Back in 2015, Mehrdad Arjmand and Aaron Olson, two graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison met in a class in Wisconsin School of Business. In that class, named WAVE, students were asked to pick a challenge and work on it during the semester. Mehrdad, Aaron and three other students decided to work on the off-grid electricity problem in sub-Saharan Africa, a challenge that has impacted lives of more than 1 billion people. At the end of the semester, the project received a “thumps-up” from the jury members indicating that the challenge is worthwhile pursuing. A few months after that class, Aaron had the chance to visit Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country where he was born, for the first time as an adult. After coming back from the trip, Aaron saw the the challenge and at the same the time opportunity of impacting lives in DRC. After returning the United States, Aaron reached out to all the team members in WAVE class and from them, Mehrdad decided to join and NovoMoto was founded in 2015 with the mission of providing clean electricity to off-grid communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Early 2016, NovoMoto was informed about an opportunity to present at Clean Energy Trust annual event. NovoMoto was honored to receive 3 awards and prizes in that event and that was the first investment in NovoMoto. In 2017, NovoMoto started it’s first pilot project in the province of Kinshasa in DRC. During 2018 and 2019, NovoMoto initiated multiple other pilot projects and analyzed the feedback. Finally in 2020, NovoMoto was able to identify a product-market fit and hence started it’s growth path. After a successful Pre-Seed raise in 2020, NovoMoto was able to deploy that capital into the market and gained some traction in the province of Kinshasa in DRC. In 2021, NovoMoto continued it’s growth and expanded its operations to three provinces in the western part of DRC. Beside the growth, NovoMoto was able to address several challenges with regards to customer screening, collections, default management and customer service. As a result of that, NovoMoto finished 2021 at a high point in terms of key milestones which puts the company in an outstanding position in the industry based on published reports.