Building a highway to Series A for Africa's leading Climate Tech startups
A critical time for climate in Africa
Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) need to be reduced from 50bn tons currently to zero tons by 2050 to avoid a global climate disaster.
While Africa is currently contributing around 3% of global GHGs, this will drastically change in the future with Africa’s population expected to double in size by 2050. It is imperative that Africa forges a low carbon growth trajectory for the future of our planet. We are determined to grow the companies that will get us there.
We offer the financial and human capital to ensure incredible Pan-African climate tech reaches scale and creates impact.
Our 12-month business builder program offers the following:
$50,000 through a SAFE agreement with a valuation cap:
$25,000 of cash up front
$25,000 of co-building and other services
12-month bespoke program consisting of 8 months of active business building and 4 months of support services
Dedicated business building team working with cohort companies
World-class experts allocated to each team to complete project deliverables
Curated board of directors to provide strategic and governance support
Package of additional benefits (see FAQ’s for more information)
We're focused on tangible outcomes
Startups don't need talk; they need proactive action to be successful.
Climate Lab executes on defined deliverables to drive growth.
We develop a report with key strategic insights and opportunities to share with stakeholders, investors and ambassadors.
The report serves as the foundation for business building support.
Startups are in a race against time between product-market-fit and runway. A clear, usable, actionable financial model is not only a must for raising investment but also provides the leadership team with a clear path to success.
Every team receives a world class model based on their unique operations and objectives.
Professional Pitch Deck & Training
A pitch deck is the ideal format to clearly articulate the key aspects of the customer problem, business model, team and milestones.
Every startup will be pitch perfect through training and employing data driven story telling.
We utilise our robust network of seasoned, experienced experts to help our teams make creative mistakes.
Our Experts work directly with teams in 4-6 week sprints with a clear deliverable as determined through the Diagnostic Report.
Prepare your business to take on significant external capital
Execute the fundraise with you as a trusted advisor
What we do for our entrepreneurs
Assist in developing a high-impact team to deploy capital
We employ a top-down investment approach that lives at the intersection of environmental impact and commercial viability. It focuses on four sectors of distinct importance and great potential impact to climate outcomes on the continent.
Food & AgriTech
The world is a farmer. We support cutting edge technology to make that farmer- and the logistics and processing that gets food on people's plates- more environmentally efficient. This leads to better personal and climate outcomes.
Most Africans live off grid. They need to come online. The only way this can occur without massive negative environmental effects is for the lights to turn with clean renewables from day 1. We make that happen.
African cities are growing at an alarming rate. They need solutions that optimize energy efficiency and air quality.
The cleanest energy is the energy we don't consume.
We love technologies that do the same amount of work (or more) but using less energy.
"Climate Lab has had a significant impact on our business, even though we've only been participating for a couple of months. The first one is fundraising. It's not only access to investors but also just helping us think about our approach to fundraising. So who we should be talking to how we should be thinking about closing deals, and really just the philosophy of fundraising.
For an entrepreneur, it's extremely valuable if you haven't done that before.
The second one is introductions to specific people in their network that really help us think about things like how we track our carbon, how we help with carbon credits, and how we think about that as part of our product roadmap
we really love the events that the team organizes and our team also participates in them quite enthusiastically. I feel that it builds a, a lovely community and we meet like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs that are, are also on a mission to make an impact.
We find that it's really useful not to be by yourself, just having a team with who we can, soundboard ideas soundboard strategies, and. Go on this really exciting journey together."
Michael Maas, Co-founder and CEO of Zimi, South Africa
A deep dive to assess current state of affairs and offer strategic insights
Key items analysed:
Problem, market and team
Burn, runway, performance
Business model, pricing, economics
Bespoke learning content.
3 expert-led workstreams.
Weekly Business Builder sessions.
3-4 cohort sessions per program.
Observing board with check in's every two months.
Check out our FAQs below if you have any questions about the program.
SU LL Business Builder check-in twice per month.
Access to SU LaunchLab network of investors, mentors & experts.
Board check-in every two months.
We will be accepting applications from June – November 2023. Four teams from Africa will be admitted to the program on a rolling basis.
Business Builder Team
First principles: solving the climate crisis is the ultimate wicked problem of our lifetime.
Our team of experienced, mission driven individuals are making this their life's work. Nothing is more important.
We roll up our sleeves to create, iterate, build, empathize and celebrate with our teams.
CEO, Stellenbosch University LaunchLab
Reformed investment banker with extensive startup experience across USA, Europe & Africa. Responsible for over $250+M USD of funds raised for African climate tech startups. Dedicated to leaving a healthy planet for his two beautiful children.
