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Kenyan Climate-Tech Startup SunCulture Secures $27.5 Million to Empower Smallholder Farmers

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Kenyan Climate-Tech Startup SunCulture Secures $27.5 Million to Empower Smallholder Farmers

SunCulture, a Kenyan company providing solar-powered irrigation solutions and agricultural technology to smallholder farmers, has secured a significant investment of $27.5 million in a Series B funding round.

This funding will fuel the company’s growth and development of new products aimed at empowering smallholder farmers.

SunCulture’s focus is on increasing food production through a combination of climate-smart technologies, financial resources, and a digital marketplace specifically designed for smallholder farmers.

They currently hold a dominant position in Sub-Saharan Africa, boasting over 50% market share for solar irrigation systems.

Their innovative solar-powered water pumps and irrigation systems have been a game-changer, providing farmers with improved water access, reduced labor requirements, and ultimately, increased crop yields.

The funding round attracted a diverse range of international investors, including well-known names like Reed Hastings and The Schmidt Family Foundation, alongside infrastructure and development-focused entities like InfraCo Africa Limited and Acumen Fund. Existing investors, including EDF Group, Equator, and the Acumen Resilience Agriculture Fund (ARAF), also participated in the round.

This significant investment will allow SunCulture to expand its product offerings, enter new markets, and further develop its technological platform.

The ultimate goal is to enhance smallholder farmer productivity and equip them with the tools they need to be more resilient in the face of climate challenges.

“This is a critical moment for SunCulture, our team, and the farmers we serve,” said Samir Ibrahim, CEO and co-founder of SunCulture.

“The investment is a true reflection of our team’s dedication and hard work. It strengthens our commitment to making agriculture more profitable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. With this fresh injection of capital, we are poised to accelerate our impact and deliver our transformative technology to a wider network of farmers across the globe.”

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FINCA Awards $400,000 to 12 Social Entrepreneurs Battling Poverty in Africa

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FINCA Awards $400,000 to 12 Social Entrepreneurs Battling Poverty in Africa

Twelve African entrepreneurs were celebrated for their innovative solutions to poverty during the inaugural FINCA Ventures Prize Competition.

Funded by generous donors, the competition awarded a total of $400,000 in grants to support social enterprises across Sub-Saharan Africa.

FINCA Ventures, the investment arm of FINCA International, a leader in global poverty eradication for 40 years, organized the competition.

The initiative aimed to empower social entrepreneurs tackling critical issues in the region, including healthcare access, agricultural development, financial inclusion, and the protection of vulnerable groups.

Winners addressed challenges like improving value for local farmers (Rio Fish), bridging healthcare gaps (Bena Care, CheckUps, OneHealth), and combating the exploitation of female fish traders (Rio Fish).

“We are thrilled to support these inspiring changemakers who are driving positive social impact across Africa,” said a spokesperson for FINCA Ventures.

“Their dedication to improving lives aligns perfectly with FINCA’s mission of eradicating poverty.”

Award Breakdown

  • First Place (US$70,000 each): Angela Odero (Rio Fish), Ashley Speyer (US partner of Kazi Yetu), Naom Monari (Bena Care), Sona Shah (Co-founder of Neopenda)
  • Second Place (US$20,000 each): Baobaby, CheckUps, Sprout, Technovera/Pelebox
  • Third Place (US$10,000 each): Emergency Response Africa, Koolbox, OneHealth, Sommalife

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Pan-African Investor Renew Capital Makes Its First Ghana Move, Backs Fintech Affinity

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Pan-African Investor Renew Capital Makes Its First Ghana Move, Backs Fintech Affinity

Renew Capital, a firm specializing in impact investments across Africa, has announced its debut investment in Ghana.

The recipient, fintech company Affinity, will receive backing to fuel their continental expansion plans.

This move marks a significant first for Renew Capital, not just in Ghana, but across the continent.

It comes shortly after the February 2024 launch of their latest tech fund, Renew Venture Lab Fund 2 (RVL2). This fund targets investments in tech-driven, asset-light businesses across Africa.

Renew Capital is known for supporting innovative, high-growth companies.

They manage investments for Renew Capital Angels and previously launched the Renew Venture Lab Fund series focused on early-stage tech companies with a “founder-centric” approach.

Following the closure of Renew Venture Lab Fund 1, they introduced RVL2, aiming to invest in roughly 50 tech startups across Africa.

“The most successful companies in RVL2 will be eligible for larger investments from Renew Capital Fund 1, our growth-stage investment fund,” Renew Capital stated.

“This is our first investment in Ghana,” said JC Oelofse, Renew Capital’s Head of Investment, following the Affinity deal. “We’re excited to support their expansion goals across the continent, where millions still lack access to financial services.”

Founded in 2010, Affinity operates as a digital banking platform.

They acquired a Ghanaian microfinance business in February 2020 and secured a savings and loan license from the Bank of Ghana in March 2022.

Affinity offers a range of services, including current, savings, and investment accounts, alongside transfers, payments, and loans.

