Energy focused tech startup launches in Kenya

October 17, 2019 • East Africa, Mining & Energy, Startups, Top Stories

VentureBuilder officially launched on Wednesday, 16 October 2019, with support from the DOEN Foundation, Facebook, Shell Foundation, and USAID. The energy-focused startup aims at scaling African-owned and managed off-grid solar enterprises – mandated with expanding energy access to underserved populations in Africa.

VentureBuilder wants to tackle the lack of access to modern electricity services by helping indigenous distributors grow into high-impact solar companies.

According to VentureBuilder, its launch will enable it to pioneer a new investment model that provides ‘patient’ early-stage capital to its local partners across Africa, combined with a specialised suite of technical expertise that will accelerate each partner’s path to scale.

VentureBuilder wants to tackle the lack of access to modern electricity services by helping indigenous distributors grow into high-impact solar companies that deliver modern, affordable, and reliable electricity. This will be done by focusing on three key areas to close the electricity access gap:

  1. Partnering with existing local African distribution enterprises that cater to rural underserved communities.
  2. Investing the much-needed ‘patient’ capital alongside Enterprise Development Services to enable entrepreneurs to scale their business.
  3. Rigorous tracking of key metrics associated with business performance and social impact.

“As Africa’s off-grid solar revolution has evolved, many industry insiders have recognised the need to empower a new generation of local enterprises,” says Dan Murphy, Managing Director of VentureBuilder. “We’re excited to partner with these local businesses and provide them with the human and financial resources they need to sustainably and profitably scale their impact”.

VentureBuilder has been co-developed by Catalyst Off-Grid Advisors and Open Capital Advisors since 2017, leveraging both companies’ decades of experience in building, advising, and financing off-grid solar companies. The development phase was made possible with support from Facebook, who also committed additional financing alongside the DOEN Foundation, Shell Foundation, and USAID for the implementation phase.

“The DOEN Foundation has supported dozens of energy access initiatives over the years. We believe VentureBuilder can be a gamechanger in supporting and scaling indigenous enterprises across Africa, in areas most in need,” says Saskia Werther, Program Manager at the DOEN Foundation.

Edited by Jenna Cook

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