Africa | April 18, 2019

Acumen’s KawiSafi Ventures raises $70 million for off-grid solar ventures in East Africa

David Bank
ImpactAlpha Editor

David Bank

ImpactAlpha, April 18 — The nonprofit venture firm raised the for-profit fund through its subsidiary, Acumen Capital Partners.

KawiSafi already has invested $21 million in five companies, including d.light, a leading solar lantern and home-system provider; Bboxx, a pay-as-you-go solar provider; and Lendable, a Kenya-based consumer and small-business lender. “We have seen proven, profitable businesses emerge that are already transforming how low-income people access electricity,” said KawiSafi’s Amar Inamdar.

The fund aims to provide clean energy to 10 million people and at least one million tons of carbon dioxide over 10 years. Investors include the Green Climate Fund, the Skoll Foundation and Chris Anderson, curator of the TED conference, who is married to Acumen’s Jacqueline Novogratz.

Another investor is venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, who founded Future Ventures after leaving DFJ in 2017. KawaSafi is structured as a 12-year fund, rather than the usual 10 years.