ImpactAlpha, September 29 – Impact accelerator program Fledge last year launched Africa Eats to back promising startups in Africa that are strengthening the continent’s food system and farmers’ livelihoods. The holding company has raised nearly $2 million and invested in 27 Fledge graduates.
Fledge’s Luni Libes describes Africa Eats’ model as “a mashup of venture capital, a growth-stage business accelerator, and Berkshire Hathaway.”
Libes is now looking to help the portfolio companies tackle persistent challenges like access to equipment leasing, rainy day funds and insurance. Africa Eats has secured indications of interest for more than $330,000 through a ‘testing the waters’ campaign on WeFunder.
“The more that one works to help African companies grow, the more holes one finds in the infrastructure of business in general, especially financial services,” Libes told ImpactAlpha.
Most of Africa Eats’ portfolio companies are food aggregators, processors and distributors, like Tanzanian logistics company East Africa Fruits and Kenya’s Chicken Basket, which supports small poultry farmers with chicks, feed, training and processing. Obamastove turns agri-waste into cooking fuel. Ziweto provides farmers with livestock vaccines and veterinary products. Cold Hub provides solar-powered cold storage to reduce food waste.
The fund says the portfolio has achieved more than 60% annual revenue growth, and projects more than 40% over the next five years.
If the crowdfunding test is successful, Africa Eats aims to file for a $500,000 Reg CF offering next month. The capital will support startups’ cash flow management, vendor payments, online accounting and other financial management services. It will also cover solar equipment and truck leases for reliable energy and transport access, as well as a shared credit and savings pool and mutual insurance for the companies and the farmers they support.