Press Releases

Press release: Zonful Energy Secures Investment from Energy Access Ventures

Nairobi, November 27, 2018 – Zonful Energy, a provider of clean energy solutions to off-grid households in Zimbabwe, has secured its first funding round from Energy Access Ventures (EAV).
Founded by serial entrepreneur, William Ponela, Zonful Energy (Zonful) promotes energy access in Zimbabwe by distributing high-quality pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar home systems (SHS). The company has managed to navigate a challenging operating environment to become the country leader in the PAYG SHS space. Zonful now aims to use the funding raised to strengthen its core team, diversify its product offerings, and drive growth in order to serve the 10 million people without access to grid electricity in Zimbabwe.
William Ponela, founder CEO of Zonful, said, “At Zonful, we don’t just provide solar products, we make families more productive. We believe that a customer-centric focus, resulting from us closely listening to those we serve, is the right way to have the greatest positive impact. We are excited to work with EAV who truly share our values and ambition. Their investment and, importantly, their value-add will allow us to expand our distribution efforts in Zimbabwe and to realise our objective of sustainably improving the standard of living for millions of Zimbabweans whilst reducing CO2 emissions by at least 3 million tonnes over the next five years.”
Vladimir Dugin, Investment Manager at EAV said, “EAV is delighted to lead Zonful’s funding round. Zonful is a unique example of a start-up where a local entrepreneur, despite economic and political headwinds, has managed to launch and grow their business. The company’s core values of customer satisfaction and gender diversity have helped them to place 10,000 systems and build a strong team of young professionals, nearly 60% of whom are women. We aim to be Zonful’s growth partner and to support them in substantially accelerating the deployment of solar home systems in rural Zimbabwe”.
“We are delighted that EAV is investing in Zonful, a clear homegrown leader in the Zimbabwean access to energy market,” said Gilles Vermot Desroches, SVP Sustainable Development at Schneider Electric. “Schneider Electric is proud to support the off-grid sector through EAV in Zimbabwe. Zonful is an outstanding example of the unbundling happening in the solar home systems industry as its business model focuses on cost-efficient distribution and financing.”

About EAV
EAV ( is the leading early-stage venture capital firm in Africa. With its Africa-specific Venture Capital model, EAV has carved out a reputation as a hands-on investor that works closely with its portfolio companies to capture the significant opportunity in Africa from smart, distributed, cost-effective infrastructure solutions – notably in energy. EAV’s first fund (“EAV I”) was raised in February 2015 and is €75,000,000 in size with 9 investment professionals. The fund is sponsored by the leading French multinational Schneider Electric and is managed by Aster Capital in Paris. Its investors are CDC Group (UK), managing funds for the UK Department for International Development, the European Investment Bank, the Fonds d’Investissement et de Soutien aux Entreprises en Afrique (FISEA) held by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and managed by Proparco, the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM), administered by AFD, Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), the Netherlands Development Finance Company, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and Schneider Electric.
About Zonful Energy
Zonful Energy ( makes clean energy accessible and affordable to off-grid areas throughout Zimbabwe. The company believes that technology is neither revolutionary nor radical if it is not accessible to the poor, women and young people. Zonful Energy’s services both promote healthy living by eradicating the use of kerosene, candles and cheap disposable batteries, and provide entertainment options, such as powerful radios and television sets.