Kubik,an environmental technology company that uses plastic waste to make low-carbon, durable, and affordable buildings has secured an undisclosed seed funding round from the GIIG Africa Fund aimed to scale production capabilities in East Africa.
GIIG Africa’s investment into Kubik comes as the startup was named the African winner in the category of Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) Technology and Startup of the Year at the African Startup Awards in June 2022.This is the largest independent startup ecosystem competition on the continent and exclusive vehicle for the GIIG Africa Fund to find, fund and scale Africa’s most innovative startups with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-aligned solutions.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome GIIG Africa as a strategic investor and partner within our growth journey,” says Kidus Asfaw, co-founder and CEO of Kubik.
“Their partnership goes beyond capital, and we appreciate the team’s openness and enthusiasm to join our existing partners, including Savannah Fund, JLL Foundation, and a variety of angel investors across the United States, Europe and Africa.
“GIIG is going to play a key role in helping us capitalise on purposeful growth opportunities, as we aim to radically scale our production capabilities in 2023. Ahead of then, we’re looking forward to welcoming additional strategic partners to our investor-base.”
Founded in 2021, Kubik has been globally recognized for technology that recycles plastic waste into a variety of low-carbon and low-cost building materials, which replace costly and polluting cement-based materials. Its product is at least 40% cheaper, twice as fast to build with, and 5x less polluting than conventional materials.
With economic growth and job creation concentrated in cities, researchers anticipate rapid urbanisation and a subsequent housing crisis which will affect 900-million Africans across the continent – representing a $2-trillion market opportunity for businesses in the affordable housing sector.
Commenting on their investment into Kubik, Mahyar Makhzani, co-founder of GIIG Africa, explains: “It’s Kidus’s bold ambition and innate sense of purpose that motivated our interest to support Kubik on its mission to change the face of the African construction industry.
“Africa is a continent of unparalleled opportunity but it is also a region with important challenges that need to be addressed, and it is this unique situation that positions it as an ideal sandbox in which to pioneer affordable and sustainable solutions more cheaply, more flexibly and more inclusively. Kubik is a prime example of this, and we look forward to supporting Kidus and his team on their important journey.”
Besides solving Africa’s looming housing crisis, Kubik also seeks to address the impact of plastic waste on both people and the planet. As reported by the World Wildlife Fund, plastic production emits greenhouse gasses, which harm ecological biodiversity and cause chronic illnesses in nearby communities.
Once used, plastic waste then flows into waterways and dump sites, which further impacts the wellbeing of local industry and wildlife.
“This is part of why we’re aiming to ramp-up our production capabilities,” says Asfaw. “By September of 2023, our first factory will launch with capabilities to recycle 45 metric tonnes of plastic waste every day.
“The materials made from this will be used to build roughly 5 000 affordable homes per year – avoiding more than 100 000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases emissions annually and supporting the creation of more than 10 000 women-led jobs within the waste collection and construction sectors.”