Powerhive Inc, an energy solutions and technology provider for emerging markets with a presence in Kenya, has announced the closing of a US$9.3m Series B round of funding.

Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Toyota Tsusho), a general trading company and a member of Toyota Group, participated in the round.

Toyota Tsusho participated in the round, with strong support from new investors Kouros, To:org, as well as existing investors including Tao Capital, James Sandler, Prelude Ventures, Caterpillar Ventures, and Total Energy Ventures.

The venture financing will support Powerhive’s growth by reaching 20,000 connections in Kenya where the company has operated rural microgrids since 2012 as Kenya’s first privately licensed electricity utility leveraging its unique development and technology platform.

Leveraging Toyota Tsusho’s expertise and footprint in Africa, the parties will seek collaboration opportunities in new markets in Africa, as well as in ancillary products and services (i.e. electrical mobility products and services, reused batteries, agricultural and industrial materials) to grow with the communities served by Powerhive.

Collaboration between Powerhive and Toyota Tsusho will combine Toyota Tsusho’s depth of experience and global footprint with Powerhive’s pioneering microgrid solutions to advance both companies’ ability to serve energy and services demand growth in emerging markets during the 21st century.

“The combination of Toyota Tsusho’s reach and expertise with Powerhive’s energy services and development platform creates a powerful synergy to solve a great need in underserved regions of Kenya and other parts of Africa,” said Powerhive CEO Christopher Hornor.

“We’re excited to work with Toyota Tsusho who shared our vision to build climate-friendly, sustainable and profitable businesses around energy and energy enabled services for the more than 640 million people that lack reliable access to energy and other basic services. This partnership is about supporting the construction of lasting, high quality and climate-friendly infrastructure in Africa, built by Africans.  Africa is one of the last frontiers to build things right from the beginning.”

Powerhive leverages its proprietary technology platform to develop and operate portfolios of renewable microgrids that supply affordable, reliable and productive electricity to off-grid communities in emerging markets. Powerhive’s long-term and scalable energy access solution drives rural economic development, reduces energy poverty and results in cleaner, the more resilient energy infrastructure in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

“We are excited about our investment into Powerhive as it further positions Toyota Tsusho as a pioneer and innovator in Africa,” said Mr. Hirata Tatsuya, Toyota Tsusho’s COO for Power Project Business Unit.

“Having worked in emerging markets for the past 20 years, with 5 years spent living and working in Kenya, I have witnessed exciting energy and infrastructure transitions take place over the years.  The time is right now for Kenya, and Africa more broadly, to leap-frog the old way of doing things and take a new and better approach to energy independence. As such, we are proud to be part of this transition in partnership with Powerhive to deliver best-in-class, affordable energy and services for the 600 million consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

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