SunFI, a Nigerian clean tech startup, announced that it has raised $2.325 million in seed funding.
The company’s CEO, Rotimi Thomas, said the investment would help SunFi grow its operations and improve its capabilities to recommend the best systems at the lowest cost to customers.
The funding was led by Nairobi-based Factor[e] and Sterling Bank’s SCM Capital Asset Management. Other participating investors include Voltron Capital, Norrsken Impact Accelerator, Ventures Platform and Sovereign Capital.
How SunFI operates: The startup specialises in connecting households and businesses who are interested in solar energy access to suitable payment plans.
SunFi creates value for clean energy investors by de-risking the technical and credit risk involved in financing portfolios of solar solutions, opening avenues for lending as a service play for clean energy providers. Thomas explained the business model, saying:
- “Our current revenue model relies on margins charged for the payment plans. Our value proposition is sticky as we enable solar installers to scale by addressing their end-to-end value-chain needs.
- “In addition to accessing payment plans in as little as 24 hours, they can design optimized solar-inverter-battery solutions, aggregate equipment demand for better supply chain terms, access a wide installer network, and activate remote monitoring capabilities.”
More about SunFi: Since its official launch in Q1 2022, SunFi has onboarded over 40 solar system vendors to its platform at various stages of vetting; 10 are its core providers, which have served more than 129 customers. Within the past year, the one-year-old energy startup has deployed more than $600,000 to these customers via its partnerships with financial institutions.
The energy company provides customers with two payment methods -a lease to own, where after an initial deposit, customers make payments in instalments before owing the solar system, and a subscription model, where customers pay to use the solar system monthly.
Do note that SunFi does not manufacture or install solar panels, but it gives small solar businesses expert advice on choosing the best manufacturers in the market. By filling the credit gap, SunFi wants to eliminate the need for solar providers to seek credit from financial institutions.