Press Release: Social Enterprise Receives $21M in Funding to Produce 700,000 Cookstoves for Rwanda August 06 2014
For Immediate Release
EcoZoom, a social enterprise and certified B Corp that makes clean cookstoves, has received $21 million (USD) in investment to fund production of 700,000 cookstoves for a large-scale health program implemented in Rwanda by DelAgua.
The first investment of $3.6 million for Phase 1 of this program was secured in March of this year. In 103 days, EcoZoom used the money for working capital and operations to produce 120,000 cookstoves (almost 1,200 per day), a scale never before seen in the cookstove industry. Containers of these cookstoves are now arriving in Kigali to await distribution in September by DelAgua.
After the successful implementation of Phase 1, EcoZoom was able to obtain a further investment of $17.4 million for Phase 2. Production of 580,000 additional cookstoves starts in August and will be completed by July of 2015, ramping up to an average of 2,400 cookstoves per day to meet this deadline.
EcoZoom, a three-year old startup, was selected as the cookstove supplier for this program because of the efficiency, durability and high user acceptance of its cookstoves during pilots conducted by DelAgua in Rwanda in 2012. This, combined with its ability to mass manufacture while maintaining consistency and high quality, made it the clear choice.
“We started EcoZoom with $40,000 in funding from founders and family and sold over $1M in cookstoves in our first nine months. While it’s been amazing to grow quickly and organically, this investment gives us the ability to really build our team and operations to make the impact we envisioned in the world,” says EcoZoom Founder and CEO Ben West.
The EcoZoom firewood cookstove – just one of its products – reduces fuel use by 55% and smoke and toxic emissions by up to 70%. In Rwanda, these cookstoves are being distributed by DelAgua with support from the Rwandan Ministry of Health in a health campaign that will reach the poorest 30% of the population. Rwanda has the fastest annual reduction in childhood mortality and this program is taking steps to keep it going by addressing the problem of pneumonia caused by smoke inhalation that accounts for 20% of deaths in children under 5 in Rwanda.