The U.S International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has invested $25 million in a new fund by Pan-African venture capital firm Novastar Ventures, aimed at supporting startups building agriculture and climate solutions.
The fund will be invested in Novastar’s new investment vehicle Africa People + Planet Fund.
The Africa People + Planet Fund is Novastar’s third pool after the $108 million Africa Fund II, which saw it widen its geographical reach to include West Africa. The East Africa Fund, an $80 million fund with a $12.5 million co-investment facility, was its maiden kitty that invested in 15 startups within the region.
Novastar’s two previous funds have financed tech-enabled startups serving the mass market in various sectors including agriculture, education, and off-grid renewable energy.
Among startups that Novastar has invested in are e-commerce scaleup TradeDepot, insurtech company Turaco, Moniepoint (formerly TeamApt) as well as mPharma.
Novastar will also invest in climate tech startups that use innovative business models “to deploy regenerative forestry, agriculture and aquaculture, biofuels, and biochar, that protect biodiversity, improves soil health and captures carbon,”
The target startups include marketplaces, financial and supply chain services that will enable access-to-market and resilience in the face of climate change. The cleantechs the VC firm plans to back include those dealing in clean utilities, clean construction technologies, electric mobility, smart logistics, the circular economy, and alternative materials that will “help decarbonize the growth that we will see on the continent in the next 10 to 20 years.”
“Going forward, we are looking to build on this experience and use the same tools and strategies to support sustainable, planet-positive, mass-market business models across Africa that the rest of the world can learn from,” Carruthers, said.