Expanding the cold chain across the African continent is both necessary and hard. A better network of cold storage facilities is necessary to drive down food waste and enable wider access to fresher produce. And it’s difficult due to high installation costs and all sorts of risks, most notably those surrounding intermittent electricity supplies and connectivity in rural areas.
Nevertheless, things are opening up thanks to cheaper and better solar power, and access to financing options. One company making a move here is UK-headquartered InspiraFarms. The firm designs, finances and supplies energy-efficient and solar-powered cold rooms to agribusinesses and food distributors in East and Southern Africa.
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In a recent call with AFN from South Africa, while stuck in lockdown, InspiraFarms co-founder and CEO Tim Chambers outlined some better news as consolation: his company had closed its Series B funding round to expand operations in the region. He did not disclose an amount on record.
The round was led by KawiSafi Ventures, a growth equity fund focused on renewable energy in East Africa. Existing investors Energy Access Ventures and the Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Community (PYMWYMIC) also participated in the round along with Untapped.
The selling point of InspiraFarms technology, according to Chambers, is that it allows its customers to access new higher-value markets, significantly cut energy costs, reduce post-harvest losses, and meet international food safety certifications.
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