LeapFrog tops up Sun King’s Series D round; Apis exits

 LeapFrog tops up Sun King’s Series D round; Apis exits

Sun King, the largest provider of solar energy products for off-grid homes in Africa and Asia, has received $70 million in equity investment in an extension of its Series D round, led by LeapFrog Investments.

This investment is an extension of Sun King’s initial $260 million Series D, which was led by General Atlantic’s BeyondNetZero and M&G Investments in April 2022.

The extension round includes $38 million of additional primary investment. The fresh capital will support the company’s plans to make consumer-financed solar power available to the 1.8 billion consumers across Africa and Asia who lack access to reliable electricity. It comes as increasing global energy prices and rising food costs have widened the electricity access gap.

The company’s products have so far provided light and power to 95 million people who lacked access to reliable electricity and have prevented more than 24 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Sun King solar home systems are dramatically more affordable and sustainable than kerosene or new power lines, allowing customers to leapfrog electrical grids and fossil-fuel energy sources entirely.

Sun King’s Series D extension also includes additional secondary investment to complete the successful exit of all of Sun King’s prior institutional investors. Sun King’s founders retain voting control and as part of the transaction, LeapFrog will join the board, which now includes representatives of other Series-D investors General Atlantic and M&G Investments as well as Prabha Sinha, the company’s first investor.

Apis Growth Fund I, a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners, that made a partial exit as part of the $160 million secondary transaction early this year by selling a bulk of its stake in Sun King, is now believed to be among those signing off from the company.

The PE firm did not immediately respond to a questionnaire on the exit.

Apis had invested in the company five years ago when it raised $60 million. Eight Roads Ventures, Bamboo Capital Partners, PG Impact Investments, responsAbility, SIMA Funds, Deutsche Bank and SunFunder had also joined the round.

Combined with the previous secondary component, selling shareholders together encashed around $192 million.

Since Apis’ investment in 2017, the company has grown over five-fold, with annualised revenue now exceeding $200 million.

Greenlight had raised equity and debt capital from several investors in the past. In 2020, for instance, it raised $90 million from CDC Group Plc, FMO, Norfund, responsAbility, SIMA Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships and private equity firm ARCH Emerging Markets Partners’ Africa Renewable Power Fund.

Today, Sun King operates the world’s largest direct-to-consumer, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar distribution network, delivering solar to 165,000 homes per month across eight countries of operation in Africa. In Kenya, where Sun King has operated for over a decade, more than one in five people in the country now use Sun King for light and power, with 22 million Kenyans served to date. While growing rapidly, the company has remained consistently profitable. Since the closing of the initial General Atlantic–led Series D round in April 2022, the business has achieved 95% year-over-year revenue growth.

Anish Thakkar, co-founder of Sun King, said: “With this Series D extension, Sun King has launched operations in Togo and Cameroon with plans to expand into new countries in 2023.”

Ekta Partners acted as financial advisor for this transaction. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP provided legal advice to LeapFrog. Goodwin Procter LLP provided legal advice to Sun King.

Vivek Sinha

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