Norfund and SOS Children’s Villages invest in African startups

Together with Rwandan pension fund RSSB, Norfund and SOS Children’s Villages are investing in the Katapult Africa Accelerator Program. Nine agriculture and technology startups will receive funding to scale up new solutions that will both create jobs and increase food security.

Photo: Katapult

After evaluating over 600 African startups, Katapult has chosen nine companies from five countries featuring some of the most talented entrepreneurs in technologies related to food, agriculture, and climate.

Over a three-month period, the startups will go through Katapult’s world-class impact accelerator program, with a track record of producing ‘impact unicorns’. Described as the “most intense and fulfilling MBA you could ever undertake” – and focused on growth, impact and investment readiness – the cohort will engage in rigorous workshops, online meetups, mentor sessions, pitch training and investor presentations specifically designed to prepare the startups for scaling.

“We are delighted to be able to contribute to set up this pilot to fund and assist startups within agri-tech and climate-tech that can create jobs while contributing to food security, in a time where the needs, but also the opportunities, may be larger than ever. We hope that this could lead the way for more funding to flow into these important sectors in the future.”

Bernt Brun, Vice President and head of Funds

SOS Children’s Villages work to ensure that no child grows up alone. In 137 countries they work to strengthen families, provide alternative care, collaborate on strengthening communities and advocate for children’s rights. This is the first time the organization invests this way together with Norfund.

“Globally, for 9 out of 10 children brought into alternative care, the main cause is poverty. For the sake of the children, their families and society, we need to focus more on preventive measures. By joining Norfund in investing in African impact businesses through Katapult Africa, our funds can contribute to creating jobs and more sustainable communities, providing an even stronger safety net for children”, says Sissel Aarak, Secretary General of SOS Children’s Villages Norway.

Katapult has developed a method for rapid scaling of startups. In addition to investment the companies gain access to a global network of impact investors, mentors, experts, partners, and alumni. Katapult was founded in 2016 by impact investor Tharald Nustad. Since then, Katapult has invested in 145 impact tech startups and run ten accelerator programs, including several “impact unicorns”.

Photo: Katapult

The Katapult Africa Accelerator Program is in partnership with Norad, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Norrsken, and Smart Africa, Rwanda Social Security Board, Norfund and SOS Children’s Villages.

“Our decision to launch Katapult in Africa is driven by both a clear recognition of the need for change and an unprecedented opportunity for innovation,” says Tharald Nustad, founder and majority owner of Katapult.

“We believe that it is Africa with its fast-growing business communities and young, tech-savvy population who are best placed to deliver highly scalable, highly impactful solutions. We’re very glad to have SOS Children’s Villages and Norfund alongside us helping new tech startups get the opportunity to grow.”

Tharald Nustad, founder and majority owner of Katapult