a day.
Following the successful funding round, the company is now set for rapid expansion, with plans to enter the Nigerian market next year whilst supporting various existing partnership projects in Uganda, Zambia and Gambia.
Through Mobile Power’s innovative rental model, customers are able to rent smart 50Wh lithium-ion batteries at a low cost and in 24-hour increments.
Customers can make payments either in cash or using mobile money, making the service inclusive to those without mobile money or areas with weak phone signal.
The batteries are suitable for lighting, phone charging, fans, TVs and radios and are charged at solar-powered ‘MOPO Hubs’, providing a lower carbon option to other local alternatives, which include diesel generator-powered charging stations and battery-powered torches.
“Providing affordable energy access to some of the world’s poorest communities is a huge challenge for developers, but one that must be overcome if we are to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” said Geoff Sinclair, Managing Director of REPP’s investment manager, Camco Clean Energy.
“Mobile Power’s novel business model provides a scalable solution that, with the support of REPP and the other Series A investors, has great potential for rapid growth and delivering far-reaching impact.”
Prior to the funding round, Mobile Power had raised approximately £1.1 million in equity from early-stage investors, and a further £1.7 million during 2019 in the form of innovation grants and loans.
Chris Longbottom, CEO of Mobile Power, said: “The completion of this Series A fundraise represents a vote of confidence for Mobile Power’s unique approach to energy access, particularly in those markets where traditional approaches are less viable.
“We look forward to scaling up and reaching many more off-grid customers.”