SA startup secures $3.3-million in funding

South Africa and Malawi-based tech startup, Yellow, has secured $3.3-million in a Series A Equity Financing Round.

The funding was received in a Series A Round to from Platform Investment Partners (PIP) invested, Ruby Rock Investment and LBO. The funding was secured in May 2020 and has enabled the innovative tech startup up to scale-up its footprint to supplying its pay-as-you-go solar-power devices to over 100 000 customers in Malawi and Uganda.

The funding will be used to expand the startup’s services and customer base

Michael Stannard, COO Platform Investment Partners comments on their investment into Yellow.

“Platform Growth seeks to invest in businesses that combine strong management teams with unique technology. In Yellow, we feel we have found this combination and have been hugely impressed by the deployment of Yellow’s Ofeefee software to solve complex problems in Malawi and Uganda. We are proud to provide capital alongside our investment partners, Ruby Rock, to grow Yellow into one of Africa’s leading digital retailers.” Michael Stannard, COO Platform Investment Partners

In addition, the funding will be further used to rapidly scale up the startup.

Richard Came of PIP, the South African Telco & Fibre entrepreneur, Ben Kruger, and Neil Surgey of Ruby Rock, former senior executives of Standard Bank, are three of the key principals behind the funding round. Their expertise in the technology and banking sectors in Africa provides a wealth of experience to the start-up.

Their expertise in the technology and banking sectors in Africa provides a wealth of experience to the start-up. PIP and Ruby Rock joined LBOS, Yellow’s seed funders, who have reinvested in the business in the latest round.

Yellow

Founded in 2017, by Michael Heyink and Maya Stewart, Yellow is a tech startup which utilises an online platform to sell pay-as-you-go solar-power devices to African households.

Yellow, a tech-enabled retailer is revolutionising last-mile distribution in Africa. The young company believes that its digital-first model is making all the difference in the distribution of consumer durables and financial products to places where they could not go before.

The startup claims to have enabled 30 000 low income and rural households access to electricity via solar home systems on a financed basis. Yellow’s business model is low cost with reportedly bad debts of customers at less than 2%.

While lending to lower LSMs typically involves high defaults and interest rates, Yellow’s focus on using digital technology to provide life-changing value to the customer has resulted in an exceptionally healthy book.

Yellow is growing its development and operations teams, and rapidly scaling its off-grid energy offering, but the start-up is more excited about the broader opportunities that the digital distribution platform offers.

African consumers are quickly following their counterparts in Asia and Latin America, as they strive for greater access to opportunities and better lives. Yellow aims to provide a service to its African customer base that allows them to improve their lives.

In a statement to Ventureburn, Yellow provides insight into its aims as a tech startup.

“We have many aims, but underpinning all that we do is to “LIVE BETTER”. As a team, we are brought together, by the way, our desire to create long term solutions for the real problems our customers face.”

Read more: Local proptech company HouseMe secures funding
Read more: African startups scoop $75 000 in investments

Featured image: Yellow South Africa and Malawi team (supplied)

Ishani Chetty: Editor
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