KARIBU Solar Power is based in Tanzania and makes lighting & electricity affordable by offering a solar pay-as-you-go “business in a box” kit to entrepreneurs. KARIBU’s business model allows consumers to enjoy the benefits of solar lighting, while paying in small increments, just like they would for kerosene. For more background see an earlier interview and for an update see below.
What was it like to be contacted by investors through the VC4Africa platform, and how did this lead to two substantial deals?
“It was great to be contacted by investors through the platform. It is a testament to the growing community of people interested in investing in African start-ups. It also shows that VC4Africa is a place where this community thrives and where things happen.
We were asked a lot of hard questions but answered them thoroughly and thoughtfully. We believe the investor could see our dedication to our social enterprise and knowledge of the industry.
After the first contact, we talked more about the business model and our vision. We then set up some phone calls to answer any questions, finalized document and then moved on to signing.”
The last time we interviewed you KARIBU Solar had just been selected in VC4Africa’s June 2013 Cohort and would also still launch at DEMO Africa 2013. What happened since?
“We have been fortunate to have made lots of progress since DEMO Africa 2013. This includes securing the required funding to get started; completing an accelerator program in the USA; building and testing our new product; piloting our business model with customers in Tanzania; and building our team.”
Your VC4Africa venture profile shows a lot of milestones from your journey over the past 1,5 year. What would you advise to fellow entrepreneurs on the use of the venture profile?
“We have been utilizing the VC4Africa platform in conjunction with our social media platforms and it has been an effective way of communicating with like-minded people in this space. We would advise fellow entrepreneurs to utilize the various platforms in one coherent strategy.”
Which milestones do you want to reach with your present investments? And what do you hope to achieve with KARIBU Solar Power in the long run?
“We would like to gain valuable feedback on how we can improve. It is unlikely we will get everything right, so it is important to continually get better at delivering value to our customers. In the long run, we want KARIBU Solar Power to empower profitable solar entrepreneurs that deliver affordable lighting and mobile phone charging to people across Africa.”
Any other recommendations to other entrepreneurs who are wondering what VC4Africa can do for them?
“As with most things, the more you put in, the more you get out.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
“Thank you to VC4Africa, for all your support along the way.”