Climate Finance | September 6, 2023

Catalyst Fund raises $8.6 million for climate adaptation in Africa

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, September 6 — Nairobi-based Catalyst Fund has raised $8.6 million towards a target $40 million fund to back high-impact tech startups working to improve the resilience of underserved, climate-vulnerable communities in Africa.

“Despite climate change being a global reality, Africa is the most vulnerable continent to its adverse effects, even though the region contributes a mere 3% to global CO2 emissions,” said Catalyst Fund’s Maxime Bayen, now the firm’s operating partner.

The venture capital fund will invest in up to 20 startups this year; it has backed 10 so far in Egypt, Senegal, Morocco and other countries. Investors in Catalyst Fund’s first close include FSD Africa, Cisco Foundation, USAID’s Prosper Africa and tech investor Andrew Bredenkamp.

Climate finance

Catalyst Fund is looking to invest up to $200,000 each in 40 impact tech startups at the pre-seed stage, with follow-on investments up to $1.5 million in Series A rounds. “We are coming in super early to be the early catalyzer for other investors to come in,” said Catalyst Fund’s Maelis Carraro.

Target sectors include climate-smart agtech, fintech and insurtech, and fisher, waste and water management.

Portfolio building

Catalyst Fund, launched in 2015, last year made the transition from an accelerator to a venture capital fund to support founders long term. Graduates from the accelerator have gone on to raise over $650 million in follow-on funding, according to Catalyst Fund.