Catalyst Fund invests $1.8 million in nine African climate startups

Catalyst Fund, a pre-seed VC and accelerator, backs nine African early-stage climate tech startups with a $1.8 million investment to bolster their impact and growth trajectory.

The nine startups benefiting from the investment include Mazao Hub and Medikea from Tanzania, Earthbond, Zebra Cropbank, and Scrapays from Nigeria, Keep It Cool from Kenya, NoorNation from Egypt, Thola from South Africa, and Tolbi from Senegal.

In September 2023, Catalyst Fund achieved its first close, securing $8.6 million out of its $40 million target for investments in African climate startups. Notable investors include FSD Africa, FSDAi, Cisco Foundation, USAID Prosper Africa, and Andrew Bredenkamp.

The Catalyst Fund, established in 2016 and overseen by BFA Global, supports startups in accessing capital, talent, and market opportunities. This marks the fund’s second round of investments in African startups addressing climate change challenges.

In January 2023, Catalyst Fund allocated $2 million to ten startups focused on developing solutions for Africa’s climate-vulnerable communities.

As a result, this latest investment broadens Catalyst Fund’s portfolio to encompass 19 companies operating in eight diverse markets: Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Catalyst Fund team will offer comprehensive venture building support to these startups, effectively integrating them as extensions of their own teams.

These startups are actively addressing climate-related challenges within various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, energy access, and waste management.

In 2023, a survey revealed that over 110 million Africans faced direct consequences from weather, climate, and water-related hazards in 2022, resulting in economic damages surpassing $8.5 billion.

In discussing the investment, Maelis Carraro, Managing Partner at Catalyst Fund, highlighted that the models utilized by the startups “empower farmers, healthcare providers, waste workers, and small and medium businesses to effectively adapt to the impacts of climate change, thus fostering economic growth with a positive climate impact.

Additionally, Maxime Bayen, Operating Partner at Catalyst Fund, emphasized that “with these latest investments, [Catalyst Fund] is committed to further diversifying its portfolio across various models, climate adaptation sectors, and geographic regions.

In 2022, Catalyst Fund secured a $3.5 million investment from FSD Africa to enhance its footprint and scalability across Africa. With this funding, its objective is to bolster 40 pre-seed impact ventures focused on developing solutions for marginalized climate-vulnerable communities in Africa, while also offering comprehensive venture-building assistance.

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