Qotto, a solar kits provider that operates in Burkina Faso and Benin, has raised $8 million in a Series A equity-debt round led by the IBL Group, a billion-dollar conglomerate headquartered in Mauritius.

Founded in 2016, Qotto provides stand-alone solar kits and lanterns to individuals living in the least electrified regions of Africa, using a pay-to-own model. The company has seen steady growth, with its revenue growing 50% year on year and 11,000 active customers by the end of last year.

In addition to its financial services, Qotto is also planning to offer internet access hotspots in high-foot-traffic areas. With 650 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to electricity, 550 million lacking access to the internet, and 800 million lacking access to financial services, Qotto's goal is to provide a single solution to these critical issues through its "essential services," backed by its proprietary technology.

The funding round was led by the IBL group, a Mauritius-based conglomerate, with participation from the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI-OGEF), Cordaid, and Qotto's existing investors. Qotto plans to use the funding to scale in existing markets and expand to Ivory Coast, where operations are set to start next month.

Qotto explains that its expansion into Ivory Coast was prompted by customer demand, and the company is poised to continue its growth with new products and services, including micro-insurance, micro-credit, and micro-savings products.

The company claims its presence in rural areas allows it to understand customer needs and provide innovative products, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.