KENYA – Novastar Ventures, AXA Investment Managers (through the AXA Impact Fund: Climate & Biodiversity), FMO and Mirova’s Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, have invested US$28 million in a Series B round in Kenya-based tech-enabled sustainable forestry company Komaza.

Komaza secured a first close of US$28 million of the company’s planned US$33 million Series B equity financing.

“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,” said Steve Beck, founding partner at Novastar Ventures.

“This landmark Series B financing provides the firepower now to replicate and scale the business across Africa.”

The company has planted over six million trees with 25,000 smallholder farmers to date, with annual plantings nearly doubling Kenya’s rate of commercial tree planting.

With this latest funding closed, Komaza is well on their way towards their goal of planting one billion trees by 2030, benefiting over two million farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and doubling existing tree cover across all operating landscapes.

“Our partnership with Komaza provides a practical model for aligning the interests of local communities with global objectives to combat climate change, protect ecosystems and their inherent biodiversity,” Jonathan Dean, Head of Impact Investing at AXA Investment Managers, said.

“Partnerships with the farmers and a close relationship with the supply chain will empower communities to not only help preserve local biodiversity but also drive an additional source of income.”

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 to expand its line of high quality, sustainable building materials.

“Massive challenges need ambitious companies fighting to create value and align incentives around solutions that work for both people and planet,” Tevis Howard, Komaza’s Founder and CEO, said.

“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.

“As a result, farmers get a climate-resilient, zero-risk, source of wealth creation for their families, and investors get commercial returns, all while relieving the intense pressure on remaining natural forests.”

Komaza plans to add a new direct-to-farmer app to drive enrollment and increase farmer access to best practices. They will also build off of their success with a recent remote sensing and AI pilot for automated monitoring of their farms.

“We are very proud to be a direct shareholder in Komaza. We decided to invest because of the conviction and perseverance of Komaza’s management, the company’s strong tree planting track record and its savvy proprietary operating systems. This funding round will enable Komaza to build on these strengths, to grow to scale and be a real game-changer in African forestry,” Annette Berendsen, Principal Investment Officer at FMO, said.

Despite having the highest potential at lowest cost, natural climate solutions receive less than 3% of global climate financing.

“Land restoration is a major challenge but also a real opportunity,” added Gautier Quéru, Director of Mirova’s Land Degradation Neutrality Fund. “We need talented entrepreneurs such as Komaza to scale up innovative and attractive solutions able to deliver tangible positive impacts for nature and the people.”

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