The Catalyst Fund Hits 20% of its Target $40M Fund to Propel Climate Innovation in Africa


The Catalyst Fund, a pre-seed venture capital fund and accelerator focused on driving climate resilience innovation in Africa, has announced the successful first closing with over 20% of its targeted US$40 million fund closed.

This milestone signals its strong commitment to shaping a climate-resilient future through bolstering early-stage startups across the African continent. The commitments are from FSD Africa, FSDAi, Cisco Foundation, USAID Prosper Africa, and seasoned tech investor Andrew Bredenkamp.

According to Anne-Marie Chidzero, Chief Investment Officer, FSDAi, “At FSDAi we believe strongly that Africa has the potential to lead in climate solutions provided it has the finance it needs. Our mission is to support that by investing in innovative solutions that will help channel finance to under-resourced parts of the green economy.”

FSDAi’s collaboration with the Catalyst Fund is part of a package of investments totalling US$19.5m which will go to supporting made-in-Africa climate-resilient solutions to contribute to Africa’s green economic growth and to global efforts to tackle the impact of climate change.

With support from JPMorgan Chase & Co and the Global Environmental Facility, Catalyst Fund also works to provide dedicated impact measurement and research support to climate innovators, share insights and learnings, and enable partnerships via its Ecosystem Hub. 

Some of its key areas include agtech and fishery management, food systems, insurtech and climate fintech, cold chain, waste management, and water management, among others. The Catalyst Fund will support 40 pre-seed startups, especially mission-driven local and women founders with funding and tailor-made venture building support to accelerate startups’ growth. The Fund will provide follow-on capital to startups in their Seed and Series A rounds to bridge the critical funding gap and address a key bottleneck for climate ventures in Africa, positioning them for further growth-stage funding at Series B.

“By blending equity investments with hands-on venture building, we believe we can unlock tremendous potential for innovative companies on the continent. Supporting ventures at the pre-seed stage requires more than capital. Our venture builders are the engineers, data scientists and growth marketing experts who can supercharge founders’ journeys toward building scalable and highly impactful ventures,” said Maelis Carraro, Managing Partner of the Catalyst Fund.

This initial close marks the Catalyst Fund’s transition from a philanthropic startup accelerator to a venture capital fund, building on seven years of experience supporting startups on the continent. The first Catalyst Accelerator, backed by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, PayPal, and Mastercard Foundation, supported 61 startups across emerging markets; 70% on the African continent, including companies such as Wasoko, Chipper Cash, and Turaco.

he Catalyst Fund will focus on solutions that can enable communities to better prepare for and manage shocks, adapt livelihoods to climate impacts and build long-term resilience.