Persistent Energy Capital LLC has announced a strategic investment and partnership with Zonful Energy, Zimbabwe’s fastest growing off-grid energy company. The partnership between Zonful and Persistent includes technical and advisory support in finance, financial management and IT. This will strengthen the company’s impact on the whole of Africa through investment in startups that focus on micro-grids, and grid-connected solar.
Persistent Energy Capital LLC is a principal investment firm which has invested in more than four Afrocentric startups that revolve around energy and solar power in recent years. The deal will see one of Persistent’s partner companies, Catalyst work with Zonful to build its IT infrastructure to support the company’s ambitious growth plans.
“We are very excited to support William Ponela (Zonful CEO) and the Zonful team in creating the leading off-grid energy business in Zimbabwe. We are impressed with their hard work and achievements. We believe Zimbabwe is on the verge of tremendous growth. Persistent is pleased to be able to jump in as one of the earliest new investors in Zimbabwe to catalyze one of the most promising companies we have seen,” said Rodrigo Weiss, Persistent Partner after the announcement was made.
The off-grid solar industry has boomed in Africa due to an incessant power failure which has seen millions of people disconnected from the electricity grid. The sector since coming to the spotlight has attracted the attention of foreign investors who see a future in the sector by investing millions of dollars into it. As a matter of fact, it has seen more than US$360 million in investments across the continent in the past five years and continues to grow rapidly due to a drop in component and storage prices.
Zonful Energy which is a brainchild of William Ponela was launched in 2014 with a vision to provide a solution to millions of Zimbabweans living without electricity. With its headquarters in Harare, the country’s capital, the company is currently selling throughout rural Zimbabwe. In 2017, it sold and installed over 5,000 solar home systems in Zimbabwe and plans to reach 25,000 customers (impacting the livelihoods of 125,000 people) by the end of 2018.
“Persistent has already proven to be a great partner to us. They moved quickly and methodically to bring fresh capital and immediately were on the ground in Zimbabwe helping us build our business. We are excited about continuing to grow with their collaboration,” said William Ponela, Zonful CEO, while reacting to new development.
Zonful’s impact across Zimbabwe has grown over the years with an eye on future expansion. Zonful has been able to unlock a matching AECF grant and begin a major expansion with Persistent’s investment. No doubt, Zonful’s leading position in off-grid energy in Zimbabwe, supported by its partnership with Persistent, makes it well positioned for rapid growth.
With operational offices in Europe, Africa and America (Lagos, New York and Zurich respectively), Persistent continues to provide deep operational and strategic support to the exceptional entrepreneurs across the globe. The company also generates attractive financial returns and creates a lasting social and environmental impact.