Climate tech VC Satgana closes first fund that targets early-stage startups in Africa, Europe


Climate-tech VC Satgana has reached a final close of its first fund, which targets to back up to 30 early-stage startups in Africa and Europe.

The VC firm reached a final close of £8 million ($8.6 million) following commitments from family offices and high-net-worth individuals, including Maurice Lévy of the Publicis Groupe, and Back Market co-founder Thibaud Hug de Larauze.

Satgana founder and General Partner, Romain Diaz, told TechCrunch that the firm decided to close the fund early and below the initial target owing to the difficult fundraising environment, which is worse for first-time fund managers, and to focus on investing and supporting portfolio companies.

“We launched the fund mid-2022, and we have raised in the most challenging time since 2015. We have managed to make 13 investments and we know that with the current capital commitments, we can execute upon our strategy of investing in 30 companies in this first fund, including follow-on investments,” said Diaz.

“This also paves the way for a new fund in a few years, and it’s likely that we launch different funds with different strategies, maybe one for Europe and another for Africa – but that will come in later; for now, we are really focused on getting this fund right,” he said.

The VC firm invests up to €300,000 ($325,000) in early-stage startups working on mitigating and building resilience to climate change, with a bias for mobility, food and agriculture, energy, industry, buildings and the circular economy sub-sectors.

Its investees in Africa include Amini, a startup bridging the environmental data gap in Africa, Mazi Mobility, a Kenyan mobility-as-a-service startup working to develop a network of battery-swapping infrastructure; Kubik, which upcycles plastic and has operations in Ethiopia; and Revivo, a B2B marketplace selling electronic spare parts giving products like phones a new lease of life. In Europe, Satgana has invested in Rebel Tech, Orbio Earth, Yeasty, Loewi, Arda, Fullsoon and Fermify.

Diaz founded the VC firm after a decade of experience in the venture space in several African countries including Morocco and South Africa, where he co-founded and ran a venture studio.

“I ran it for like five years, and about six years ago I started to really have the awakening to the extent of climate change. That’s where I decided to channel all the knowledge from my previous experience, but on a bigger scale, while focusing solely on investing in climate tech founders,” he said.

Diaz launched the VC firm upon moving to Europe, where he said there are adequate investment networks, especially those focused on investments targeting founders at the pre-seed stage.

Satgana’s focus on Africa was also driven by the fact that it is the most vulnerable continent despite contributing the least greenhouse gas emissions. They recently appointed Anil Maguru as partner to drive their Africa strategy.

“We are entering the continent to pursue green growth objectives; so deploying renewable energy, low carbon buildings, mobility solutions and so on. But we are also keen on investments driving adaptation to climate change, because unfortunately, the reality is that climate change is upon us, and we require solutions already. This is especially for people on the frontline, who are often vulnerable communities, mainly women, people of color and low-income communities that are more exposed to the effects of climate change,” said Diaz.

“From an impact perspective, it’s important for us to invest in solutions, which [traditionally] receive only a tiny fraction of VC money,” he said.

Satgana is among the new funds that are dedicated to the African climate tech sector. These funds include Africa People + Planet Fund by Novastar Ventures, Equator’s fund and the Catalyst Fund.



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