Africa: Catalyst Fund first closes $40 mln fund targeting climate-focused startups

By : Samira Njoya

Date : lundi, 11 septembre 2023 15:08

Greentech startups are rapidly emerging in Africa with firm conviction that new technologies will play a key role in supporting sustainable development on the continent. 

Catalyst Fund, a private equity fund investing in early-stage, climate-focused startups in Africa, has reached the first closing of its $40 million fund. Last Wednesday, the fund announced a first closing, at $8.6 million, with support from investors like FSD Africa Investments (FSDAi), the Cisco Foundation, USAID (Prosper Africa), and technology investor Andrew Bredenkamp.

The Kenya-based fund, headed by French impact investor Maelis Carraro, plans to invest in around 40 start-ups, including 20 this year.  Eligible companies will receive funding of up to $200,000 for pre-seed startups, $500,000 for seed-stage companies, and $1.5 million in Series A financing for more mature companies.

By blending equity investments with hands-on venture building, we believe we can unlock tremendous potential for innovative companies on the continent. Supporting ventures at the pre-seed stage requires more than capital. Our venture builders are the engineers, data scientists, and growth marketing experts who can supercharge founders’ journeys toward building scalable and highly impactful ventures," says Maelis Carraro.

Climate change is a global reality but Africa is the continent most vulnerable to its adverse effects despite contributing just 3% of global carbon emissions. It is therefore important to invest in startups that are active in the fight against climate change on the continent. According to a report published, in February 2023, by technology business accelerator AfricArena, such startups raised a total of $1.17 billion in 2022, of which $863 million was invested in capital.

By strategically focusing on solutions in agri-tech and fisheries management, food systems, insurtech and climate fintech, cold chain, waste management, and water management, Catalyst Fund aims to accelerate sustainable green growth. It will focus on solutions that can enable communities to better prepare for and manage shocks, adapt livelihoods to climate impacts, and build long-term resilience.

Samira Njoya


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