Tanzania-based agricultural technology startup, BioBuu, has announced the successful raise of US$200,000 in seed funding from the GIIG Africa Fund.
The investment sets the company at a US$5-million evaluation with funds to be used to hire additional talent, expand on its product range, and increase the business’s production and export capabilities in Tanzania and Kenya.
Founded in 2015, BioBuu is a social enterprise working to reduce food waste in Africa. In doing so, the company has developed a labor-intensive and commercially viable model that uses black soldier flies to process and recycle organic waste from restaurants and households into high protein chicken and fish feed, as well as organic compost.
These products are then sold on to farmers, who can use it to improve crop yields and replace more expensive animals feeds. In this way, BioBuu actively reduces the amount of food waste that ends up in landfill, while also helping to improve the quality of agriculture in Africa.
This latest raise of US$200,000 from GIIG Africa comes as BioBuu was named as the African winner of the AgriTech category at last year’s Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa in Cape Town, South Africa – the largest independent startup ecosystem competition on the continent and exclusive vehicle for the GIIG Africa Fund to find, fund and scale Africa’s most innovative startups with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-aligned solutions. BioBuu is now valued at US$5-million, following an additional investment of US$700,000 from impact investors, US$500,000 in sweat equity, and US$1.2 million secured in grant funding during the company’s research and development phase between 2015 and 2018.
“We are also excited to share that BioBuu has recently won a grant for €100,000 from Develop PPP Ventures – a funding programme of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Together with investment we have received from GIIG Africa, we will use these funds to further develop byproducts of our insect protein facility,” says Kigen Compton, Founder and CEO of BioBuu.
“We aim to expand our floating fish pellet production capabilities in Tanzania as well as begin to export insect protein out of our facility in Kenya. Part of this funding will also be used to further commercialize both the insect oil pressed from the protein as well as the carbon credits offset by reducing waste to landfill. In-line with our labor-intensive nature, we will be hiring more staff, to be able to take in more waste and scale up across our two factories,” adds Compton.
The need for innovative solutions to modernise waste management and sustainably drive agriculture comes as the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050i. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), sustaining such a population will in-turn require a 70% increase in world food production with the World Bank estimating global waste to amount to 3.4 billion tonnes each year by 2050iii. These developments threaten to accelerate deforestation, put severe strain on fresh water reserves, and lead to poor health and wellbeing for people living in densely populated urban areas where waste production is highest.
“Population growth and growing demand for food and waste management are arguably more poignant in Africa, which is set to become the largest continent globally by way of population size in 2050. It is therefore imperative that we drive more investment into innovation in these spaces, to ensure the continent is ready to meet these challenges head on,” adds Mahyar Makhzani, Co-founder of GIIG Africa.
“To that end, we’re thrilled to have Kigen and the BioBuu team join our investor portfolio – not only have they developed a unique and highly relevant business to the African market, but they have successfully merged and found a commercially viable way of addressing two important issues in Africa’s growth trajectory. We look forward to working with them, to help scale their solutions to Africa and the world.”
To identify, support and scale like-minded solutions to Africa’s sustainable development, GSA Africa has also announced the launch of the next season of the African Startup Awards, with nominations closing on mid-February.
“The Global Startup Awards are a great opportunity to showcase your company to a wider audience and procure investors outside of your immediate market. I highly recommend other innovators and entrepreneurs from across Africa the get involved in the next season of the African Startup Awards – it is a great platform for companies that have proven their business model in their home country or region to be showcased and introduced into a wider audience of both clients and potential investors across the continent,” adds Compton.