Sustainable cooling startup, Koolboks, has secured $2.5 million in seed funding to expand into new markets.
The round was led by Aruwa Capital Management, with participation from Acumen, Blue Earth Capital, All On, GSMA, and other investors.
Ayoola Dominic and Deborah Gael founded the company in 2018 to provide accessible cold storage solutions to businesses.
Koolboks' initial product was an outdoor camping refrigerator aimed at European campers. However, the France-based and Africa-focused startup shifted its focus in 2020 to a new market — business owners in off-grid locations in Africa and emerging markets — beginning with Nigeria.
Koolboks refrigerators use Africa's abundant supply of sun and water to generate refrigeration for up to four days in the absence of power.
A typical Koolboks unit can be used as a refrigerator, freezer, or lighting because it has two LED light bulbs and USB ports for charging mobile phones.
Koolboks uses a pay-as-you-go model, allowing individuals and small businesses, like fish dealers, to own one of its 110-1,000 litre-sized off-grid solar refrigerators for $10 to $20 per month.
They pay using their mobile phones or a POS agent near their shops and get tokens entered as codes into the fridge, which they then use for a set period.
It is currently available in 18 different countries. Benin, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, and Sierra Leone are among these countries.
However, the company has only two physical locations: Nigeria and Kenya. In July 2022, it established the Kenyan office as an affiliate office.
The company is looking to open offices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ivory Coast.
Koolboks will use the funds to expand across Nigeria. It will also grow its team to support its expanding B2C business and establish a local assembly facility.
The company also plans to scale the company, which has over 3,000 unique customers across its markets.