InspiraFarms Cooling secures EUR 1M to pilot its cooling as-a-Service model

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InspiraFarms Cooling,a  provider of advanced and sustainable cooling solutions, for high-value fresh produce across Africa has secured EUR 1M  from The Foundation for Clean Energy and Energy Inclusion for Africa (CEI Africa) through a convertible note, alongside exisitng investors KawiSafi and Factor[e].

The investment comes after InspiraFarms Cooling  raised its Series-B round in 2020 and signed an investment agreement with InfraCo Africa in 2023, to pilot its ‘Cooling-as-a-Service’ model.

Julian Mitchell, the CEO of InspiraFarms, said: “We are delighted to welcome CEI Africa on board as an investor in InspiraFarms Cooling. Their capital will enable us to continue our mission of making cooling solutions more accessible to agribusinesses of all sizes. Access to quality cooling is fundamental for clients to reduce post-harvest losses, and sell more, at better prices, with lower costs, bringing both economic and climate benefits.  Moving forward, our focus will remain on designing, developing, installing, servicing, and financing energy-efficient cooling. This support from CEI and existing investors KawiSafi and Factor[E] reflects a shared commitment to sustainable impact within the fresh produce industry.”

InspiraFarms Cooling designs, develops, and installs efficient precooling and cold chain technology for fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, and animal protein supply chains in Africa and other emerging markets. They provide agribusinesses of all sizes with cooling solutions to handle their perishable products. These cooling solutions significantly cut energy costs, reduce food losses extend shelf life, and help customers sell more, by bridging the gap in quality and standards missed by producers for entering various markets. InspiraFarms Cooling designs include tailor-made and standardised solutions, which are adapted for the right energy source, including solutions that can be 100% off-grid.

Only 5% of African fresh produce enters the cold chain, compared to Europe’s 94%. This difference in cold storage accessibility is a key factor leading to the loss of 30-50% of fresh produce across Africa. Additionally, without adequate cooling, many African producers and exporters miss out on high-value global markets with stringent export standards for food quality, size, and safety, all directly linked to cooling.

To help solve this, InspiraFarms Cooling prioritizes sustainable and efficient precooling and cold chain technology for agriproducts in Africa and other emerging markets. These solutions include cold rooms, precoolers, freezers, packhouses, slaughterhouses, long-term storage for potatoes, and temperature-controlled warehouses – all of which are renewable energy compatible.

At a socioeconomic level, cold storage solutions can generate high-quality rural jobs. At an environmental level, emissions from food losses, which span from farms to retailers, account for a significant 3.7% of all greenhouse gasses (GHG). Across Africa, 30-50% of produced food is lost after harvest and never reaches our tables, which positions food loss as the second-largest emitter of GHG on the continent. Beyond the reduced emissions from mitigated food loss, InspiraFarms Cooling designs its solutions with technology that allows up to 25% energy savings.

Having deployed hundreds of units across 15 countries, InspiraFarms continues to provide agribusinesses, exporters, third-party logistics, and food distributors with cooling solutions to handle their perishable products. Therefore, CEI Africa’s funding will be in support of InspiraFarms Cooling’s’ off-grid energy cold storage projects across the continent and is also linked to catalysing additional capital in the form of crowdfunding for energy-efficient cold chain infrastructure.

Steven Evers, Member of the Executive Board of CEI Africa, said: “Our investment in InspiraFarms Cooling, the first investment under the Crowdlending window of the Foundation, will not only support the growth of the off-grid energy cold-storage sector in sub-Saharan Africa and result in tangible impact for smallholder farmers but will also catalyze private retail investment into the sector through crowdfunding.”