Novastar Adds Three Ventures to the Portfolio
VC fund backs Paygo Energy, Lynk Jobs and iProcure in Q2 2017
In April, Novastar anchored a seed round in PayGo Energy, a Nairobi-based distribution service that harnesses the power of pay-as-you-go-technology to unlock clean energy for those who cannot otherwise afford it. PayGo’s smart metering systems enables customers to access clean burning LPG using mobile money, on a pay-as-you-go basis. With this convenient, affordable model, PayGo can serve a large, rapidly-growing urban population currently cooking with dirty, inefficient fuels like charcoal and kerosene, which expose households to health and safety risks.
In May, Novastar led a seed round in Lynk Jobs, a technology platform that safely and conveniently connects households and businesses with qualified informal workers across a wide range of services including plumbing, housekeeping, carpentry and cooking. Lynk manages the interactions between informal workers and customers: screening and vetting workers before they access the platform, connecting customer job requests with qualified workers, ensuring satisfactory job fulfillment, and facilitating payment and follow-up with the customers and workers.
In June, Novastar led a Series A financing round in iProcure, the largest agricultural supply chain platform in rural Africa, connecting smallholder farmers with the high quality agricultural inputs they need when they need them. Leveraging a proprietary ERP platform, mobile technology, and its own depots, iProcure has developed a demand led, data-driven connection between input manufacturers and smallholder farmers. In addition to complete procurement and last mile distribution services, iProcure provides business intelligence and data-driven stock management, delivering great value to both suppliers and farmers alike.
In addition, Novastar led follow-on financing rounds for three companies in our portfolio during the first half of the year:
- Co-led Sanergy’s Series B equity round in February, fueling the growth of this integrated waste management-to-agricultural inputs business.
- Led a Series A equity financing for Komaza, a vertically-integrated, distributed plantation forestry company planting trees on the unused land of thousands of smallholder farmers.
- Led a follow-on financing round in Poa Internet, a fast-growing business providing affordable Internet access to individuals and small businesses in densely populated informal communities in East Africa.
About Novastar Ventures
Novastar manages an $80 million venture fund dedicated to finding and growing the “new stars” of East Africa. Novastar backs early and growth stage businesses led by entrepreneurs with the character, capability and ambition to transform markets and sectors. The Fund has the scale and flexibility to tailor support to the company’s stage of development. Novastar has invested as little as $100,000 in unproven business models with high potential. Following initial small funding rounds, Novastar can then fuel the rapid growth stage of portfolio companies with more than $6 million through multiple capital rounds.
Novastar has backed 13 businesses to date, each reflecting the Fund’s focus on mass-market scale potential, business model innovation, and outstanding entrepreneurial leadership.
In addition to the main fund, Novastar manages a $10 million co-investment facility for Dutch development finance institution FMO.
Steve Beck, Co-Founder and Managing Director
Andrew Carruthers, Co-Founder and Managing Director