Rwandan electric motorcycle startup Ampersand raises $3.5m funding

Rwandan electric motorcycle startup Ampersand raises $3.5m funding

Rwandan electric motorcycle company Ampersand has secured a US$3.5 million investment from the Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) in order to scale its operations.

Headquartered in Kigali, Ampersand assembles and finances electric motorcycles that are cheaper, cleaner and better performing than the five million petrol motorcycle taxis in use across East Africa. Its vehicles produce at least 75 per cent less carbon than petrol motorcycles and zero tailpipe emissions, and Ampersand also builds and operates a network of battery swap stations.

Since its commercial launch in May 2019, Ampersand’s fleet of 35 drivers and e-motos have  covered over 1.3 million kilometres, and over 7,000 drivers are on its waiting list.

The US$3.5 million investment from EIF will allow Ampersand to rapidly scale its electric motorcycle and swap station network in Rwanda, putting hundreds more e-motos on the road and  dozens more battery swapping stations. It will also enable Ampersand’s expansion beyond Rwanda’s borders, and fuel its research and development arm.

“We’re thrilled to have EIF on board for this historic investment. We now have the momentum to  scale our operations to electrify all of East Africa’s five million taxi motorcycles by 2030. EIF’s support further dispels the myth that electric transport will happen in rich nations first and trickle down to developing countries later, second-hand,” said Josh Whale, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Ampersand.

“We have confidence in the Ampersand team, and we believe the time is right,” said James  Everett, managing partner of EIF. “We are very excited to partner with Ampersand as the company  scales in Rwanda and expands across East Africa. We believe that electrifying two and three wheeled vehicles in developing countries represents one of the low hanging fruits for climate change mitigation globally, and can have a profound positive impact on urban air quality.”

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