Lille, a new milestone for Malagasy start-up Jirogasy

Developing a 100% made-in-Africa project to meet the needs of millions of people deprived of electricity is the mission of start-up Jirogasy, which produces solar equipment in Madagascar. To pursue its development, the solidarity-based company has chosen to set up in Lille to support its local teams and provide a new gateway to the African continent.

Jirogasy LogoJirogasy Logo
©Jirogasy Logo|Jirogasy

Jirogasy, manufacturer of sol(id)aires computers 

Founded in 2017 by the Kasay brothers, start-up Jirogasy (literally “Malagasy light”) produces solar kits and computers in Madagascar. The company employs around 15 local electronics and product design talents and has an on-site production line to create its “Jirodesk” solar generators and computers.

A first of its kind in Madagascar, born of the brothers’ desire to reconnect with their homeland.

We were born in France to a French mother and a Madagascan father. We wanted to show that you could start out in a country like Madagascar with very few resources and end up creating tech objects in a place where, on the face of it, nothing was being done for them, and do it for a cause that makes sense.

Yann Kasay, co-founder

What sets this start-up apart is its commitment to helping the people of Madagascar by democratizing access to electricity and IT in the most isolated areas. For example, Jirogasy sells its solar-powered computers to NGOs that are developing digital access in the island’s secondary schools.

By mid-2021, the two founders hope to expand their company, improve their products, create new ones and offload the engineering side of the business, which until now they have overseen from Madagascar. They turned to France: “With the health crisis, Madagascar’s borders were completely closed for a year and a half. It was impossible for us to expand on the African continent from a country turned in on itself. Setting up in France enabled us to export our products much more easily.

The aim of this move is to open an innovation and R&D center to support Madagascan engineers, while continuing to produce in Madagascar.

Lille, its ecosystem and talent pool 

Our region quickly established itself as the ideal location for the start-up, which that same year won the “Energy Players for Africa” call for projects sponsored by the Hauts-de-France region. Jirogasy was entrusted with the electrification and digitalization of Madagascan villages. As part of this project, Jirogasy contacted the MEDEE cluster, dedicated to the electrical engineering ecosystem, as well as Nord France Invest and Hello Lille.

Thanks to the support of the Invest team, Jirogasy was able to identify the metropolis for its business location, before contacting the Euratechnologies teams.

There’s a real sense of emulation here, and we feel that this is where we belong. Very quickly, we visited the premises and met an energy start-up incubated at Euratech. Unlike Station F in Paris, which is rather impersonal, here we’re accompanied and we feel we can be in contact with many different players.

Yann Kasay

The start-up is just waiting to move into a 30m2 office, scheduled for March 2022.

Now that the location has been chosen, all that’s missing are the employees to be recruited. For this, Jirogasy will be able to draw on a vast pool of talent: “We’re recruiting engineers and export sales people to develop partnerships with players in the African solar industry. In the Lille metropolitan area, we can count on numerous engineering and business schools, as well as institutions such as Sciences Po, to find talent”.

So far, the start-up has initiated a partnership with the Junia engineering school to develop its electrification projects in African villages with the school’s students. Initially, Jirogasy will recruit its first engineer for a six-month internship. By the end of 2022, the ambition is to recruit 4 new talents in Lille to continue developing projects such as marketing products to the general public in Madagascar. This is an important step for the start-up, which also hopes to raise funds this year and recruit around twenty people within the next 3 years.

The Hello Lille touch 

The Invest team was involved in presenting the region by sector, introducing the ecosystem and supporting real estate research.