BelieveA Nairobi-based climate tech startup focused on solving Africa’s environmental data gap through artificial intelligence and satellite technology, has raised $2 million in a pre-funding round.
Pale Blue Dot, the European climate-focused venture capital firm that announced a $100 million fund last week, led the oversubscription round. At the same time, Superorganism, RaliCap, W3i, Emurgo Kepple Ventures and a network of angel investors participated.
kate kalot, the founder and CEO of Amini, has worked for several years on AI, machine learning, data science, and deep tech functions for companies like Arm, Intel, and Nvidia. Kallot, in an interview with TechDigiPro, explained how a work presentation on the intersection of natural capital and emerging technologies fascinated her about how she could use her experiences in AI and ML, including her work around social impact. with United AI Alliance. to provide a solution to the continent’s lack of data infrastructure, especially around environmental data.
“The lack of data infrastructure for Africa, from the inability to collect data to analyze it and its impact, is a deeper problem than most realize,” the CEO said on a call. “If you look at climate or environmental data in Africa today, it either doesn’t exist or it’s difficult to access. And with climate change expected to hit Africa the hardest, there is a lack of data for farmers, for example, to understand what is happening.”
Often hailed as the last frontier market, Africa is home to 65% of the world’s fertile uncultivated land and 30% of its mineral resources, but only accounts for 3% of global GDP. Furthermore, frequent food and water shortages still plague the continent despite having such enormous resources. One reason for this is the lack of reliable and reliable data, which has held back Africa’s development for decades by hampering business decisions and capital allocation, as well as making it difficult to measure the impact of climate change. There are other cases of nothing in access to meteorological or geospatial data on the continent.
Enter Amini. The six-month-old startup said it has developed a data aggregation platform that pulls different data sources (from satellites and other existing data sources like weather data, sensors, and proprietary customer data) down to a square meter, then unifies and processes this data before providing it via APIs to local and international companies that need it.
Today, at a granular level, Amini can provide farmers with data from the cycle between planting and harvesting crops to the amount of water and fertilizers used. At a higher level, the platform can help organizations understand the impact of natural disasters, floods and droughts across the continent “within seconds,” according to Kallot, who also said the platform could leverage nearly 20 years. of historical data and current data produced every two weeks.
Amini’s current clients, mainly corporations and multinationals, are in the agricultural insurance and supply chain monitoring sector, specifically in the “last mile”, or initial stages of the global supply chain. Kallot could not reveal the names of Amini’s clients, though he added that the climate-tech startup, less than a year old, is in talks to sign up with “some of the biggest food and beverage companies and one of the biggest insurance companies.” great in the world”. .”
Addressing the lack of environmental data for organizations in these industries creates a necessary change. Take, for example, global food and beverage companies with franchises in Africa, like Nestlé or Starbucks. There is increasing pressure from international regulators, such as the SEC climate disclosure rules and the European Green Deal, requiring these companies to understand their carbon emissions and environmental impact and how their operations and supply chain processes Supply constraints affect local agricultural practices in several regions, including Africa.
Platforms like Amini provide much-needed data transparency to these global organizations with vested interests in Africa and help them address last-mile supply chain issues and provide agricultural insurance to farmers. “The beauty of the platform is that it is easily scalable because once you collect agricultural data for insurance, for example, that same data, 80 to 90% of it, can be sold to food and beverage companies that have supply chains in Africa or they can be sold to governments that are trying to understand the impact of agriculture in their country.”
Amini’s business is such that she engages in a long sales cycle. International customers gain access to the platform’s API after paying a fixed “multi-million dollar” license fee for two years. Local customers have tiered introductory pricing on a case-by-case basis, allowing them to access what they need and grow over time.
Great Intelligence, a Kenyan-founded but New York-based AI-powered information company that provides decision-making and analytics tools for the food, agriculture and climate economies and their participants, is the name that comes up most when observers of the industry try to make sense of it. of Amini’s business, according to Kallot. However, the CEO says there are notable differences: Amini collects and generates the data that Gro aggregates and uses to illuminate the interrelationships between food, climate, trade, agriculture and macroeconomic conditions.
Kallot says that Amini, which recently became the first African company accepted into the Seraphim Space Accelerator program (explorers of the top 2% of early-stage space companies globally), has direct competition with geospatial companies such as Planet Labs that have deployed a constellation of satellites that collect data around the world and provide access for $15 per square kilometer. According to Kallot, using such technology is quite expensive for organizations in Africa or looking to the continent, and Amini offers an alternative.
This article highlights that VC activity around climate technology has been ramping up in Africa since last year despite the global chill in VC funding. Last year, the continent’s climate tech startups raised more than $860 million in equity funding. Companies like Novastar Ventures, Catalyst Fund and Equator are raising or have raised climate technology funds for Series A startups.
Commenting on why his company, which normally writes checks to European climate-tech startups, invested in Amini, an African start-up, heidi lindvall, General Partner at Pale Blue Dot, said: “The scarcity of high-quality environmental data in Africa is a concern, as it prevents others from building important climate solutions, such as improving insurance for farmers, monitoring climate risk or supply chains. supply. When we met the team behind Amini, we were impressed by their ambition and expertise and believe they are best positioned to fill the African environmental data gap.”
Prior to launching Amini, Kallot was Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer at African web3/crypto Mara. Go to Mugendi, say cherubu and Eshani Kaushal, all part of Amini’s executive team, bring a wealth of experience in machine learning, data science, geospatial analytics, and fintech, working for multinationals such as Microsoft, NASA, and MTN.