Climate Tech in Africa Part 2: 20 Startups to Watch

This post is the second part of our Climate Tech in Africa series which provides a deep dive into the climate tech landscape of the region: the main players, hubs, challenges and opportunities. 

Climate tech in Africa does face a few hurdles: poor internet connectivity and high access costs, power sector challenges, unfavorable regulation,  weak ecosystem connections, and a general lack of access to funding. Yet despite these odds, there are over 600 tech hubs across the continent with a number of different incubators and accelerator programs. 

COP26 has given a feeling of optimism for the innovation potential of  Africa. With likely almost 8 billion people by 2050, Africa has innovative potential to be a large contributor to the climate tech landscape.  In this post, we highlight some of the startups in Africa that illustrate that potential across the energy, agtech, foodtech, waste management, materials, mobility, and carbon capture sectors. However, these startups have been categorized based on the emissions categories of our running list. 

 

Energy use in Industry and Buildings

Image: katexpower.com

Founded: 2021 – Lagos, Nigeria

Founder: Onyekachi Nwafor

Elevator pitch: KatexPower is an indigenous renewable energy solution company, providing sustainable energy services to offgrid (unserved), underserved homes/communities, businesses. We are very passionate about proving energy to off-grid communities by deploying solar mini-grid solutions and providing efficient renewable energy solutions to private residential, corporate clients, and government agencies. 

Problem they solve: The continued heavy reliance on fossil fuel powered generators in Nigeria by government institutions, businesses and household for electricity supply constitutes a major threat to the climate change plans in Nigeria. Fossil fuel generators have become the primary source of electricity for most businesses and households, as supply from the national grid remains abysmally low.

Stage: Seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

D-Olivette_logo
Image: doe.com.ng

Founded: 2018 – Lagos, Nigeria

Founder: Tunde Adeyemi

Elevator pitch: D-Olivette is accelerating the use of domestic Biodigester systems such as the Kitchen Box and other products to encourage clean cooking, bio-waste management and rural electrification systems to serve disaster-hit areas, rural and off grid communities in rural Africa.

Problem they solve: Rural Nigerian families majorly use firewood & harmful items for energy which leads to over 1 billion trees cut down yearly in Nigeria for energy and 100,000 Nigerians die yearly from firewood smoke. Kitchen Box™ & SMAB™ Bio-Tanks produce daily biogas for cooking and generate at least 3 hours daily electricity by feeding organic waste into any of our domestic Biodigesters.” You get to cook for free, get electricity, and cut over 90% of energy expenses for over 10 years while producing free fertilizer.

Stage: Seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: allbase.energy

Founded: 2020 – Lagos, Nigeria

Founder: Kunle Odebunmi

Elevator pitch: AllBase delivers affordable and reliable solar energy systems to households and small businesses in Africa.

Problem they solve: The founders of AllBase Energy grew up experiencing power supplies that were inadequate and intermittent. Their company is driven by the desire to provide power that is clean and sustainable to communities and businesses so that they no longer have to worry about the lights going off.

Stage: Seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: seah4.co.za

Founded: 2021 – Cape Town, South Africa

Founder: Johannes Bohdalovsky

Elevator pitch: SeaH4 are creating Biofuels from farmed algae.

Problem they solve: As climate change impacts increase in frequency and severity, urgent action needs to be taken to find fossil fuel alternatives that are easily scalable in a short time frame and use readily available technology.

Stage: Pre-seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: jazaenergy.com

Founded: 2015 – Mikocheni, Tanzania

Founders: Jeff Schnurr and Sebastian Manchester

Elevator pitch: The last mile energy company. We build solar energy charging stations and rent batteries in off-grid communities

Problem they solve: Jaza is building the future of energy through a distributed network of charging stations for batteries that power entire homes and communities. Hubs are one-stop energy shops, the solar panels on the roof generate enough energy to power hundreds of homes. The Hubs charge the Packs our customers use to power their homes, and serve as important community distribution points

Stage: Seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: brayfoil.com

Founded: 2017 – Johannesburg, South Africa

Founders: Robert Bray and Matthew Bray

Elevator pitch: Brayfoil has developed a patented biomimicry-inspired blade technology that changes shape like a bird’s wing.

Problem they solve: Brayfoil identified one major obstacle in the face of current wind power technology. This is that although current blades have optimal shape during normal loads, when they are under extreme loads they generate massive force on the turbine base and components, resulting in shorter life-spans.

Stage: Seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: koolbox.com

Founded: 2014 – Accra, Ghana

Founders: Ayoola Dominic and Deborah Gael

Elevator pitch: Our Kool Technology combines the natural forces of the sun and water to create eco-friendly, solar refrigeration products for domestic, commercial, and health care use.

