Catalyst Fund has backed 6 African climate-tech startups in last 4 months

Pre-seed venture capital (VC) fund and accelerator Catalyst Fund has made investments in six African climate-tech startups in the last four months, having announced a first close of its US$40 million fund in September.

Catalyst Fund is a pre-seed VC fund and accelerator backing high-impact tech startups that seek to improve the resilience of underserved, climate-vulnerable communities. It partners with mission-driven founders that share our vision of a world where every individual has the tools and opportunities they need to thrive.

Until a year ago, the organisation offered grant capital to selected startups, but in January 2023 it announced a US$2 million investment into 10 startups funded by a US$30 million fund anchored by financial sector development agency FSD Africa.

Focused on startups building solutions to improve the resilience of climate-vulnerable communities in Africa, Catalyst Fund in September of last year announced the successful first close of its targeted US$40 million fund, with over 20 per cent committed.

The fund, which offers US$100,000 of equity investments as well as US$100,000 of hands-on venture-building support, has since then announced six investments. In November, it announced investments in Tolbi, a pan-African climate-agtech startup using satellite imagery and AI to enable climate-smart agriculture practices on the continent with data; and NoorNation, an Egyptian startup providing decentralised solar energy and water solutions tailored for farming businesses and underserved communities.

In December, it backed South Africa’s Thola, which democratises access to certifications to liberate SMEs to catalyse climate resilience and food safety – transforming compliance from an obstacle into an opportunity.

Then, in January, it funded Nigeria’s Zebra CropBank, which provides climate-smart solutions tailored to overcome the interlinked challenges holding smallholder farmers back; and Nigeria’s Scrapays, a waste management startup that enables individuals and small businesses to launch mini-waste enterprises.

And just last week it announced an investment in Tanzania’s Medikea, which makes affordable preventative and primary care, diagnostics, and compliance support more accessible to overlooked Tanzanians, directly empowering vulnerable groups to safeguard their well-being in the face of growing threats.

Catalyst Fund’s climate-focused fund has garnered significant backing from investors including FSD Africa, FSDAi, Cisco Foundation, USAID Prosper Africa, and seasoned tech investor Andrew Bredenkamp.

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