Roam Secures $24M To Expand Electric Vehicle Production In Kenya


Roam, an electric vehicle (EV) startup based in Kenya, has successfully raised $24 million in a Series A round. This funding includes a substantial $10 million debt commitment from the U.S International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The primary objective behind this financial boost is to scale up the production of electric motorcycles and buses.

Key Takeaway

Roam, an EV startup in Kenya, has secured $24 million in funding to expand its electric vehicle production. The company aims to scale the production of electric motorcycles and buses, with a focus on achieving a production rate of 1,000 motorcycles a month to meet market demand.

Investment and Expansion

Equator, an Africa-focused climate tech VC fund, led the Series A round. Additionally, the funding round saw the participation of several investors, including At One Ventures, TES Ventures, Renew Capital, The World We Want, and One Small Planet. The investment comes at a crucial time as Roam intensifies its efforts to expand the assembly of its Move bus model, which was launched last year. The company has also recently set up a new and larger motorcycle assembly plant.

Production Goals

Albin Wilson, Roam’s chief product and strategy officer, expressed the company’s goal for the year, stating, “The goal this year is to increase and get stability in terms of production to meet demand. We want to get to a production rate of 1,000 motorcycles a month because we think that’s where we can start filling the market with the relevant amount of motorcycles.”

Product Innovation

Roam has developed a hybrid solution for its motorcycle clientele, allowing them to charge the batteries at home or at its swap stations. The company also revealed that it can assemble 40 Move buses a month at full production capacity. These 42-seater buses, with a range of 200 kilometers, are assembled in Kenya using parts from China and are targeted at schools and the public transit sector.

Vertical Integration and Future Plans

Roam is planning to invest in research and tooling to deepen the vertical integration of its products. Wilson emphasized the company’s strategy, stating, “We’re going deeper into owning more and more designs instead of buying off the shelf components. Right now, we have 275 purchase components, which means that we can really cut down margins on our suppliers, and in the long-term, we can provide a cost-effective product to the market.”

EV Market in Africa

Despite challenges such as weak electricity grids, insufficient charging infrastructure, and high EV acquisition costs, the push for the adoption of electric vehicles in Africa continues. Several EV startups, including Roam, BasiGo, and Ampersand, are actively contributing to this gradual transition. These companies are introducing innovative solutions and attracting sustained investor interest in the African climate sector.

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