Ethiopian Kubik Plans Expansion into More African Countries Following Recent Funding

What’s this about?

  • Kubik, an Ethiopian startup, recently secured $5.2 million in seed funding and now plans to expand its innovative approach of transforming hard-to-recycle plastic waste into affordable, low-carbon building materials across Africa, addressing the continent’s housing and waste challenges.
  • Founded by Kidus Asfaw and Penda Marre, Kubik’s products offer a 40% cost reduction compared to traditional cement-based development, with five times fewer greenhouse gas emissions, catering to real estate developers and contractors seeking faster, more cost-effective building solutions.
  • With a multi-million-dollar investment from African Renaissance Partners, Endgame Capital, and King Philanthropies, Kubik plans strategic expansion into African markets next year, leveraging its success in Ethiopia’s Adama Industrial Park and growing demand for sustainable housing solutions. 

Zoom in…

Ethiopia’s Kubik, which specialises in transforming hard-to-recycle plastic waste into affordable, low-carbon building materials, is planning to expand into more African countries next year after recently securing US$5.2 million in seed funding.

Founded in August 2021 by Kidus Asfaw and Penda MarreKubik produces low-carbon, affordable building materials from plastic waste to tackle Africa’s housing and waste crises. Its products cost at least 40 per cent less per square metre than traditional cement-based development, and its low-carbon qualities yield five times less greenhouse gas emissions.

Kubik recently raised a US$5.2 million seed funding round to help scale operations, making it the first Ethiopian company to raise a multi-million-dollar investment in climate and sustainability solutions. Investors in the round include African Renaissance Partners, Endgame Capital, and King Philanthropies. The startup will use the funding to help it pursue its pan-African growth strategy.

What they are saying…

We turn hard-to-recycle plastic waste into low-carbon, low-cost building materials. Our initial product set includes an interlocking set of bricks, columns and beams that make walls. Our aim is to build clean and affordable living for all,” Asfaw said.

Kubik, whose clients are real estate developers and contractors with active projects in affordable housing, public infrastructure, and commercial buildings, is addressing the costliness, variable quality, and lack of speed builders currently face using regular cement. 

Our product costs close to 40 per cent less per square metre than traditional cement-based development, is two or three times faster to build with, and requires low-skill labour to build with,” said Asfaw.

Asfaw explained that the plan was to expand into strategic African markets next year. Things have already been going well. The funding round follows an exciting growth period for Kubik, during which, among other things, it has launched a new plastic upcycling factory in Ethiopia’s state-of-the-art Adama Industrial Park and secured several stellar clients, including Pharo Ventures and Cornerstone Development Group. 

We are seeing growth in sales and continue to find opportunities to use our products in different contexts. The uptake so far has been very good, with a clear demand for our solution. We are now focused on increasing production capacity to keep up with demand,” he elaborated.

The BIg picture

Indeed, affordable housing is a US$2.2 trillion global business, with a deficit of over 300 million units considered affordable to the poorest. With more than 40 per cent of the cost of housing development attributable to materials, Kubik’s business model of turning hard-to-cycle plastic waste into affordable building materials is potentially ideally positioned.

Kubik monetises via straight sales of its product, but Asfaw said being a hardware-focused company initially meant raising funds in order to scale was challenging. 

However, we were fortunate to have early backers that believed in us and our mission which enabled us to set up our production facility,” he said.


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