SMEs and Ventures

10 African startups selected to receive $2 million investment from the Catalyst Fund

10 entrepreneurs developing solutions to strengthen the resilience of climate-vulnerable populations in Africa will receive a $2 million investment from pre-seed venture capital (VC) fund and accelerator Catalyst Fund, according to an announcement.

This is the first cohort of the $30 million venture capital fund Catalyst Fund, which is anchored by the financial sector development organization FSD Africa and supports early-stage founders in their efforts to create technology that will increase Africa’s resilience to the effects of climate change.

Each of the 10 firms will receive $100K in equity investments in addition to $100K in direct assistance with business development.

These businesses will be added to Catalyst Fund’s current portfolio of 61 startups in emerging markets, where they will receive funding, specialized and expert-led venture development support, and direct access to investors, corporate innovators, and talent networks that can help them scale. The portfolio firms of Catalyst Fund have so far raised over US$640 million in additional capital and today provide services to over 14 million people and MSMEs worldwide.

According to Maelis Carraro, managing partner of Catalyst Fund, the objective is to support mission-driven entrepreneurs that share the vision of a society in which each person has access to the resources and opportunities they need to succeed. These firms demonstrate financial, technological, and business model innovations that will assist communities in better coping with the effects of climate change and increasing their resilience, from waste management to insurtech, disaster response, and carbon finance.

The ten startups include two from Nigeria, two from Kenya, one sharing Nigeria and Kenya, two from Egypt, one each from Uganda, Senegal and Morocco. They are listed below:

Agro Supply [Uganda]: a mobile layaway program that enables farmers to progressively accumulate money using their phones and cash out to buy farm inputs like hybrid (drought-resistant) seeds for crops like maize, sorghum, sunflower, and soybean during the planting season

Assuraf [Senegal]: a digital insurtech platform with a fully integrated claims management system that gives end users access to a variety of insurance products from over 20+ insurance firms (such as agriculture, automobile, health, housing, and natural disasters).

Bekia [Egypt]: a technologically advanced waste management solution that enables businesses and households to trade in their garbage (including plastic, paper, electronics, metals, and cooking oil) for cash rewards transferred to a digital wallet.

Eight Medical [Nigeria]: an EMS platform that is cloud-native and offers on-demand urgent care when and where it is required. This “911 for Africa” connects emergency medical personnel on motorbikes to those in need in less than 10 minutes, particularly in cases of crises brought on by the environment.

Farm to Feed [Kenya]: a company in the food supply chain that offers a digitally enabled solution to food loss/waste. Their environmentally friendly strategy focuses on giving farmers a market for their surplus and imperfect produce, improving food security and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Farmz2U [Nigeria, Kenya]: an agtech company promoting sustainable farming. Farmers can get individualized farming guidance (particularly on regenerative farming techniques), cost-effective loans, high-quality, traceable inputs, and direct customers for their harvest through Farmz2U.

Octavia Carbon [Kenya]: The first Direct Air Capture (DAC) business in the Global South is constructing the most affordable DAC hub in the entire world. Octavia is constructing DAC equipment to collect carbon from the air for sale to off-takers as carbon dioxide or carbon credits.

PaddyCover [Nigeria]: collaborates with well-known insurers and digital platforms to create and market bespoke insurance products via their platform, which enables flexible insurance packages, including health, life, and, in the future, index-based crop insurance. Offerings are incorporated into the customer’s lifestyle touchpoints as a convenience or as a complement to existing value.

Sand to Green [Morocco]: creates climate-smart regenerative farms by turning deserts into arable land using agroforestry techniques and a solar-powered desalination technology.

VAIS [Egypt]: By supplying farms with data intelligence through their FarmGATE application, which is powered by patented artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML)-based virtual field probing (VFP) technology, a precision agtech startup dedicated to climate resilience and food security enables better use of water and other farm inputs to produce better yields.

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