Ecosystem Integrity Fund Targets African Cleantech Startups with New $250 Million Fund
Ecosystem Integrity Fund, a US-based venture capital firm, has raised $250 million for sustainable firms, including two in Africa.
In a statement, the San Francisco-based clean-tech investment firm said it closed its fourth fund with support from the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirement System and Franz Haniel & Cie, a family-owned holding company in Germany. The Ecosystem Integrity Fund typically targets its investments in industries of renewable energy and green chemistry.
“Sustainable investing opportunities are becoming much better understood,” said Sasha Brown, a partner at EIF. “Attitudes have changed since the days when people thought what we did was counter to fundamental economics, that we were tree huggers who were going against capitalism.”
Around 20 early-stage green technology businesses will get funding, with industries spanning from hydrogen-powered airplanes to electric motorcycles and subscription scooters. Rwanda’s Ampersand, Africa’s first electric motorcycle manufacturer, and Ghana’s Energicity, a builder of solar microgrids for underserved rural communities, are among them.
Investor interest in such companies is growing amid accumulating evidence of climate change, ranging from high amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide in May to the warmest June ever recorded in the contiguous United States last month. Global spending on technologies to transition away from fossil fuels hit a new high of $501.3 billion last year.
Closer to home in California, the fund also backed Unagi, an Oakland-based company that is developing a subscription-based network of electric scooters, and ZeroAvia Inc., a Hollister-based company that is developing hydrogen-powered planes and has received funding from Bill Gates and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.