EchoVC, a seed and early-stage technology venture capital firm, has announced the launch of its EchoVC Eco Pilot Fund I in partnership with Shell Foundation with co-funding through UK Aid from the UK Government.
It also said it has $2.5 million for the first fund through the generous support of impact-driven LPs who share its vision for supporting mission-aligned founders addressing some of society’s greatest environmental challenges.
This new fund vehicle will identify and invest in the most promising pre-seed startups shaping the future of climate, energy, agriculture and mobility. The Fund will invest broadly in companies led by Africans in Sub-Saharan Africa including a specific focus on companies in Nigeria and Kenya delivering particular solutions.
Other areas of interest include but are not limited to, innovations in energy storage, cooling, and off-grid cooking, smart energy systems and mini-grids, affordable and reliable access to renewable energy, and new approaches to urban transportation including alt-powered two and three-wheelers.
Taiwo Kamson, Principal at EchoVC said: “Our Eco Pilot Fund I is not just any fund but a strategic first-step initiative designed to address the funding gap in specific impact-focused sectors and the respective value chains. We believe that by focusing on these areas, we can make a lasting impact on the growth and development of innovative solutions around agriculture, climate, and energy.”
“Africa’s golden age of entrepreneurship, job creation and household lift will demand that mission-driven founders be backed by high-risk capital. Africa’s needs, while diverse, will not be solved only by investments in fintech,” said Eghosa Omoigui, Managing Partner, EchoVC.
“The objective of our eco pilot fund will be to back founders with first institutional checks and assist them in syndicating financing rounds to support their mission. As a pilot fund, we want to sponsor a pipeline of high-quality founders that create high-quality companies that can be supported later by the increasing number of climate and energy-focused funds. We anticipate that our learnings from this vehicle will feed into our investments to be made from our larger 2024 Eco Fund,” Eghosa Omoigui stated.
“Our approach in coming to market with a relatively tiny pilot fund was to work out the kinks of backing founders in sectors that have historically been underfunded,” said Tsendai Chagwedera, Partner at EchoVC. “As one of the most experienced VC funds on the continent, we have constantly sought to develop innovative ways of financing startups that can create long-term positive financial and high-impact returns in a relatively immature venture capital market, and in today’s risk-off market, entrepreneurs benefit from investors that are ready, willing and able to initialize and maintain financing and company building support,” Omoigui continued.