Zambia’s Rent to Own concluded a $1.05 million seed round in December 2018. Noted impact investor AHL Venture Partners led the round with a significant investment in the firm, joined by Small Foundation and Serenity Investments. Exact terms of the deal were undisclosed.
Rent to Own is the kind of company sought after by infrastructure investors in Africa. The business was founded in 2010 to provide “high-impact assets to microentrepreneurs in rural Zambia.” Small-scale Zambian farmers and entrepreneurs gain access to refrigerators, hammer mills, irrigation pumps, and other equipment that is typically unavailable to rural business owners, helping them reach their business potential.
The company’s all-in-one “holistic approach” means not only aiding with asset selection, but “also [providing] provide low-cost distribution, tailored financing and training services so each customer walks away with the assets, knowledge, and skills needed to grow their business over the long term.” Rent to Own leverages a “flexible, tech-enabled platform” to facilitate the delivery of “over 7,000 productive use assets since inception,” with a 96% repayment rate. Having reached a breakeven point at the end of the 2018, the company is looking ahead to further growth in 2019, including a potential Series A round.
“The closing of this seed round marks a milestone for Rent to Own in its journey to one million customers,” said CEO Jeffrey Scheidegger. “Access to the right equipment is a real solution to unlocking the great potential of entrepreneurs in rural, underserved markets, [and] we’re excited to work with our customers, agents, investors and suppliers to reach [our goals].”
Rosanne Whalley, partner at AHL, is “excited” to further their relationship with Rent to Own, calling their business model “viable and scalable…to serve the rural base of the pyramid consumer – one of the toughest segments of the market to serve.” Rent to Own is the latest example of companies using technology to reach underserved communities – creating strong investment opportunities in the process.