Problem they solve: Koolboks provides a reliable and alternative long term storage technique due to the superior insulation and ice battery technology employed in the design. Koolboks also comes with a PAYGO device. It can function as a refrigerator or as a freezer depending on the preference of the user and offers 24-hour refrigeration from solar energy. Koolboks stores energy in the form of ice guaranteeing 4-7 days of cooling without sunlight.

Stage: Undisclosed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

#8. Plentify 

Source: plenitfy.io

Founded: 2017 – Cape Town, South Africa

Founders: Jon Kornik and Kailas Nair

Elevator pitch: Plentify has created a smart platform that adapts home utilities around user behavior and the needs of the electric grid.

Problem they solve: Rapid urbanization and climate change are continuously placing pressure on electricity grids worldwide. One particularly destructive force to the grid which Plentify aim to address is electric water heaters which often use excessively and can be unnecessarily costly.

Stage: Grant

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Waste (water & landfills)

#9. SALUBATA 

Image: salubataofficial.com

Founded: 2018 – Lagos, Nigeria

Founders: Fela Buyi and Omokanye Adetona 

Elevator pitch: Salubata produce modular footwear knitted from plastic waste.

Problem they solve: The average person produces 0.5kg of plastic waste per day, roughly the same weight as a pair of shoes (between 0.3 and 0.5kg). Salubata aim to upcycle the plastic waste into lightweight, fashionable footwear in an attempt to divert it from landfills and elsewhere.

Stage: Pre-seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: hyabioplastics.com

Founded: 2020 – Kampala, Uganda

Founder: Musinguzi Mark

Elevator pitch: Hya Bioplastics is a startup that creates biodegradable packaging material from the largely undervalued agricultural waste and cassava starch.

Problem they solve: Hya Bioplastics exists to give every business across Africa a cost-effective green packaging alternative. We look to solve the plastic problem using environmentally friendly food packaging made from local waste streams.

Stage: Early-stage

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: weeecentre.com

Founded: 2012 – Nairobi, Kenya

Founders: Bonnie Mbithi and Simone Andersson

Elevator pitch: We ensure the safe handling of electronic waste, collect and ensure proper disposal and recycling

Problem they solve:Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE Centre) offers the services of awareness creation (training) and safe disposal of electrical and electronic waste (e-Waste); in accordance with NEMA waste regulations and WEEE regulations that are protective to both the environment and public health. As a fundamental core value, The WEEE Centre runs an environmentally friendly operation. We are committed to the efficient, safe and conservative disposal of electrical and electronic waste. 

Stage: Undisclosed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use

Image: ruralfarmershub.com/index

Founded: 2018 – Abuja, Nigeria

Founder: Segun Adegun

Elevator pitch: At Rural Farmers Hub, we are returning farmers to profitability through our crop intelligence solution called Capture™. Capture™uses big data to provide reliable, detailed and highly granular information of a farm to mitigate risks and optimize output.

Problem they solve: Nearly half of Nigerians live in rural areas where their primary occupation is farming. Farmers walk through several hectares, multiple times weekly, looking for crops that are stressed or diseased. This is not an easy thing to do and discourages a lot of young people from this vital economic activity which reduces the number of people farmers can rely on for crop observations and advice. We have created n e-Extension software, named Capture, that uses remote sensing tech to provide “near” realtime, data-driven and personalized advisory & extension service to farmers remotely via SMS, robocall or in-person via a Village Agent. 

Stage: Seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: apolloagriculture.com

Founded: 2015 – Nairobi, Kenya

Founder:  Eli Pollack and Earl St Sauver

Elevator pitch: Apollo Agriculture is a technology company based in Nairobi, Kenya that helps small-scale farmers maximize their profits. 

Problem they solve: Apollo bundles everything a farmer needs: financing, farm inputs, advice, insurance, and market access, when possible. We do this through satellite data and machine learning enable better credit decisions, and automated operations keep costs low and processes scalable.

Stage: Series B

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: neruvatechnologies.com

Founded: 2018 – Nairobi, Kenya

Founder: Kevin Bett 

Elevator pitch: Neruva is an agritech company that specializes in the production of climate control farming units called Ecocapsules which help farmers double their revenue from the sale of organic crops and fish by cultivating it in a simple and cost effective manner. 

Problem they solve: Our Ecocapsule utilizes a technology called aquaponics to produce high yield of crops and fish. Here, when you feed the fish, they secrete urine and solid wastes which are turned into fertilizers after undergoing a series of reaction. The fertilizers known as nitrates are then absorbed by plant roots before the water goes back to the fish tank. In this system, you do not need to do frequent water changes since it it self cleaning through the balancing of the needs of crop and fish. In order to improve its productivity, we use a robotic vehicle to feed the fish depending on the sensor readings of the fish water. All activities can be monitored through a dashboard which can either be accessed by computer or smartphone. 

