About ZOLA

CLEAN 24 HOUR
POWER ANYWHERE

OUR JOURNEY STARTED IN 2011

The idea was not to build technology first, but instead to first understand customers’ needs and what they could afford. From those insights, the team could then develop technology that exactly fit customer demand.

HOW IT STARTED

It started with hitchhiking in Malawi. ZOLA Electric’s roots start in a trip co-founder Xavier Helgesen took in 2007 to Malawi. He ended up in a fishing village on the shores of Lake Malawi to a local family’s house for dinner. He learned that his hosts relied on dirty, expensive kerosene to light their homes. He began wondering why nobody he met had even a small solar power system. Was this a technology problem or something else?

Five years later, ZOLA Electric was launched initially known as Off-Grid Electric when Xavier, along his two co-founders Josh Pierce and Erica Mackey, moved to Tanzania to provide energy access to rural communities that lacked any grid infrastructure. 

Today, ZOLA is the leading brand in the markets it serves, offering a full hardware and software based energy ladder that can scale to solve any energy problem – rural, urban, off-grid, on-grid, residential or commercial.   ZOLA Electric is currently serving 1 million users, across two continents in over 10 countries.  The mission from the beginning was solving energy access in all forms, and today ZOLA is making that happen.

213,000

Active Energy Systems

1,100,000

Lives impacted

10+

Countries Served

Our Executive Team

Bill Lenihan

Chief Executive Officer

Partner, Fremont Partners / Calera Capital EVP International, Switch Lighting, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Wharton MBA

Doye Ogionwo

Chief Commercial Officer

CEO, Trifant Resources CCO, Helios Towers Partner, NEWE Partners Charles Schwab Exxon-Mobil MBA, Carnegie Mellon

Martijn Bouwmeester

Chief Financial Officer

Finance Director, Johnson & Johnson Medical Multi-country work and living experience Masters in International Business, Twente University

Sau Ngosi

Chief Technology Officer

CTO, Residential Solar & Storage, Schneider Electric 20+ years engineering experience Board Director, Warm Heart of Africa Foundation

Cherilyn Vossberg

Vice President - Human Capital

15+ years in Africa Region and Global roles with Maersk Masters in Renewable Energy, Cape Town University

Robert Falcon

VP Manufacturing and Supply chain

Manager - Technical Manufacturing @ Apple Ops. Manager, Toyota GM, Eriks

Steven Van Maasakker

General Council

General Counsel, Heineken Group 20+ years General Counsel & attorney experience JD, University of Rotterdam

ZOLA Electric Board of Directors

Bill Lenihan

Director

Partner, Fremont Partners / Calera Capital EVP International, Switch Lighting Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse Wharton MBA

Xavier Helgesen

Director

Skoll Scholar + MBA @ Oxford, Co-Founder @ Better World Books, Indaba Systems

Nancy Pfund

Director

Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, JPMorgan, Hambrecht & Quist, MA @ Stanford, MBA @ Yale

Steve Hall

Director

Managing Director @ Vulcan Capital

Tope Lawani

Director

Co-founder and Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners, TPG, MIT, Harvard Law, MBA @ Harvard

Lyndon Rive

Director

Co-founder @ SolarCity now Tesla Energy. Co-Founder @ Everdream, Board @ NatGeo, GivePower, World Spine Care. U.S. National Underwater Hockey Team member.

Key Milestones

Our story

  • 2012 - Launched as "M-Power" in Tanzania

    Off-Grid electric (ZOLA Electric) is launched as "M-Power" in Arusha, Tanzania, attracting its first 1,000 customers by the end of 2012.

  • 2013 - SOLAR CITY JOINS THE BOARD

    ZOLA earns its first institutional funding in the pay-as-you-go solar sector. SolarCity founder and CEO Lyndon Rive joins the board as ZOLA launches its second generation of hardware in Tanzania.

  • 2014 - ZOLA Expands across TANZANIA

    ZOLA rapidly expands across Tanzania with over ten thousand customers choosing the company’s products. ZOLA partners with the International Finance Corporation on a $7 Million facility for off-grid solar - another first in the industry.

  • 2015 - LAUNCHED its 3rd GENERATION POWER PLATFORM

    ZOLA raises growth capital in a funding round led by DBL Partners. Nancy Pfund joins the board. ZOLA launches its third-generation power platform, which increases power capacity 10 times over previous generations.

  • 2016 - ZOLA EXPANDS TO RWANDA

    ZOLA and EDF Energy announce a joint venture to expand energy access in in Rwanda.

  • 2017 - ZOLA expands to IVORY COAST

    ZOLA and EDF Energy announce a joint venture to expand energy access in Ivory Coast.

  • 2017 - ZOLA INTRODUCED FLEX

    ZOLA FLEX launched as the best-in-class plug-and-play, pre-paid solar system. ZOLA closes a growth funding round with investments from Helios Partners and GE Ventures.

  • 2018 - ZOLA EXPANDS TO GHANA

    ZOLA and EDF Energy announce a joint venture to expand energy access in Ghana.

  • 2019 - ZOLA EXPANDS TO NIGERIA

    ZOLA targets both off-grid and on-grid house holds.

  • 2019 - POWERING 1 MILLION

    ZOLA energizes more than 1 million users daily.

  • 2020 - ZOLA LAUNCHES INFINITY

    ZOLA launches INFINITY, the Integrated Power System

  • 2020 - ZOLA's first Mini grid, Rwanda

    The 120 kWp Gakagati project currently powers 931 homes, 58 businesses, 3 religious centres, a school, a health center and 5 irrigation systems, with an expected gradual capacity expansion to 240kWp over 2 years. ZOLA Electric’s groundbreaking INFINITY integrated power system is the core of the distributed mini-grid.

Awards & Recognitions

OUR PROUD PARTNERS

ZOLA Electric’s investment and commercial partners include Tesla, General Electric, EDF Energy, DBL Ventures, Helios Investment Partners and Total.

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