We build climate
unicorns in Africa

Our Thesis

Climate action is reshaping the global economy

Consumers are shifting towards climate-friendly products.

Governments, aiming for net-zero, are shifting policy and committing billions of dollars to climate action.

New technologies, processes, and energy sources are being developed, revolutionizing markets and redefining country resource endowments.

Carbon markets are flourishing, fostering new business models and sectors, while facilitating large-scale deployment of low-carbon solutions.

Sustainable-Smallholder-Agriculture-in-Sub-Saharan-Africa

Africa is inherently well-positioned to tap into new climate-related business opportunities

Intrinsic Competitiveness

Africa has abundant affordable land, untapped renewable energy potential, and a growing, increasingly skilled workforce, all of which are key cost drivers of climate action. Africa’s soils are also weathered and often acidic, offering significant opportunities for regenerative agriculture. 

Readily Available Opportunities To Tap Into Carbon Revenues

By prioritizing low-carbon business models, and incorporating carbon revenue, existing African businesses can drive affordability, amplify sustainable practices, and empower local communities, addressing climate change and providing global climate solutions.

Potential For And Urgency Around Co-Benefits

Socio-economic challenges drive significant potential for co- benefits in Africa. Many actors with the capability, experience, and (community) connections to realise co-benefits have the opportunity to transform their business model to reduce dependency on philanthropic funding.

ACV identifies opportunities to develop climate-smart businesses on the African continent following three key models

Technology Transfer to Africa

Identify leading global businesses with exciting carbon technologies, then bring them to Africa. Leverage our deep knowledge of Africa to develop appropriate entry strategies for applicable technologies, and build effective teams to launch businesses across the continent.

Scaling Out Successes Across Africa

Identify home-grown African climate tech businesses that are gaining traction in the market in which they were developed and help them rapidly accelerate into new markets, leveraging local know-how and relationships, and augmenting typically overstretched management teams.

Adding carbon revenues to business model

Identify businesses on the continent with under exploited carbon potential (e.g., electro moto manufacturers who are not monetizing their carbon). Provide skills and capabilties to add carbon revenues to these businesses, increasing profitabilty, adding value, and speeding growth.

How We Work

Sometimes we develop a concept ourselves and attract the right founder, sometimes we find a founder with a great idea.  In all cases, we roll up our sleeves, iterate and improve on concepts, continuously inject capital as key milestones are met, and leverage our networks and expertise to give the business the best chance of success. 

Our Portfolio & Pipeline

Current Investments

Current Pipeline

Circular economy
Climate smart agriculture
Climate positive built environment
E-mobility
Carbon removals and green industry

Our Team

James I Mwangi

Co-Founder & CEO

Mohamed Cassim

Co-Founder & CIO

CJ Fonzi

Co-Founder & COO

Bilha Ndirangu

Venture Partner – Great Carbon Valley

Doreen Rwigamba

Venture Partner – KOKO Networks Rwanda

Scott Hosking

Senior Associate

Travis Kotecco

Senior Associate

Kurhula Baloyi

Associate

Jermaine Coelho

Associate

News

WATCH: JAMES’S TED TALK ON THE POTENTIAL FOR DACCS IN KENYA’S RIFT VALLEY

Our lives depend on curbing climate change, but so many priorities seem to be in competition. What’s the most urgent thing humanity can do right now? Social entrepreneur James Irungu Mwangi tells us why Africa could be the ideal home for scaling the latest and most ambitious climate technologies — including in places like Kenya’s Hell’s Gate National Park, which could become part of what he calls the “Great Carbon Valley.”

Meet the Recipients of 2022 Climate Breakthrough Award

Climate Breakthrough today is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2022 Climate Breakthrough Award, the largest climate action grant for individuals. The annual award goes to extraordinary changemakers to pursue their most ambitious and innovative climate change mitigation ideas..

FSD Africa invests £1 million in Africa Carbon Ventures, giving the pioneering entity determined to build Africa’s first ‘climate unicorns’ its first institutional backing.  

Discover the synergistic partnership between RMB Ventures and Africa Climate Ventures, where we join forces to navigate a path towards sustainability while enhancing profitability.

“ACV believes there is an enormous opportunity for green growth in Africa. With the backdrop that the potential for climate – positive business has not yet been fully defined, we believe that they cannot be considered from the perspective of relative life – cycle maturity alone” – Mohamed Cassim, our Chief Investment Officer.