Stage: Pre-seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: mogalemeat.com

Founded: 2020 – Pretoria, South Africa

Founders: Dr. Paul Bartels and Dr. Elize Venter

Elevator pitch: Mogale Meat are producing cell cultivated meat from free-roaming livestock and wildlife such as antelope and cattle.

Problem they solve: Mogale aims to use cell-cultivated meat as a means of not only mitigating the climate impacts associated with rearing traditional livestock, but also as a way of addressing South Africa’s malnutrition and macronutrient deficiency issues.

Stage: Pre-seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Image: denovodairy.com

 

Founded: 2021 – Cape Town, South Africa

Founders: Jean Louwrens, Richard Grieves, Leah Bessa, and Joni Symon

Elevator pitch: Denovo is the first African company using precision fermentation technology to produce animal-free dairy products.

Problem they solve: Raising a cow until the age of milk production requires large amounts of land, water & food. This process is highly costly on the planet especially given that all is needed for many diary products is the milk proteins that give it its taste, texture and consistency.

Stage: Pre-seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

Energy use in transport

#17. BasiGo

Image: basi-go.com

Founded: 2021 – Nairobi, Kenya

Founders: Jit Bhattacharya and Jonathan Green 

Elevator pitch: BasiGo is an early-stage e-mobility start-up looking to revolutionize the public transportation sector by providing matatu owners with a cost-effective electric alternative to diesel.

Problem they solve: BasiGo offers bus operators an Electric Bus solution that is more affordable, more convenient, and more reliable than a diesel alternative. To help bus operators receive the benefits of electric drive, BasiGo provides a complete electric bus solution including:

1) Electric Buses that operate all day on a single charge with proven, safe battery technology

2) Charging depots located close to bus routes providing guaranteed charging and expert preventative maintenance every night

3) Innovative Pay-As-You-Go financing that makes BasiGo buses affordable to purchase and lower cost to operate than diesel buses

Stage: Seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

#18. MAX

Image: max.ng

Founded: 2015 – Lagos, Nigeria

Founders: Chinedu Adodoh and Adetayo Bamiduro

Elevator pitch: We are bringing the future of mobility to Africa today.

Problem they solve: We are leading EV transformation in Africa as the first company to design and customize electric vehicles and drive adoption at scale for public transportation.

Our EV initiative will lead Africa on a transition to eco-friendly mobility fueled by clean energy and still serve the purpose of extending access to cost-effective and safe transportation for everyone.

Stage: Undisclosed

To find more about its products and mission, see here. 

Industry

#19. Ecovon 

Image: ecovon-gh.com

Founded: 2018 – Accra, Ghana

Founders: Isaac Brenya and Foster Osei

Elevator pitch: We’re revolutionising material production by using coconut husk and sugarcane to create a fully sustainable, naturally flame retardant, anti-fungal, binder-free alternative to wood.

Problem they solve: We have developed a unique technique to achieve a wood alternative as natural, efficient and inexpensive as ours. We do it by harvesting coconuts, separating the husk, milling and drying it, and then pressing it into a board. It makes a product that is stronger & more durable than commercial wood-based panels, significantly less expensive than traditional wood, 100% natural and compostable, unlike any other commercial wood and with natural lignin content substitutes traditional carcinogenic binders.

Stage: Early-stage

To find more about its products and mission, see here. 

GHG Capture, Use, and Storage

Image: africandata.tech

Founded: 2019 – Cape Town, South Africa

Founders: Wihan Bekker and Jean-Pierre du Plessis 

Elevator pitch: We leverage data, technology and regenerative principles towards achieving social and environmental impact at scale. AD-Tech utilises concepts of lean business and impact development to create strategies and frameworks for regenerative projects that reverse  climate change and create healthy ecosystems and abundance.

Problem they solve: AD-Tech leverages technology, data and regenerative principles to develop strategies, frameworks and projects aimed towards maximising social and environmental impact while utilising concepts of lean business and impact development to achieve regeneration at scale.

Stage: Pre-seed

To find more about its products and mission, see here.

How do these startups fit into the bigger picture? 

Written by our guest blogger and Climate Tech in Africa expert, Christian Alafaa, the first part of this series offers a broader view of the climate tech landscape in Africa by identifying where the hubs are, who the main funders are, and what the main challenges and opportunities the region holds. 

Know of any other interesting startups in Africa

Let us know! We are always seeking to highlight more companies making an amazing impact. Each quarter we hope to highlight more amazing companies, so please, help us make that happen. 

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    Quarterly Online Pitch Competition

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