Cold storage solution provider InspiraFarms clinches financing to expand operations

KENYA – InspiraFarms, a provider of on- and off-grid cold storage solutions in East and Southern Africa has acquired a US$500,000 loan from Sunfunder, provider of innovative debt financing for solar enterprises working in emerging and frontier markets.

According to InspiraFarms the financing will provide working capital to deploy its agricultural solar-powered cold chain installations in Africa.

InspiraFarms develops modular and energy-efficient cold rooms and packhouses that can be installed in remote areas, supported with solar power and cloud-based remote monitoring technology.

This allows farmers, distributors and processors to access the cold chain for fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as using the units for processing, which adds value.

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Other than designing the cold rooms, InspiraFarms provides remote performance monitoring capabilities and long-term asset financing that allow customers to overcome financial barriers to acquiring new technology and grow sustainably.

“The new funding provided by SunFunder will scale-up InspiraFarms’ asset finance credit facility, to finance a larger number of clients in Africa requiring our cold chain and post-harvest management technology.”

Michele Bruni – CEO at InspiraFarms

In addition to supporting the roll out of the units, SunFunder will also is provide advisory services to the start-up to structure an optimal financing vehicle for end users, in order to lower the upfront cost of adopting the technology.

“We believe that end user financing structures are an important piece of the puzzle for taking productive use solar from niche innovations to the mass market.

“InspiraFarms has been a partner of ours for several years and we are delighted to be pioneering this together,” said Rim Azirar, Senior Investment Officer at SunFunder leading the transaction.”

SunFunder completed its first loan with InspiraFarms in 2017, with a US$300k working capital facility, the company’s first debt financing.

“Asset finance is a successful instrument to unlock capital for agribusinesses with urgent needs for first-mile cold chain technology to reduce post-harvest losses and maintain export quality fresh produce,” said Michele Bruni, CEO at InspiraFarms.

“The new funding provided by SunFunder will scale-up InspiraFarms’ asset finance credit facility, to finance a larger number of clients in Africa requiring our cold chain and post-harvest management technology,” he added.

Meanwhile last year, InspiraFarms closed a Series B to further expand its operations in the region. 

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The series was led by KawiSafi Ventures, a growth equity fund focused on renewable energy in East Africa. Existing investors Energy Access Ventures and PYMWYMIC also participated in the round along with Untapped, which was closed in April 2020.

The company regionally headquartered in Kenya is also working in partnership with the Shell Foundation and with project finance partners to scale the building of a leasing platform to expand access to longer-term affordable asset financing for agribusiness clients, including a ‘cooling as a service’ option, first-mile cooling for out-growers, as well as medium to large scale cold storage for distributors and exporters.

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