ScarabTech Secures Seed Raise From GIIG Africa Fund

Story Highlights
  • Several commercial projects across Africa, Asia and Australia are on the cards for cleantech start-up ScarabTech following a seed funding round from GIIG Africa Fund, a “profit and purpose” fund. While the exact investment amount has not been disclosed, it marks the company’s first equity-led round after initial funding from various angel investors.

Founded in 2018, ScarabTech specialises in the production of small-scale and highly efficient plastic-to-energy units called “Beetles”. Developed using special software algorithms and design, these machines heat plastic waste, creating a vapor that is then captured and reconstituted into carbon-neutral fuel that can power generators and engines.

The technology seeks to address the burgeoning impact that single-use plastics have on the health of both local communities and the environment, while also creating a sustainable source of energy and job creation to address energy poverty and power micro-economies in under-served communities across southern Africa and the globe.

This latest raise comes as ScarabTech was named the African regional winner of the Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Tech category at this year’s Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.

The GSA is the largest independent start-up ecosystem competition on the continent and an exclusive vehicle for the GIIG Africa Fund to find, fund and scale Africa’s most innovative startups with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-aligned clean energy solutions.

“This round of equity-led investment is a significant achievement for the team and will help us prove out our technology for global distribution. Previously we were angel funded between 2018 and 2022,” notes Jeffrey Barbee, co-founder and chief executive of ScarabTech.

“The awards happened just as our first Beetle machines were being deployed, and GSA gave us a strong platform to amplify the awareness of our company, helping repay the belief of our initial investors while providing a gateway to access future funding.

“Now, we aim to expand our portfolio of real-world commercial projects, with partners like French-based Plastic Odyssey, a global expedition that uses our Beetle on their ship to show people around the world how to add value to plastic pollution. We are also excited to work with  Plastics Pirate in Australia, who are already using our technology to clean up plastic pollution threatening the Great Barrier Reef.”

With the insights gained from these projects, Barbee says the investment secured from GIIG Africa will be used to help the startup finalise the Beetle reference design and prepare to begin commercial production by December 2023.

He adds that: “These projects, and other in the field, are validating our business model and technology in its intended operating environment, a crucial step before we scale the business to start making an impact in the fight against plastic waste. This GIIG funding has made all of this possible.”

Venture Burn

Nichole Manhire

Is the media and brand manager at GFA News. She works very closely with editors and podcasters that contribute to telling the African business success story. For marketing and advertising send Nichole an email:

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