Climate Lab Director
A climate enthusiast leading the business building efforts for SU LaunchLab's climate-focused companies. Previously worked in investment banking and growth-stage technology investing, Duval is a CA(SA) and CFA charterholder.
AgriFoodTech Business Builder
A global food industry innovation, health and sustainability expert, consulting for companies to help them grow in scale, revenue, impact and innovation.
Ready to build?
What type of business should apply for the ClimateLab program?Climate impact: Mitigation: Companies that reduce or remove greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Adaptation and Resilience: Companies preparing for a world that will be significantly impacted by climate change Preferred sectors: Clean Off-Grid Energy Solutions: Clean Cookstoves, PAYGO Solar, Storage & Cooling Mobility: Electric Vehicles, Charging Infrastructure, Batteries Agri-FoodTech: Precision Agriculture, Meat Alternatives, Regenerative Farming Energy Efficiency: Smart Devices, Retrofits, Heating & Cooling Preferred regions: South Africa East Africa Stage: Early-stage startups (pre-seed and seed) with positive signs of product-market fit, evidenced by customer validation Clear ambition to scale - we are looking for companies that can make a significant dent in climate change Company needs: Finance: Fundraising, financial models, cash flow management, business dashboards Hiring and culture: Identifying and closing key hires, developing the hiring processes, culture setting Scaling Sales: Sales playbooks, business development, Legal support Marketing and branding
What does the 8-month Business Building Program entail?Business Building: In-house team that will provide: 6 - 12 hours a week of commercial and financial assistance KPI/OKR setting Fundraising External and internal financial models Cash flow management Finance-driven decision making Hiring best practices & assistance Market research and analysis Expert-Led Sessions: SU LaunchLab utilises world-class experts to assist companies to complete key workstreams/projects (maximum of 3 per company per program) Experts will work with companies for between 4 –6 weeks on any given workstream or project Companies will receive an output after each engagement Cohort Sessions: 3 - 4 cohort sessions presented by an in-house expert or external guest speaker The topics chosen will be based on the cohort’s needs and experts’ availability Previous programs included cohort sessions on hiring, sales and fundraising Observing Board: 2-3 person observing board will be set up for each company for the 12-month period Board will consist of a combination of LaunchLab CEO, LaunchLab Directors and Industry/Domain Experts. Ideal composition will be determined in collaboration with the company Meeting will take place every second month, and will run for 1-2 hours depending on the company’s needs Key role of the board is to govern the engagement and to ensure accountability and responsibility from the founders and business building team
What non-financial outcomes will I get from the program?Diagnostic Report: Developed at the start of the program in collaboration with the company Foundational Fundraising Documents: Financial Model, Pitch Deck, Data Room Experts Deliverables: As part of the diagnostic, and throughout the program, experts will be identified to assist company with key needs. These workstreams with culminate in a tangible output/deliverable
What is included in the Additional Benefits package?Amazon Credits: Companies will receive USD 25,000 of Amazon Web Service (AWS) credits for 24 months from receipt Hubspot Discounts: Companies can receive up to 90% off of their first year of their Hubspot CRM subscription Service Provider Discounts: Discounts are available from SU LaunchLab’s preferred accounting legal, tax and marketing service providers Pitch and branding: Companies will receive a professional pitch deck from SU LaunchLab’s preferred provider as well as 1:1 pitch coaching sessions Impact and Climate Reports: Depending on the stage and type of company, the opportunity exists for companies to collaborate with external consultants (or Stellenbosch University) to develop impact and climate reports for the company Events: Companies will be invited to all demo days, closed-door investor events, and community events Co-Working Facility: SU LaunchLab runs a co-working space situated in Stellenbosch, and up to 2 founders can make use of the hot desk facilities for the duration of the program CEO and Founder Coaching: Dependent on the founders’ needs and personal situation, a life coach will be provided to support founders Content: Access to proprietary SU LaunchLab generated content and templates Stellenbosch University: Companies will be provided with the opportunity to have knowledge exchanges with leading academics across a variety of different faculties and schools including agriculture, engineering, climate, data science, etc. SU LaunchLab Network: Access to the entire SU LaunchLab network of investors, stakeholders, industry partners, etc.
What support will companies receive after Business Building has concluded?Four months of Support Services led by the ClimateLab Business Building team: Observing Board (two additional sessions) Bi-monthly check-ins from Business Building team Full access to team for any ad hoc questions and assistance Participation in all demo days and closed-door investor meetings Post-program shareholder support: Given the nature of a SAFE agreement, we will provide all the support that a cohort company would expect from a vested shareholder.