The Catalyst Fund, a pioneering pre-seed venture capital fund and accelerator focused on driving climate resilience innovation in Africa, has announced its first closing with over 20% of its targeted US$40 million fund closed.
This milestone signals its strong commitment to shaping a climate-resilient future through bolstering early-stage startups across the African continent.
The Catalyst Fund has garnered significant backing from esteemed investors including FSD Africa, FSDAi, Cisco Foundation, USAID Prosper Africa, and seasoned tech investor Andrew Bredenkamp.
These visionary partners share the Fund’s mission to enhance the reach and impact of pre-seed companies at the forefront of building a climate-resilient future in Africa.
With support from JPMorgan Chase & Co and the Global Environmental Facility, Catalyst Fund also works to provide dedicated impact measurement and research support to climate innovators, share insights and learnings, and enable partnerships via its Ecosystem Hub.
With a strategic focus on solutions in agtech and fishery management, food systems, insurtech and climate fintech, cold chain, waste management, and water management, the Catalyst Fund is expediting sustainable green growth. It will focus on solutions that can enable communities to better prepare for and manage shocks, adapt livelihoods to climate impacts and build long-term resilience.
“At FSDAi, we believe strongly that Africa has the potential to lead in climate solutions provided it has the finance it needs. Our mission is to support that by investing in innovative solutions that will help channel finance to under-resourced parts of the green economy.
“This collaboration with the Catalyst Fund, part of a package of investments totalling US$19.5m which we are announcing today, will do that by supporting entrepreneurs developing made-in-Africa climate-resilient solutions, so contributing both to Africa’s green economic growth and to global efforts to tackle the impact of climate change,” said Anne-Marie Chidzero, Chief Investment Officer, FSDAi.
The Catalyst Fund will support 40 pre-seed startups, with a focus on backing mission-driven local and women founders, offering essential early-stage capital and pairing it with hands-on, tailor-made venture-building support to accelerate startups’ growth.
The Fund’s commitment extends beyond the initial stage, as it pledges to provide follow-on capital to startups in their Seed and Series A rounds. By bridging this critical funding gap, the Catalyst Fund addresses a key bottleneck for climate ventures in Africa, positioning them for further growth-stage funding at Series B.
“By blending equity investments with hands-on venture building, we believe we can unlock tremendous potential for innovative companies on the continent. Supporting ventures at the pre-seed stage requires more than capital. Our venture builders are the engineers, data scientists and growth marketing experts who can supercharge founders’ journeys toward building scalable and highly impactful ventures,” said Maelis Carraro, Managing Partner of the Catalyst Fund.
This initial close marks the Catalyst Fund’s transition from a philanthropic startup accelerator to a venture capital fund, building on seven years of experience supporting startups on the continent.
The first Catalyst Accelerator, backed by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, PayPal, and Mastercard Foundation, supported 61 startups across emerging markets; 70% on the African continent, including companies such as Wasoko, Chipper Cash, and Turaco.
“The Cisco Foundation respects the approach that Catalyst Fund is taking in bringing venture support, investment and attention to high-impact climate solutions in Africa, especially those that focus on adaptation to climate change in this critical region. We believe that the fund will also be pivotal in channelling both resources and growth for solutions that foster a stronger climate-resilient ecosystem in this market,” said Jocelyn Matyas, Climate Impact Portfolio Manager at Cisco Foundation.
The first close of the Catalyst Fund is a resounding testament to its commitment to driving climate innovation in Africa. With a robust network of strategic partners and a uniquely comprehensive approach to nurturing startups, the Catalyst Fund stands poised to usher in a new era of climate tech across the continent.