NIGERIA – Koolboks, the sustainable cooling company providing accessible cold storage solutions to businesses across Africa, has closed a US$2.5m seed funding round.
Founded in 2018 in France, Koolboks, with operations in Nigeria, combines Africa’s abundant supply of the sun with water to create a solution that is able to generate refrigeration for up to four days in the absence of power and sunlight.
Through efficiently harnessing natural resources, the company has made it affordable to access continuous refrigeration by integrating a pay-as-you-go technology that enables individuals and small businesses to pay as low as US$10 a month to own an offgrid solar refrigerator.
The Koolboks unit works as a refrigerator, freezer, or lighting for households and shops. It also comes with 2 LED lighting bulbs and USB ports for charging mobile phones – making the product invaluable to users in off-grid areas.
The company’s ice thermal refrigeration technology reduces CO2 emissions, displacing the use of diesel, and by incorporating R600a, an environmentally friendly refrigerant.
With 770 million people across SSA lacking proper access to electricity, and only 17% having access to refrigeration, Koolboks is striving to close the gap in equitable access to clean, readily available energy.
Currently, the company sells its products across 16 countries, 13 of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Following the close of the funding round, Koolboks will deploy the capital to scale its expansion across Nigeria, including building its team to support its growing B2C business and construction of a local assembly facility in the country. It also opened an affiliate office in Kenya in July, 2022.
Commenting on the opportunity to empower more small businesses with access to affordable cold storage solutions, Ayoola Dominic, CEO of Kooboks said, “Poor energy access, high costs of buying and running generators, and the relatively high cost of cooling prevent many African businesses and households from accessing refrigeration when it’s most critically needed.
“We believe that people can make their livelihoods and feed their families by relying on energy from natural resources – energy from the sun, wind and water that are abundant around us. It’s a win for the people, a win for us, a win for our investors and a win for the planet.”
The round was led by Aruwa Capital Management with participation from Acumen, Blue Earth Capital, All On, GSMA and other investors. This brings the company’s total investment to date to US$3.5m.
Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Founder at Aruwa Capital Management added, “We have been impressed with Koolboks’ innovative solution which goes far beyond food waste reduction – the team’s laser focus on ensuring clean renewable energy in off-grid areas is crucial to the survival of many small businesses and sectors as well as fostering economic gender equality.
“Equitable access to clean and reliable energy is key to closing the gender economic gap across rural areas and we are excited to see Koolboks’ expansion continue to make economic equity a reality for millions more women across Africa.”
The off-grid refrigeration market is currently worth US$4.4 billion, and is growing at a rate of 7%, according to the Efficiency for Access Coalition.