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Amini raises $2M to solve environmental data scarcity for Africa

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Amini Main Team (Picture: Amini)

Amini, an early-stage company focused on solving Africa’s environmental data gap through artificial intelligence and satellite technology, has raised $2M in pre-seed funding in an oversubscribed round led by Pale Blue Dot, a leading European Climate Tech fund. Other investors include Superorganism, RaliCap, W3i, Emurgo Kepple Ventures and a network of angel investors from the global technology community.

Africa, home to 65% of the world’s uncultivated fertile land and 30% of its mineral resources, accounts for only 3% of the global GDP. One reason for this disparity is lack of reliable and trustworthy 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.

Within the first six months of operation, the company has developed a robust data aggregation and analytics platform capable of collecting, unifying, and processing satellite data, weather data, and other types of data down to a square meter. The platform provides access to valuable environmental data analytics, including drought, flood, soil and crop health. This data can be processed to forecast crop yields for millions of smallholder farmers in mere seconds, as well as measuring the impact of natural disasters across the region.

Amini was designed to address Africa’s data scarcity, facilitate capital investment, promote climate resilience, and accelerate economic development opportunities in the region.

Amini has found its first customers in the agricultural insurance sector, using the platform’s granular, verifiable, and actionable data for enhancing farmers’ resilience through parametric agricultural insurance coverage. With a focus on regenerative agriculture, this collaboration aims to support both African farmers and global food chains.

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While the company initially focused on the insurance industry, they are now experiencing rapid expansion into supply chain monitoring, specifically at the “last mile,” or the initial stages of the global supply chain. This expansion holds significant importance for multinational companies seeking precise measurements of their carbon footprint and the ability to report on their environmental impact. This need is further emphasized by upcoming global regulations, such as the SEC Climate Disclosure rules and the European Green Deal. These regulations mandate companies importing commodities like coffee, cocoa, timber, and palm oil to have comprehensive knowledge of their supply chain and its impact on deforestation and degradation down to the finest details at the last mile.

Heidi Lindvall, General Partner, Pale Blue Dot, said: “The scarcity of high-quality environmental data of Africa is a concern as it prevents others from building important climate solutions such as for example improving farmer insurance, monitoring climate risk or supply chains. When meeting the team behind Amini we were blown away by their ambition and expertise and we believe they are best positioned to fill the environmental data gap of Africa”

The team possesses a strong track record of using deep technologies to tackle challenges specific to Africa, showcasing a unique blend of talent and expertise. Kate Kallot, the founder and CEO of Amini, boasts over a decade of leadership experience in driving global innovation in artificial intelligence and machine learning at renowned technology companies like Intel, Arm, and NVIDIA. Kallot has spearheaded initiatives focused on leveraging artificial intelligence and social impact to benefit the African continent, such as the United AI Alliance, which aims to bridge the AI compute gap and enhance data capabilities in emerging markets. Joining Kallot on the executive team are Mwenda Mugendi, Muthoni Karubiu, and Eshani Kaushal. Together, they bring a wealth of experience in machine learning, data science, geospatial analysis, and fintech, gained from leading organizations such as Microsoft, NASA and MTN. The Amini team is deeply committed to making a positive impact, in Africa and beyond.

Kate Kallot, CEO and Founder of Amini, said: “We are building the single source of truth for environmental data across Africa. Data has the potential of transforming livelihoods by enabling everything from climate resilience to sustainable value chains. Should Amini reach its full potential and solve this problem, we are setting up Africa for tremendous transformation and development over the next decade. It’s a long way to get there but the early customer success and interest from global enterprises, governments and international organizations is showing us that we’re on the right track. “

Amini has also become the first African company accepted onto the highly selective Seraphim Space Accelerator programme, which scouts from the top 2% of global early-stage space companies.

 

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Press Release

Emil Ekiyor Named In “Indiana 250” Most Influential List

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Emil Ekiyor, Founder at InnoPower (Image: Supplied).

IBJ Media has named Emil Ekiyor, one of Africans in the Diaspora leading accomplished community leader and entrepreneur, in the 2024 Indiana 250, the annual list of the 250 most influential leaders in Indiana. The Indiana 250 Most Influential List, now in its third year, recognises the state’s most influential and impactful business and community leaders, representing public and private companies, law firms, universities, not-for-profit, government and community organizations. Mr Ekiyor, is recognised for his accomplishment as a community leader and entrepreneur dedicated to empowering African and African American communities. The list is available at Indiana250.com.  

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Born in Nigeria, Emil embarked on an educational journey to the United States at age 15. He excelled academically and athletically in high school, earning a full scholarship to the University of Central Florida. As a college football team captain, Emil demonstrated stellar leadership and strategic skills. He went on to have a six-year professional football career with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. Upon retiring from the NFL, Emil transitioned into entrepreneurship and community leadership roles.