In loving Memory of our dear colleague Patricia Wambui Githinji

KOKO Networks Rwanda

In early 2021, KOKO Group and Africa Climate Ventures set up a Joint Venture to scale KOKO Networks outside of Kenya for the first time.  KOKO Networks (www.kokonetworks.com) is an emerging markets climate technology company that serves sustainable bioethanol cooking fuel to over 900,000 Kenyan families every day.

At the start of 2022, KOKO Networks Rwanda signed an agreement with Government of Rwanda that commits us to reaching 1 million families by the end of 2026 and providing KOKO’s completely clean cooking solution at a price point below that of charcoal. The agreement freezes all taxes on KOKO’s stoves, fuel, and equipment in Rwanda.

At the moment, we are actively building the company and its networks in Rwanda, with the target to go live in Kigali in the second half of 2023.

Find out more at http://rwanda.kokonetworks.com

 

 

 

Great Carbon Valley (GCV)

Great Carbon Valley (GCV) is a Kenyan venture built to explore and materialize the significant climate action potential that lies in the East African Rift Valley by developing large scale green industry and technical removals projects

Find out more at http://greatcarbonvalley.com/

Circular economy

A significant portion of Africa’s industrial and household waste remains underutilized. The emergence of climate-conscious usage possibilities, which are becoming increasingly commercially viable, offers tremendous potential for growth.

Climate smart agriculture

Agriculture in Africa, traditionally characterized by low productivity, is evolving. A variety of soil enhancements and practices, powered by carbon, are emerging. These innovative methods promise to boost agricultural yield and foster resilience.

Climate positive built environment

Africa’s growing, urbanizing population will need buildings. Green buildings – through smart design and low-carbon materials – are critical to limit Africa’s climate footprint and present an enormous market opportunity.

E-mobility

Increasingly models are emerging to bring new electric vehicles to Africa markets. As these models mature and additional EV infrastructure is put in place, the market will present a significant growth opportunity.

Carbon removals and green industry

The abundant land and renewable energy resources in Africa make it a prime location for the development and implementation of emerging carbon removal technologies and green industries.

James I Mwangi

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

James leads strategy, transactions, and operations across Africa Climate Ventures. Prior to founding the studio, James co-founded Dalberg Advisors in New York in 2002, before founding Dalberg’s Africa business in 2007. He served as Dalberg Advisors’ Global Managing Partner from 2010- 2014, and as Dalberg Group’s Executive Director from 2014-2022.

In 2021, James founded the Climate Action Platform for Africa, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to help Africa achieve broad-based economic growth through climate action leadership.t

James is an early investor and board member of Koko Networks, a Non-Executive Director of Old Mutual Limited, and the Board Chair of One Acre Fund. In 2022 James received a Climate Breakthrough Award, and he is also an  Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow, a WEF Young Global Leader, and a member of YPO. He holds a degree in economics from Harvard University and is a Yale World Fellow.

Mohamed Cassim

Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer

Mohamed leads fundraising and investing at Africa Climate Ventures. Prior to founding Africa Climate Ventures, Mohamed Founded and was the Managing Partner of Abacus Advisory and Abacus Financial Crime Advisory in South Africa. At Abacus, Mohamed facilitated the drafting of South Africa’s National Treasury strategy between 2006 and 2015. Mohamed has also long been an investor in early-stage businesses, most notably in the rapidly growing African Fintech MFS Africa, where he currently chairs the Board of Directors. Mohamed holds an MBA from Bond University (Australia) and a Masters-level diploma in Strategy and Innovation from the University of Oxford.  He is also a recipient of the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship (2010).

CJ Fonzi

Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer

CJ oversees ACV’s activities related to shaping pipeline opportunities, venture building, and general operations.  Prior to launching ACV, CJ was a Partner at Dalberg Advisors.  During his 11-year tenure at Dalberg he focused on Impact Investing, Agriculture, and Climate Change. He served as Dalberg’s first Director of Innovation and founded Dalberg’s Kigali office, which he grew to 25 staff before handing over to African leadership. Prior to Dalberg, CJ was part of the founding team of the Global Impact Investing Network.  CJ spent his early career working in technology start-ups in the United States. CJ has a BS in Information Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Cornell University.