Their core mission is to expand financial inclusion in Africa by reaching underserved populations.

“At Affinity, we’ve built a fully integrated platform focused on financial inclusion,” explained CEO and Founder Tarek Mouganie.

“We effectively address challenges faced by individuals and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) lacking access to financial services across sub-Saharan Africa.”

 

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South African BPO Provider Procera Secures $18.8 Million in Funding From Vantaga Capital for Global Expansion

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South African BPO Provider Procera Secures $18.8 Million in Funding From Vantaga Capital for Global Expansion

Johannesburg-based business process outsourcing (BPO) company Procera Group has secured R346 million (US$18.8 million) in funding from Africa-focused investment firm Vantage Capital.
 
The investment will be used to fuel Procera’s international expansion plans and includes the acquisition of a minority stake from the company’s founders by Vantage Capital. Procera will also leverage the investment for potential future acquisitions.

Founded in 1990, Procera has grown from a debt recovery solutions provider into a diversified BPO services company, serving over 50 blue-chip clients across various industries like retail, finance, energy, and telecommunications. 
 
The company boasts an international presence with operations in South Africa, Namibia, the UK, the US, and Australia, and employs over 2,700 people.

“We are excited to partner with Procera’s experienced management team and committed long-term investors,” said Roshal Ramdenee, Associate Partner at Vantage Capital.
 
“Procera’s commitment to innovation, including its investment in contact center software with cutting-edge technologies, positions them for significant growth in the global BPO market.”

South Africa’s BPO sector is projected for strong growth, with an estimated 13% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) by 2029, exceeding the global average of 8.5%.  

“Finding high-growth South African companies with the potential to compete in developed markets is a challenge, especially in the current economic climate,” said Warren van der Merwe, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital.
 
“However, we are confident in Procera’s leadership and future prospects, and we are thrilled to support them in their next phase of development.”

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Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures Closes $60 Million Fund to Support African Startups

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Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures Closes $60 Million Fund to Support African Startups

Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV), a pan-African venture capital firm, has closed its first fund at $60 million.
 

This significant milestone allows VKAV to invest in up to 21 high-potential growth-stage companies across the continent.

The funding round saw participation from prominent names like Nigeria’s SCM Capital (formerly Sterling Capital Markets Limited), Taiyo Holdings, and C2C Global Education Japan.

This comes at a time when access to capital is a major hurdle for African startups, particularly those in Series A and B stages.

VKAV aims to bridge this gap by providing crucial funding to these companies.

Partner Ory Okolloh highlights the importance of supporting startups at this critical growth stage, enabling them to achieve long-term success.

Founded in 2022 through a joint venture between Verod Capital and Kepple Africa, VKAV focuses on startups tackling key areas: building digital infrastructure, streamlining business processes, and capitalizing on emerging consumer trends.

The firm has already invested $17.5 million across 12 companies in various sectors – fintech, mobility, e-commerce, proptech, deeptech, insurtech, energy, and healthcare – spanning countries like Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Ivory Coast, and South Africa.

Their investment range falls between $1 million and $3 million. Notable portfolio companies include Moove Africa, KOKO Networks, Shuttlers, Cloudline, Chari, and mTek-Services.

While remaining open to opportunities across sectors, VKAV shows particular interest in three areas: Vertical Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) startups, businesses offering embedded financial services, and players in the future of work landscape.

The collaboration between Verod Capital and Kepple Africa empowers VKAV to provide hands-on support to their portfolio companies.

This includes guidance on navigating Africa’s complex economic environment, best practices for operations, and strategies for improved governance.

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Pan-African Beauty Startup Zuri Secures Investment from Launch Africa Ventures

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Pan-African Beauty Startup Zuri Secures Investment from Launch Africa Ventures

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Pan-African beauty startup Zuri has secured its first institutional tech investment from Launch Africa Ventures.

This investment comes after a period of impressive growth for Zuri, fueled by the company’s vision and leadership.

Zuri is a Black-owned company that designs, manufactures, and distributes hair products, cosmetics, and services.

They cater to both individual customers and businesses, including through a franchise model.

Recently, they’ve expanded their offerings to include performance and inventory management systems for hair salons.

Zuri is operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda, with plans to expand further into France and Belgium.

The company is on a mission to revolutionize the beauty industry by celebrating diversity, empowering women, and making beauty experiences more accessible.

Zuri’s remarkable journey began in 2016 when CEO Gisela Van Houcke started selling products from her car.

Through hard work and strategic planning, she has transformed Zuri into a powerful tech-driven company with a presence across Africa.

Zuri boasts over 20,000 loyal customers, 60 passionate employees, and over 500,000 engaged social media followers.

Launch Africa Ventures sees this investment as an opportunity in the growing African beautytech industry.

They plan to support Zuri’s geographical and product diversification, improve their technology strategy, and help them find new partnerships.

“Zuri is more than just a beauty brand,” says Gisela Van Houcke. “We are redefining beauty standards and creating a space for women to embrace themselves.”

The funding from Launch Africa Ventures will allow Zuri to expand further across Africa and Europe, solidify its market leadership, and continue to empower women worldwide.

