26 September 2023
Apis Growth Fund I partially exits position in Sun King as off-grid solar energy company completes US$260 million Series D raise
London, 27th April 2022 – Apis Growth Fund I (“the Fund”), a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners LLP (“Apis Partners”), a UK-based asset manager that supports growth stage financial services and financial infrastructure businesses, has successfully partially exited its position in off-grid solar energy company Sun King, formerly Greenlight Planet.
Sun King today announced a US$260 million Series D capital raise, with investment led by BeyondNetZero, the climate investing venture of General Atlantic. As part of this transaction the Fund sold the majority of its stake in the Company. The Fund continues to hold a stake in Sun King and Apis Partners will remain supportive of the future growth plans of the company, which include continued geographical and product-line expansion, including larger products such as solar systems equipped with AC-electricity inverters (capable of powering large appliances like refrigerators) and new products, for example mobile phones.
Sun King is leading a transformation in how electricity is provided across Africa and Asia, where 1.8 billion people still lack access to a reliable electrical grid. To date, Sun King has powered the lives of 82 million people across 40 countries. The company’s solar home systems power lights, mobile phones, radios and larger home appliances and are dramatically more affordable and sustainable than kerosene or new power lines, allowing customers to leapfrog electrical grids and fossil-fuel energy sources entirely. Today, Sun King operates the world’s largest direct-to-consumer, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar distribution network, growing at a rate of 150,000 new clients per month across seven countries.
Since the Fund’s investment in 2017, the company has grown over 5X, with annualised revenue now exceeding US$200 million. In addition, since launching the PAYG segment the same year as the Fund’s investment, the company has captured 38% of total market share in the global PAYG industry. The company has also won multiple industry awards, including ‘Impact Gamechanger’ by British International Investments (formerly CDC), the UK development financial institution, and Private Equity Africa’s ‘Portfolio Company of the Year’. These awards focussed on the impact generated by Sun King’s products, not only allowing customers access to solar home energy and to develop credit histories, but also reducing harmful greenhouse emissions with fewer kerosene-fuelled lamps burned.
T. Patrick Walsh, Co-founder and CEO at Sun King: “The Apis team have been great partners these past five years, understanding the needs of Sun King customers and believing in our team every step of the way.”
Matteo Stefanel, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Apis Partners: “We are thrilled to see Sun King’s growth and life-changing impact towards millions of people recognised in the recent fundraise. We are very confident that the addition of investors such as BeyondNetZero will accelerate the company’s growth further and look forward to continuing to work with Patrick and the team as they start this new journey.”
Udayan Goyal, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Apis Partners: “When we invested in the company in 2017, it sold 27k PAYG units that year; this has increased to 1.2M units sold in 2021. This is just one example of the company’s growth since our investment, and we are very pleased to have helped and advised the team along the way. Our investment in Sun King is one we are exceptionally proud of, and we are thrilled to be continuing the relationship.”
About Apis Partners
The Apis Group (“Apis”) is an ESGI-native global private equity and venture capital asset manager that supports growth stage financial services and financial infrastructure businesses around the world by providing them with catalytic growth equity capital. Collectively Apis, through its team of approximately 30 professionals with deep industry expertise, manages or advises on total committed capital from investors (including drawn and invested capital) of over US$1.2 billion.
Including its headquarters in London, Apis has representation in seven countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. Apis is highly conscious of the developmental impact that the provision of growth capital for financial services and financial infrastructure businesses in growth markets can achieve, and as such, financial inclusion is a core tenet of Apis’ approach and investment mandate. Apis became a signatory to the United Nations backed Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) upon inception of the firm in 2014.
About Sun King
Sun King is the world’s largest off-grid solar energy company, combining cutting-edge product design, financing, and grassroots field installation to provide energy for the 1.8 billion consumers across Africa and Asia who lack access to reliable electricity. Founded in 2007, Sun King sets the gold standard for off-grid solar performance and design while working towards its mission to power brighter lives.