Bilha Ndirangu

Venture Partner – Technical Carbon Removals

Bilha is dedicated to the transformation of Africa through the building of innovative industries and platforms. Bilha is a co-founder of Jacob’s Ladder Africa, an organization that aims to accelerate African youth participation in the Green Economy.  She was CEO of the African Leadership Academy, focused on creating pathways to enable young leaders to solve Africa’s leadership challenges. As CEO of Africa’s Talking, Bilha expanded the company into 20 markets, with offices in 14 African countries, over seven years. Bilha has been recognized on the Choiseul 100 Africa 2022 ranking, is a Desmond Tutu Fellow, and was awarded the Woman of Firsts- Excellence in Education Award by CMMI. Bilha holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a Yale Emerging Climate Leaders Fellow.

 

Doreen Rwigamba

Venture Partner – KOKO Networks Rwanda

Doreen Rwigamba was ACV’s first Venture Partner, focused on building KOKO Networks Rwanda. She is now a member of the KOKO Networks Rwanda Executive Team, overseeing Public Affairs and Partnerships, as the company seeks to fulfill a commitment to reach 1 million families in Rwanda. Previously, Doreen was a consultant with Dalberg Advisors. She has also founded KivuCold, a Rwandan start-up specializing in cold storage and  was a member of the founding advisory board of the Rwanda Institute of Conservation Agriculture (RICA). Doreen holds an MSc. in Global Logistics from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and a BA in International Relations with an emphasis on International Economics from Webster University.

 

Scott Hosking

Senior Associate

Scott works to identify, screen, and build new venture opportunities in the venture studio. Prior to joining Africa Climate Ventures, Scott was a Senior Project Manager at Dalberg, where he focused on advising public and private sector actors on climate-related issues. Scott also served as a Green Fellow in Dalberg’s Executive Directors Office, where he led a workstream focused on opportunities for climate-related industries to contribute to jobs and economic development in Africa. The work was presented at COP26 and has played an important role in the foundation of CAP-A, a new public organization that is mandated to advance African climate action. Scott has a Master’s in Applied Economics from the University of Cape Town (UCT), and a certificate from UCT’s Graduate School of Business in finance, contracts, and risk mitigation for private power investment in Africa.

Travis Kotecco
Senior Associate

Travis is a Senior Associate at Africa Climate Ventures with deep experience in business strategy and investment advisory. He has supported companies directly, including entrepreneurs, small and growing businesses, investors, and development partners across sub-Saharan Africa and advised on key market opportunities across a range of sectors including agribusiness, financial services, and renewable energy. Prior to joining ACV, Travis pursued his MBA at INSEAD in France and before that he was a Project Leader at Open Capital, where he led advisory teams and provided day-to-day management and oversight of project delivery and execution for diverse clients across Africa with increased focus on identifying high-impact, market-driven solutions to unlock energy access and investments needed to accelerate our transition to a sustainable, net zero future. Travis holds an MBA from INSEAD (France) and a dual degree in Economics and Engineering from Trinity College (USA).

Kurhula Baloyi
Associate

Kurhula is an Associate at Africa Climate Ventures with a background in investment management and venture building. Prior to joining ACV, Kurhula worked as an Investment Analyst for 2 of the Top 10 Asset Managers in South Africa. She specialized in the energy sector, conducting comprehensive stock analysis, financial modelling and valuation, market research, and playing a pivotal role in developing and implementing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) factors into the investment process. Additionally, Kurhula is the founder of Sum1 Investments, an award-wining startup renowned for its community-based investment aimed at identifying and supporting small businesses in rural and township areas throughout South Africa. She spearheaded the investment and fundraising aspects of the startup. Kurhula holds a postgraduate degree in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management (FAPM) from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Jermaine Coelho
Associate

Jermaine is a secondee at Africa Climate Ventures from Dalberg Advisors. Jermaine’s responsibilities at ACV include creating fundraising materials, building valuation models, and supporting African ventures. His work at Dalberg includes devising methods to assist companies in accomplishing their objectives across the African continent, including climate and sustainability goals. Jermaine formerly worked at the Institute for Small Business Initiatives (ISBI), where he provided training, financial guidance, and direct assistance in business activities to over 100 entrepreneurial businesses. Jermaine graduated from Strathmore University with a BSc in Finance and is a CFA Level 2 candidate.

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