Cleantech companies are the ones that aim to improve environmental sustainability. ‘Cleantech’ became famous by the inception of Cleantech Venture Network (now Cleantech Group) from 2002 onwards. It began as a term to describe the “green and clean” technologies that venture capital investors had started turning to after the collapse of the tech boom in 2001.
Founded in 2010, Afrisol Energy makes food, energy and education accessible by imparting agricultural and technical knowledge. It is focused on biogas, biomass and biofuels. The company has set up a Biogas Innovation Centre as well as a small-scale experimental farm in Kenya. Furthermore, three biogas projects for social organizations including two orphanages and an elderly complex have been set up.
The Akiira Geothermal Project, started in 2012, is an extension of Kenya’s innovation in the geothermal power space. The company plans to develop a 70MW geothermal power plant. It is one of the few projects in Kenya that is being developed as a privately financed Independent Power Project (IPP). Marine Power Generation Limited, is one of the shareholders of Akiira Geothermal Limited.
Investor(s): African Union Commission, CDC Group, Centum Investment Company, Frontier Investment Management, Marine Power Generation Limited, RAM Energy, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
Founded in 2005, Astonfield Solar specialises in technical consultancy, project finance advisory and execution experience in the delivery of solar power generation projects in emerging markets like Kenya. It is an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) company that provides solar solutions to clients in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and India.
Investor(s): Emergo Partners (past investor)
Founded in 2005, Barefoot Power manufactures and distributes solar phone charging, lighting products and business development services to the lower income section of the society. It has impacted the lives of 1 million people in over 20 countries by supplying solar powered lights, home lighting systems, and phone charging solutions. The company brought affordable renewable energy and efficient lighting to 5 million people by 2013 and 10 million people by 2015 and helped eradicate energy poverty.
Boma Safi is a distributor of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficient Technologies to rural and peri-urban markets in Kenya. The company works in 5 regions of Kenya with 5 hubs in the region. It sells clean energy to the low-income groups in the society. Customers can purchase products through village credit organizations, which makes high-quality solar products affordable to low-income families. Through Boma Safi’s model, women are both the distributors and end-user beneficiaries of high-quality renewable energy products.
Founded in 1996, Brazafric Enterprises is a supplier of agricultural tools and machinery focused on enhancing energy and environmental conservation. The company’s agricultural tools and machinery are highly energy efficient and less harmful to human health. It enables low-income farmers to get cooking and farming products which are of better quality and reliable in nature.
Investor(s): Grassroots Business Fund
Founded in 2011, The BURN Stoves project enables the rural populace in Kenya to cook food using cleaner, more efficient cooking stoves that consume less charcoal. Their product, ‘Jikokoa’ stove, is a market leader in Kenya. The stove’s ‘natural draft’ technology reduces fuel consumption by up to 45% and cooking time by up to 50%, saving families up to $300 on fuel a year. In 2015, Burn’s innovative design was recognised by the internationally renowned Ashden Sustainability Awards.
To promote off-grid power to rural areas, Cobitech solar has created an energy kit that has a small battery pack which can be charged by a 5 watt solar panel. It can power 3 LED bulbs. It also has a USB port for mobile phone charging. Having partnered with micro-finance institutions users can purchase their product at a subscription from $5.5 per month up to $64.5. In addition, this partnership also helps insure the product.
Founded in 2012, Continental Renewable Energy Co. Ltd recycles waste plastic into building materials and sells the hardware to developers who struggle with high material cost by providing affordable and durable construction products. These products are ideal for fencing on farms, homes, national parks, forest reserves, and commercial places. These products are known to have a life expectancy of over 40 years with minimal degradation.
In numerous developing countries post-harvest losses are as high as 80%. Moreover, the cold‐storage chain is virtually non‐existent. It is due to the high cost of equipment and electricity. Founded in 2015, Solar Freeze is a pioneer in developing mobile cold storage units that are powered by renewable energy and used by rural smallholder farmers. These portable solar-powered cold-storage units can be accessed through mobile phones by simple SMS and USSD messages to book and store perishable produce using the sharing economy and pay with mobile money.
Founded in 2015, Ukulima Tech Limited assembles and installs vertical gardens to households in the urban and peri-urban areas (vertical farming is the practice of producing food in vertically inclined surfaces and/or integrated in other structures.) The layering of tubes generates more planting space in a relatively small or limited space. Therefore, it presents people living in urban and peri-urban regions, with organic means to grow food for themselves and for profit. The company developed a 40W solar powered drip irrigation kit. With this product people living in urban areas can grow their vegetables in their balconies. Hence, reduce the growing concern of consuming vegetables that are full of toxins.
This research article has been produced by Investocracy, a company focused on connecting startups from emerging markets with Japanese investors.
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