Novastar Ventures is a Kenya-based venture capital management company focused on funding companies and partnering with entrepreneurs to help launch their ideas and magnify their impact. Novastar is committed to finding and backing exceptional businesses that are creating innovative business models geared to serve the rising East African mass market. The ultimate objective is to generate excellent returns to investors and also large-scale benefits to low-income households.
Overview of Novastar Ventures
Co-founded in Kenya by British investors Beck and Andrew Carruthers, Novastar Ventures made 15 investments in its first fund, mainly into East African companies. First investments included companies like SolarNow, a Kenya and Uganda-focused energy startup and M-Farm, an agriculture tech firm. Novastar was launched with a goal to provide flexible backing tailored to the receiving company’s needs. The Novastar team consists of experienced professionals with a shared vision of tackling undeveloped demand for basic services and goods in the largest regional markets of East Africa. These days, Novastar manages funding of over $200 million across two venture funds.
Headquartered in Kenya, with advisory offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria, Novastar Ventures supports ventures in the East African market and has a strong investment presence in Kenya and Nigeria as well as Uganda and Ethiopia. Although focused on Africa, Novastar Ventures has also invested in companies in Asia, the United States, and Europe.
Novastar Ventures is interested in entrepreneurs who have the ambition and capability to build businesses with the potential to transform markets and scale quickly. Some of the company’s most significant investments include:
- Bridge – An advanced educational technology business active in six countries.
- GreenPath – An Ethiopia-based specialty food company that supplies premium organic produce from small local farmers to global markets.
- Hivisasa – The leading Kenyan information and news service tailored for mobile and web.
- iProcure – Rural Africa’s largest agricultural supply chain platform.
- Komaza – A tech-enabled forestry company with the goal of meeting the wood supply gap in Africa by applying an outgrower model.
- L – An innovative technology platform created to connect businesses and households with informal workers.
- M–Farm – An agricultural services and technology company that connects small local farmers to markets further afield.
- Moko Furniture – An affordable and accessible mass market furniture brand with a presence in Kenya and South Africa.
- mPharma – A pharma company that provides accessible and affordable healthcare.
In the News
Novastar Ventures was featured in Africa Global Funds in July 2020 where a major investment into Komaza, a Kenyan sustainable forestry company, was announced. Tech Crunch reported in May 2020 on a $108 million investment into new commitments to launch the Africa Fund II. This drive was led by Novastar Ventures and was earmarked for 12 to 14 new investments across the continent. Also in May 2020, Tech Cabal reported on the final close for Novastar Ventures’ second fund. The article announced that Novastar became one of the biggest African VC firms when this deal was made.