Komaza is a forestry tech startup aiming to revolutionize Africa’s wood industry through an innovator smallholder platform. The company has closed $28 million of a planned $33 million Series B equity round.
The new round was steered by their Serie A lead Novastar Ventures in a financing round led co-led by Novastar LPs AXA Investment Managers, Dutch development bank FMO and participation from Mirova’s Land Degradation Neutrality Fund.
The Kenyan-based startup has planted over 6 million trees working with 25,000 smallholder farmers. The annual plantings have doubled the number of Kenya’s commercial tree numbers. The developments have made Kenya one of the top commercial tree planters in the continent. The company operates a micro-forestry model representing a shift from large costly plantations to working with local farmers. The shift in strategy represents an 80% cost disruption when compared to traditional plantations for every acre planted.
Distributed operations increase the complexity of management. Komaza has thus far confronted the planning and coordination challenges using satellite data and AI to map the current tree growth and existing mobile apps to track the progress of farmers.
Komaza aims to plant a billion trees by 2030 in a scheme that will benefit over 2 million farmers across sub-Saharan Africa. This should increase the forest cover across their operating landscapes. According to BusinessWire, Tevis Howard, the founder & CEO of Komaza, highlighted the need for companies to “create value” and “align incentives” that work for people and the planet.
Komaza is mainly supported by Conservation International. They offer a highly scalable and innovative way of conservation. The new approach puts economic growth and livelihoods at the heart of environmental conservation.
Head of Impact Investing at AXA Investment Managers, Jonathan Dean pointed out the merits of the partnership with Komaza as “aligning the interests of local communities” with “global objectives.”
Annette Berendsen, the PIO at FMO expressed their excitement to be a direct shareholder in Komaza. Their decision was inspired by the “conviction and perseverance” of Komaza’s management.