Koolboks, the sustainable cooling company providing accessible cold storage solutions to businesses across Africa, has closed a $2.5M Seed funding round, led by Aruwa Capital Management and with participation from Acumen, Blue Earth Capital, All On, GSMA and other investors.
This brings the company’s total investment to-date to $3.5M. Koolboks will deploy the capital to scale its expansion across Nigeria, including building its team to support its growing B2C business and construction of a local assembly facility in the country. The company also opened an affiliate office in Kenya in July, 2022.
Founded in 2018 in France, Koolboks, combines Africa’s abundant supply of the sun with water to create a solution that is able to generate refrigeration for up to four days in the absence of power and sunlight. Through efficiently harnessing natural resources, Koolboks has made it affordable to access continuous refrigeration by integrating a pay-as-you-go technology that enables individuals and small businesses to pay as low as 10 dollars a month to own an offgrid solar refrigerator. The Koolboks unit works as a refrigerator, freezer, or lighting for households and shops. It also comes with 2 LED lighting bulbs and USB ports for charging mobile phones – making the product invaluable to users in off-grid areas. Koolboks currently sells across 16 countries, 13 of them in sub-Saharan Africa*.
Koolboks hopes to help reduce food waste and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions drastically.
The company’s ice thermal refrigeration technology reduces CO2 emissions, displacing the use of diesel, and by incorporating R600a, an environmentally friendly refrigerant. The off-grid refrigeration market is worth $4.4 billion, and is growing at a rate of 7%, according to the Efficiency for Access Coalition. With 770 million people across SSA lacking proper access to electricity, and only 17% having access to refrigeration, Koolboks is striving to close the gap in equitable access to clean, readily available energy.
Commenting on the opportunity to empower more small businesses with access to affordable cold storage solutions, Ayoola Dominic, CEO of Kooboks said, “Poor energy access, high costs of buying and running generators, and the relatively high cost of cooling prevent many African businesses and households from accessing refrigeration when it’s most critically needed. We believe that people can make their livelihoods and feed their families by relying on energy from natural resources – energy from the sun, wind and water that are abundant around us. It’s a win for the people, a win for us, a win for our investors and a win for the planet.
“We are excited to work with some of the world’s leading impact investors as we focus on empowering many more users across more countries in Africa and globally. Importantly for us, we are also appreciative to partner with local impact investors such as Aruwa Capital Management, who understand the demand and market dynamics, having operated across the continent for many years; their experience and network will be invaluable to us as we scale.”
Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Founder at Aruwa Capital Management added, “We have been impressed with Koolboks’s innovative solution which goes far beyond food waste reduction – the team’s laser focus on ensuring clean renewable energy in off-grid areas is crucial to the survival of many small businesses and sectors as well as fostering economic gender equality. Equitable access to clean and reliable energy is key to closing the gender economic gap across rural areas and we are excited to see Koolboks’ expansion continue to make economic equity a reality for millions more women across Africa.”
Millions of people in Africa and other emerging markets experience unreliable power access daily with the national power grid supply being erratic and inconsistent to both rural and urban households and businesses. For some, it is often difficult to conduct and operate activities to earn a living with most turning to small-scale, toxic diesel-fueled generators to provide electricity. Koolboks is striving to enable nations to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 7 and empower businesses across a range of sectors including healthcare, food, hospitality and medicine with its innovative cold storage solutions.
Flutterwave Enables Google Pay For African Businesses ￼
Flutterwave, Africa’s leading payments technology company, has announced Google Pay, a mobile payment service, developed by Google, as a payment method on Flutterwave.
As part of this collaboration, Google Pay will serve as an additional payment option for merchants on Flutterwave for business. This collaboration will offer safe and seamless payments, as well as convenient checkout experiences for customers.
Google Pay is a safe, simple, and helpful way to make contactless payments in store, and also payments in apps and on the web. Users store their cards for Google Pay in Google Wallet, a digital wallet app that is available on supported Android smartphones, tablets or watches.
With this collaboration, Google Pay users in supported countries across the world can pay businesses on Flutterwave across Africa. With an average transaction completion time of 3 minutes, this integration is slated to reduce cart abandonment rate for businesses on Flutterwave.
The founder and CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, said, “The continued and rapid growth of Flutterwave is due to our commitment to building a platform with simplified payments for everyone. The GooglePay payment option will attract more international customers and increase the current success rates for businesses on Flutterwave.
“Integrating with Google pay will allow users across the globe to participate in the booming e-commerce ecosystem in Africa. It will enable us to further fulfill our promise of creating endless possibilities for all,” he added.
MTN Unveils Plans for 2025 African Domination
The Chief Strategy and Transformation of Officer, MTN Group, Mr. Chika Ekeji said MTN plans to become the leading player in the fintech solutions (Momo), digital finance (Ayoba), enterprise services, network as a service (NaaS) and API marketplace (Chenosis) spaces over the next three years.
Ekeji stated this in a presentation made to MTN Media Innovation Programme Fellows who visited the company’s headquarters in Fairlands, Johannesburg, South Africa as part of their study trip to University of Witswatersrand and MTN Group, said MTN intends to connect 100 million mobile money (MoMo) users, 100 million Ayoba users, $0.5 billion enterprise service revenue, become number one Africa’s NaaS platform and API gateway respectively.
On connectivity, “We intend to have 300 million total mobile users, 200 million mobile data users, 10 million home broadband users and $0.5 billion fiber investment. On the financial side, intend to achieve 15 per cent revenue growth par annum, 25 per cent of revenue from platform, Rand 6 billion cost savings and 40 per cent EBITDA margin. Rand 25 billion ARP proceeds, 1.0x holdco leverage, $2 billion capital expenditure per annum maintained and 20 per cent return on equity (ROE),” he said.
Nigerian Active Phones Tops 209m￼
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta disclosed this while delivering the Keynote Address at the dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Media Merit Award, NMMA, to flag-off the commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of NMMA as Africa’s foremost media excellence recognition institution, at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel on Tuesday night.
“This represents a teledensity of 109.47%. Besides, basic Internet subscriptions have also grown from zero in the pre-liberalisation era to over 152 million. It is also gratifying that the broadband subscriptions now stand at 85 million, representing a 44.49% penetration,” Danbatta said.
Dwelling on the topic, “The NCC New Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP) 2021-2025: A Transformation Agenda”,which signposts thedirection of the Nigerian telecom industry in the next five years,Danbatta recalled the trajectory of the evolution of telecoms in Nigeria.
Represented by the Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, the CEO of NCC, he recalled the nation’s showing of a paltry 18,724 telephone lines at independence in 1960 to serve a population of 40 million people, translating to a teledensity of 0.5 at that time.
Today, “the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributed 18.44 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2022. From this figure, telecommunications sector alone contributed 15 per cent,” Danbatta said to place on record the unprecedented contribution of the telecom and ICT industry to GDP.
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