Michael Gera, Managing Partner at Energy Access Ventures, was a panellist at the Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa conference alongside Lesley Marincola – CEO of Angaza, Lawrence Riungu – Portfolio Manager at Acumen fund and Patricia Safo – Managing Director of JCS Investments. Energy Access Ventures was a sponsor of the conference that took place at the Radisson Blu hotel in Nairobi on the 1st and 2nd November 2016.
The session focused on the financing needs of early-stage companies. The panel was asked why a large portion of the capital invested in the off-grid solar sector has been concentrated among a few companies. Michael stated that this is due to the fact that the space is in its early stages. The pioneering nature of the sector presents a lot of opportunities to have a tremendous impact and encouraging returns. However, it also presents a challenge as there is no history of exits which makes it very hard for investors to measure the amount of risk. The panellists also noted that there is a need for more local venture capital funds in Africa to achieve the desired results in the off-grid solar sector.