Partnership will strengthen innovative product design and manufacturing capacity for fast-growing consumer markets
KOKO Networks Ltd. (“KOKO”), an international technology company with operations in East Africa and India, today announces a strategic investment in Saarus Innovations Pvt. Ltd. (“Saarus”), a product design and manufacturing company headquartered in Ahmedabad, India.
The partnership will accelerate the design, market testing and high-volume production of innovative consumer and SME-sector products for fast-growing urban markets in Africa and elsewhere.
KOKO and Saarus have collaborated closely in recent years. In particular, Saarus helped design, develop and manufacture KOKO’s patent-pending bio-ethanol powered cookstove, which continues to be commercially piloted in selected neighborhoods of Nairobi. The full commercial roll-out of KOKO’s clean fuel distribution network will commence in Kenya in 2019 in partnership with Vivo Energy (which distributes and markets Shell-branded fuels and lubricants across Africa).
One of the first investments through the expanded partnership is the development of a 60,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Gujarat, India, for mass production of KOKO’s next generation bio-ethanol cookstove for export to multiple markets across Africa in the years ahead.
Saarus will also support the design and commissioning of KOKO’s manufacturing facilities in Africa, starting with an assembly and maintenance unit for KOKO’s smart bio-ethanol fuel dispensers and last-mile fuel logistics systems in Nairobi, Kenya, which will commence production in late-2018.
Over the longer term, Saarus will support KOKO and its global contract manufacturing partners in the design and production of a wide array of affordable, life-enhancing consumer products for mass market households worldwide.
Sagun Saxena, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of KOKO Networks, commented: “Our investment in Saarus strengthens an exciting and productive partnership, and deepens KOKO’s links into one of the world’s most competitive manufacturing hubs. Combined with our software and electronics engineering expertise, these new capabilities will expand the range and scalability of the KOKO Platform.”
Salil Bhargava, Co-Founder of Saarus Innovations, added: “This partnership is a natural fit: KOKO has been one of our boldest clients and we share the same passion for innovation. KOKO’s investment will enable us to bring more breakthrough products to life by expanding our design and manufacturing capabilities, and KOKO’s smart distribution networks will enable African consumers to access these products more easily and affordably than ever before.”
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