New vehicle launched to fund African off-grid solar enterprises

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A new initiative, VentureBuilder, has launched with a focus on funding and scaling African-owned and managed off-grid solar enterprises.

Launched at the Unlocking Solar Capital Africa conference with support from the DOEN Foundation, Facebook, Shell Foundation and USAID, VentureBuilder provides flexible, long-term early-stage financing as well as enterprise development services to local solar businesses.

With a mandate of expanding energy access to underserved populations in Africa, VentureBuilder is attempting to pioneer a new investment model that provides “patient” capital to solar companies, combined with a specialised suite of technical expertise that will accelerate a company’s growth. each partner’s path to scale. 

“As Africa’s off-grid solar revolution has evolved, many industry insiders have recognized the need to empower a new generation of local enterprises,” said 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’ experience in building, advising, and financing off-grid solar companies. The development phase was made possible with support from Facebook, which 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,” said Saskia Werther, programme manager at the DOEN Foundation.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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