Nigerian Solar-Powered Internet Provider Raises $3M Series-A To Fund Ghana Expansion

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

 

Nigerian solar-powered internet service provider, Tizeti, has raised $3 million in a Series-A round of funding that will allow the startup to expand into Ghana.

The Y Combinator-backed Nigerian ISP startup and its consumer facing brand, Wifi.com.ng closed a Series-A round of $3 million this month, according to the company.

Tizeti will use the investment to expand operations outside of Nigeria, and will launch a new consumer-facing brand Wifi.Africa later in the year. The expansion will begin with a move into neighbouring West African country, Ghana.

The startup will also use some of the funds to invest in operations, product development and overall customer experience.

The investment round was led by 4DX Ventures, with participation from existing investors Y Combinator Continuity, Lynett Capital, Social Capital, Western Technology Investment, Friále and Golden Palm Investments.

Lead investor 4DX Ventures is an Africa-focused early stage venture firm with offices in Accra and San Francisco. As part this financing round, Walter Baddoo, co-founder & managing partner of 4DX Ventures joins Tizeti’s board.

Based in Palo Alto, Social Capital invests in healthcare, financial services and education. Golden Palm Investments is a Ghanaian investment firm based out of Accra, with tech in Africa as a major focus. Investments include Andela, Flutterwave and mSurvey.

solar-powered internet
Tizeti co-founders Ifeanyi Okonkwo (COO) and Kendall Ananyi (CEO). Photo – Tizeti

This recent funding round builds on a successful seed investment of $2.1 million raised in 2017 through Y Combinator and a number of investors, according to Ventureburn.

Investors in that round included Western Technology Investment, Social Capital, Vy Capital, Picus Capital, Ace & Company, Lynett Capital Partners, and Zeno Ventures, with angel investors such as Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel and Gabriel Hammond also involved.

Solar-power internet from ‘Comcast for Africa’

The company aims to become a “Comcast for Africa”, building and operating solar-powered towers in Nigeria, while also providing residences, businesses, events and conferences with unlimited high speed broadband internet access, covering over 70 percent of Lagos.

Since graduating from Y Combinator’s Winter 2017 batch, Tizeti has installed over 7,000 public Wifi hotspots within Nigeria, with 150,000 users benefiting from their service.

In November 2017 the company announced a partnership with Facebook to offer a new Express Wi-Fi product in Nigeria, rolling out hundreds of internet hotspots across Lagos.

Through it’s innovative use of solar-powered base stations, Tizeti is able to significantly reduce operating costs which allows the company to be highly-competitive with the subscription packages they offer users. For example, the Wifi.com.ng unlimited plan in Nigeria currently costs $30 per month.

In 2016 Tizeti was one of the 20 most promising startups in sub-Saharan Africa selected for The World Bank Group’s XL Africa business acceleration initiative, according to Biznisafrica.

The startup had the opportunity to be mentored by various global specialists, increase their visibility on the continent and receive access to corporate partners and investors.

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