Komaza raises $28m Series B to capture Africa’s $30bn Wood Deficit

Komaza, the tech-enabled, sustainable forestry company that is revolutionizing the wood industry in Africa through its innovative smallholder platform, has secured a first close of $28m of the company’s planned $33m Series B equity financing. With continued investment and support from its Series A lead Novastar Ventures, this financing round was co-led by Novastar LPs AXA Investment Managers and the Dutch development bank FMO, with further participation by Mirova’s Land Degradation Neutrality Fund.

Kenya-based Komaza has planted over 6 million trees with 25,000 smallholder farmers to date, with annual plantings nearly doubling Kenya’s rate of commercial tree planting. This rate places the company among Africa’s top commercial tree planters. Komaza’s “microforestry” model represents a paradigm shift in the industry from large, costly plantations to distributed partnerships with local farmers. This shift yields an 80% cost disruption vs traditional plantations for every acre planted, while unlocking dramatically more land for forestry activities, especially those held by farmers around major cities.

Komaza uses AI and satellite data to map existing tree growth and real-time mobile apps on the ground to track farmer progress. With this latest funding closed, Komaza is well on its way towards the goal of planting one billion trees by 2030, benefiting over 2M farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and doubling existing tree cover across all operating landscapes.

Komaza plans to leverage its Series B funding to expand from its first site on Kenya’s coast to two additional sites across East Africa. The company will invest in additional wood manufacturing facilities and add a new direct-to-farmer app to drive enrollment and increase farmer access to best practices.

For every acre of habitat lost on Kenya’s coast, more species go extinct than anywhere on the planet”, says Tevis Howard, Komaza Founder and CEO. “Massive challenges need ambitious companies fighting to create value and align incentives around solutions that work for both people and planet. At Komaza, our vision is to become Africa’s largest forestry company, by partnering with farmers to provide a sustainable and hyper-scalable domestic supply of wood.

In the three years since we closed the Series A financing, Komaza has demonstrated the ability to execute and grow its distinctive, tech-enabled microforestry business model”, says Steve Beck, founding partner at Novastar Ventures. “This landmark Series B financing provides the firepower now to replicate and scale the business across Africa.

Read more in Forbes: Meet the entrepreneur whose Kenyan ‘Airbnb’ for African forests just raised $28 million