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Ugandan start-up to benefit from sh7b climate change fund

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By Prossy Nandudu and and Agencies

Uganda’s Agro Supply company is among the 10 startups in Africa to benefit from the $2 million (about sh 7.3b ) catalyst fund from the pre-seed venture capital (VC) fund aimed at building solutions to improve the resilience of climate-vulnerable communities in Africa.

This was announced Tuesday in Nairobi, at the inaugural launch of the cohort of the new $30 million VC fund of Catalyst Fund, anchored by financial sector development agency FSD Africa.

With the fund, selected startups will support early-stage founders to develop technology that will make Africa more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Each of the 10 startups will be offered $100,000 of equity investments as well as $100,000 of hands-on venture-building support.

Speaking during the announcement, Maelis Carraro, Managing Partner of Catalyst Fund said they are working with the ten companies, they hope to build a more resilient and sustainable future for agriculture.

“Our goal is to back mission-driven founders that share our vision of a world where every individual has the tools and opportunities they need to thrive. From agtech to insurtech, waste management, disaster response, and carbon finance, these startups display finance, tech, and business model innovations that will help communities better adapt to climate impacts and grow their resilience,” Carraro said.

Selected companies include

Agro Supply from Uganda: A mobile layaway system that helps farmers save money using their mobile phones and to cash out to purchase farm inputs such as drought-resistant seeds, from maize to sorghum, sunflower and soybean during the planting season.

Assuraf from Senegal: A digital insurtech platform offering end-users access to a range of insurance products.

Bekia from Egypt is a tech-enabled waste collection solution enabling companies and households to exchange their waste like plastic, paper, electronics, metals, cooking oil against a financial incentive paid on a digital wallet.

Eight Medical from Nigeria a cloud-native Emergency Medical Services (EMS) platform that provides on-demand urgent care when and where it is needed. This “911 for Africa” connects emergency medical responders on motorcycles to users in distress in 10 minutes or less, including for climate-induced crises.

Farm to Feed from Kenya is a food supply chain company that is providing a digitally-enabled solution to food loss/waste. Their climate-smart solution focuses on providing a market for imperfect and surplus produce from farmers, contributing to food security and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Farmz2U from Nigeria and Kenya, an agtech enterprise driving sustainable agriculture. Through Farmz2U, farmers can access personalized farming advice (especially on regenerative farming practices), affordable credit, quality and traceable inputs, and direct buyers for their harvest.

Octavia Carbon from Kenya the Global South’s first Direct Air Capture (DAC) company that is building the world’s lowest-cost DAC hub. Octavia is currently building DAC machinery to capture carbon from the air for resale as either carbon dioxide or carbon credits to off-takers.

Paddy Cover from Nigeria works with established insurers and digital platforms to design and offer bespoke products via their platform that facilitates flexible insurance packages, including health, life and, in the future, index-based crop insurance. The offerings are built into the lifestyle touchpoints of the customer, either as a convenience or as complementary value-adds.

Sand to Green from Morocco transforms deserts into cultivable land using agroforestry methodology and a solar-powered desalination system to design climate-smart regenerative farms.

VAIS from Egypt a precision agtech startup committed to climate resilience and food security by providing data intelligence to farms via their Farm GATE application, which is powered by proprietary artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML)-based virtual field probing (VFP) technology, to enable better use of water and other farm inputs to produce better yields.

Commenting on the development, Juliet Munro, the director of Digital Economy at FSDA Africa said by harnessing the power of technology, and specifically fintech innovation, they will spur the development of climate resilience solutions for Africa, thereby helping deliver on COP27’s core themes of adaptation and implementation.

She added that the companies are examples of innovations that will enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities across the continent. COP27 in Egypt last year called for more private-sector financing to fill the $330B funding gap for adaptation and resilience by 2030. It also called for more local innovations to support communities in building resilience to climate impacts.

“So the catalyst Fund’s new cohort exemplifies what these innovative climate solutions for the most vulnerable could look like. We are also thrilled to be backing companies in Francophone Africa and Northern Africa for the first time. We intend to back many more startups like them across the African continent in the years to come,” added Aaron Fu, Partner at Catalyst Fund.

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