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Adenia Partners Secures $470 Million for Largest Africa-Focused Fund

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Adenia Partners Secures $470 Million for Largest Africa-Focused Fund

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Adenia Partners, a Mauritius-based private equity firm specializing in African investments, has announced the successful closing of its fifth and largest Africa-focused fund, the Adenia Africa Fund, at $470 million.

This fund surpasses Adenia’s previous fundraising efforts and attracted investments from both existing and new partners, including Norfund AS, the US International Development Finance Corporation, and Canada’s Findev Inc.

Notably, the Public Investment Corp. Ltd., a prominent African fund manager, and pension funds from Ghana and Kenya also participated.

Adenia surpassed its initial target of $400 million, thanks in part to long-standing investors like the European Investment Bank and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, who doubled their commitments, contributing a total of $300 million.

“We’re excited by the strong investor confidence in this fund,” said Christophe Scalbert, Head of Investor Relations at Adenia.

“This allows us to increase our average investment size per company to $40 million.”

Adenia focuses on acquiring controlling stakes (51% to 100%) in medium-sized businesses across various sectors, including fintech, telecommunications, and healthcare. This approach, according to Managing Director Alexis Caude, allows them to “be in the driver’s seat” and influence exit strategies.

“Our goal is to deliver net returns exceeding 15% in hard currency for our investors,” explained Caude. “Taking control allows us to manage exit timing more effectively.”

Founded in 2002, Adenia boasts over two decades of experience in Africa.

With headquarters in Mauritius, they operate in seven African countries with a team of 21 investment professionals. The firm recently opened an office in Nigeria, a rapidly growing economy despite its investment challenges.

Currently, Adenia is collaborating with Air Liquide SA on a deal involving operations across 12 African nations.

The firm faces competition from other established investors like Alterra Capital Partners and Helios Investment Partners.

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Kenyan Clean Cookstove Company BURN Secures $12 Million to Expand Across Africa

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Kenyan Clean Cookstove Company BURN Secures $12 Million to Expand Across Africa

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BURN Manufacturing, a leading Kenyan clean cookstove producer, has secured $12 million to accelerate the distribution of its clean cooking solutions across Africa.

This investment, led by Key Carbon Ltd., a company specializing in carbon project finance, will allow BURN to increase access to cleaner cooking options for millions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The funding builds on a successful partnership between BURN and Key Carbon.

In 2021, Key Carbon provided $25 million, enabling BURN to make their cookstoves more affordable.

This latest investment will focus on expanding distribution of electric cookstoves in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, while promoting biomass cookstoves in Nigeria, DRC, Tanzania, and Mozambique over the next two years.

Traditional cooking methods, reliant on firewood and charcoal, pose significant health, environmental, and economic challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Roughly 950 million people depend on these methods, leading to respiratory illnesses, deforestation, and increased carbon emissions.

Additionally, the burden of fuel collection often falls on women and girls, limiting their opportunities.

Peter Scott, BURN’s Founder and CEO, highlights the company’s impact:

“Since 2014, our industry-leading stoves have transformed lives for over 24 million people.”

This new investment is expected to reach an additional 1.5 million and avoid over 12 million tons of carbon emissions in the next seven years.

BURN’s expansion, fueled by carbon finance innovation, offers a promising path towards cleaner cooking and a healthier future for millions across Africa.

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Ghanaian Fintech Zeepay Secures $3 Million Investment From Verdant Capital Hybrid Fund

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Ghanaian Fintech Zeepay Secures $3 Million Investment From Verdant Capital Hybrid Fund

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Zeepay, a leading Ghanaian remittance and mobile money provider, announced today the closing of a $3 million equity investment from Verdant Capital Hybrid Fund. This marks Verdant Capital’s fourth investment in just over two years.

The ten-year-old company, with a presence in over 23 countries and a workforce exceeding 200 employees spread across Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean, has raised over $23 million since its inception.

Zeepay plans to leverage the fresh capital injection to solidify its financial standing in anticipation of significant growth projected for 2024.

Zeepay stands out as a non-teleco mobile money operator in Africa, holding licenses in Ghana, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Barbados.

The company specializes in facilitating remittance deposits directly into mobile wallets, functioning seamlessly across various networks and partnering with diverse stakeholders.

“We are thrilled to welcome Verdant Capital Hybrid Fund as a new shareholder in our mobile money journey,” said Andrew Takyi-Appiah, Managing Director of Zeepay.

This investment strengthens Zeepay’s position as a leading player and positions the company for continued expansion.

It also solidifies Zeepay’s attractiveness to investors, becoming the fifth institutional shareholder to join the company in less than three years. This follows the initial $7.9 million equity investment by Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P).

Kwabena Appenteng, Director at Verdant Capital, expressed his confidence in Zeepay, highlighting the company’s “solid track record of hard currency earnings through its remittance-to-wallet business model and vast growth opportunities across Africa.”

He further commended “the strength of the management team at Zeepay” as a key factor in the company’s success.

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