Emil currently serves as CEO of InnoPower Indy Inc., driving innovative community empowerment programs. He has also served as President of the Indianapolis Black Expo Indy chapter and Indy Youth Sports, while serving on nonprofit boards like Friends of Education, Teach for America Indy and the Boys Scouts of America.

With a commitment to advancing black talent and closing wealth gaps, Emil brings collaboration, innovation and courage to his community leadership. He continues to create sustainable change as a beacon of hope for African and African American communities.

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Press Release

The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy to Showcase I-PHILANTHROPY Platform at 2024 IMBW @ RALLY

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Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO) Chairperson, Thelma Ekiyor Solanke (Image: Supplied).

The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO) is set to introduce its groundbreaking I-PHILANTHROPY platform at a high-profile roundtable discussion during the 2024 innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY, taking place on August 27-28 in Indianapolis. This landmark event, hosted by NPO Chairperson Honorable Thelma Ekiyor Solanke, will explore innovative solutions for creating access to capital in disenfranchised communities.

I-PHILANTHROPY is a cutting-edge digital solution that leverages technology to support Nigerian small business owners and create unprecedented access to capital for micro-enterprises. The platform’s success in Nigeria offers a promising model for addressing similar challenges faced by underserved communities in the United States.

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“I-PHILANTHROPY represents a paradigm shift in financial inclusion and support for micro-enterprises,” said Honorable Thelma Ekiyor Solanke. “We’re excited to share our experiences at innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY and explore how this model can be adapted to empower disenfranchised communities in the USA.”

The roundtable will discuss:

– I-PHILANTHROPY’s impact on capital access for Nigerian micro-businesses.

– Potential applications of the model in US minority communities.

– Strategies for engaging diaspora and global participants in local economic development.

– Opportunities for international collaboration in supporting grassroots entrepreneurship.

This showcase is a highlight of innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY, a premier event that combines innoPower’s focus on empowering minority-owned businesses with RALLY’s emphasis on innovative solutions to global challenges. The conference brings together entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and innovators to share knowledge, build networks, and drive economic empowerment.

“The I-PHILANTHROPY platform aligns perfectly with our mission to foster growth and success among minority-owned businesses,” said Emil Ekiyor, Founder at innoPower. “This roundtable offers a unique opportunity to learn from international best practices and explore new strategies for addressing capital access challenges in our communities.”

Erica Schweyer, Executioner at RALLY, added, “By bringing together diverse voices from technology, business, and philanthropy, we aim to catalyze transformative ideas that can have real-world impact on disenfranchised communities both in the US and globally.”

 

Sign up for the Roundtable and receive a 88% discount https://innopower.formstack.com/forms/imbwdiscount

 

About Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO):

NPO is at the forefront of leveraging technology for social good in Nigeria. Their I-PHILANTHROPY platform is revolutionizing how global participants can support Nigerian micro-enterprises and contribute to local economic development.

About innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY:

This collaborative event combines innoPower’s focus on fostering growth and success among minority-owned businesses with RALLY’s emphasis on innovation and transformative ideas. It brings together entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and innovators to share knowledge, build networks, and drive economic empowerment.

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Press Release

Swedfund invests USD 30 million in Access Bank to fund underserved MSMEs in Nigeria

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Swedfund invests USD 30 million in Access Bank Nigeria Plc to reach underserved MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) at scale. By providing long-term capital and capacity building to unbanked and under-banked companies in Nigeria, the investment is expected to support sustainable private sector development and inclusive growth.

Nigeria, with a population of 230 million, has an unemployment rate at a staggering 33%. Additionally, over half of the rapidly growing population is below the age of 30, which further exacerbates the need for job creation and workforce development. As Nigeria also copes with a multitude of crises, including insecurity, food shortages and inflation, the resilience and power of MSMEs is critical to driving sustainable development and reducing poverty.

Swedfund’s investment aids in advancing sustainable private sector development, encouraging inclusive growth, and expanding access to finance. Access Bank, known for its strong market presence and with a committed MSME strategy, serves as an effective partner to reach MSMEs in need of financing in Nigeria, says Kitanha Toure, Regional Director of West Africa at Swedfund.

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Access Bank is systemically important and well-positioned to reach a significant number of MSMEs in Nigeria. Swedfund’s investment will contribute to direct and indirect job creation and other tax-generating activities as well as improved access to finance for rural and underserved groups, female- and youth-owned companies.

Access Bank is eligible to meet the 2X Criteria, a global baseline standard for gender finance, and recognised as the best SME bank for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

The loan is part of a syndicate led by the Dutch development finance institution, FMO, with a total value of USD 295 million. The syndicate consists of other Nordic and European development finance institutions such as BII, BIO, Finnfund and Norfund.

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