SIMA Angaza Distributor Finance Fund announces first three investments: Altech Group, Deevabits Green Energy, and Easy Solar
San Francisco, USA; New York, USA; and Nairobi, Kenya; October 2020 – The SIMA Angaza Distributor Finance Fund (DFF) has anchored its investment portfolio with loans to three last-mile solar distributors: Altech Group of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Deevabits Green Energy of Kenya; and Easy Solar of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Each company has demonstrated strong sales growth while maintaining a quality pay-as-you-go lending portfolio despite the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through these and future investments, the Fund will expand access to life changing products for underserved consumers in developing markets.
DFF is a partnership between SIMA Funds, an experienced off-grid and last-mile lender, and Angaza, the leading technology provider for last-mile distribution. The Fund serves last-mile distributors (LMDs) like Altech, Deevabits, and Easy Solar that specialize in reaching hard-to-serve customers. Its debt facilities cover inventory expenses and include partial financial guarantees from product manufacturers like Greenlight Planet and Omnivoltaic.
The Fund’s mission is to solve one of the greatest challenges facing the last-mile distribution sector — limited access to capital. Investors who might otherwise support the sector are often discouraged by high transaction costs and the challenges of assessing pay-as-you-go portfolio quality. The Fund overcomes these issues by combining SIMA’s lending expertise with data analytics from the Angaza technology platform. The Fund’s data-driven approach simplifies sourcing and due diligence while surfacing unique insights into distributor performance. Angaza data also facilitates real-time monitoring, allowing the Fund to quickly identify opportunities for additional support.
In addition to its data-driven approach, DFF focuses on local entrepreneurs and applies a gender lens to its investment portfolio. The majority of funding in the off-grid sector has gone to large, vertically integrated companies led by Western founders, leaving local entrepreneurs and communities served by last-mile distributors behind. Likewise, women are most impacted by lack of access to clean energy solutions, yet the last-mile distribution sector often fails to integrate women’s experiences and expertise. The Fund seeks to support companies founded or led by either women or local entrepreneurs such as Altech, Deevabits, and Easy Solar, which each have at least one local or female founder.
In parallel with financing, the Fund also provides value-added services to portfolio companies in support of these objectives. Fund partner Power Africa provides tailored advisory support to select portfolio companies and assists with the development of strategies for advancing gender equity among employees and clients. 60 Decibels, also a Fund partner, is gathering gender-related end-user data for portfolio companies, which will complement gender data collected via Angaza.
The Fund is financed by the Shell Foundation (co-funded by the UK Government, USAID, and Power Africa), the Skoll Foundation, and Ceniarth.
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Angaza is a for-profit social enterprise based in San Francisco, California and Nairobi, Kenya. With a comprehensive software platform designed for last-mile distributors, Angaza enables off-grid consumers to pay for life-changing products and services through affordable payments.
Established in 2015, SIMA is a pioneer in the impact investing space with a mission to provide demand-driven commercial capital and customized advisory solutions to create profitable businesses and help generate attractive financial returns alongside environmental and social impact. With a rich and diverse experience investing in emerging markets in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, SIMA is committed to help grow promising early-stage companies in some of the poorest regions of the world. SIMA is located in Kenya, Pakistan, India, and the United States.
Altech Group’s mission is to expand access to clean, reliable, renewable, and affordable energy for off- and poor-grid households in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Having lived in energy poverty themselves, the company’s Congolese founders design solutions of, by, and for the Congolese people. A national network of young people trained by Altech deliver and service off-grid solar products for customers who pay in affordable, pay-as-you-go installments via mobile money.
Deevabits Green Energy
Deevabits Green Energy is a locally-founded social enterprise improving energy access to the rural poor in Kenya while empowering women and youth with economic opportunities. The company distributes off-grid solar products through micro-enterprises established by Village Solar Entrepreneurs (VSEs). The VSEs earn income for their family as they provide a clean, affordable, pay-as-you-go lighting source for their neighbours and friends.
Easy Solar enhances the lives of people across West Africa by distributing solar energy solutions and other transformative durable goods. The company makes these affordable through a range of flexible financing options, empowered by pay-as-you-go technology and mobile money, and accessible through an extensive network of agents and shops.