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Pale Blue Dot supports Amini, an African climate technology start-up solving the scarcity of environmental data


Aminia Nairobi-based climate technology startup focused on solving Africa’s environmental data gap through artificial intelligence and satellite technology has raised $2 million in a pre-seed funding round.

Pale Blue Dot, the European climate-focused venture capital firm that announced a $100 million fund last week, led the oversubscription round. At the same time, Superorganism, RaliCap, W3i, Emurgo Kepple Ventures and a network of angel investors participated.

Kate Callot, the founder and CEO of Amini, has spent several years working in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and deep tech roles for companies such as Arm, Intel, and Nvidia. Kallot explained in an interview with TechCrunch how a work presentation on the intersection of natural capital and emerging technologies left her fascinated with how she could use her experiences in AI and ML, including her work on social impact with the United AI Alliance, to create a ​to solve the lack of data infrastructure on the continent, especially in the field of environmental data.

“The lack of data infrastructure for Africa, from the inability to collect data to analyzing it and its impact, is a bigger problem than most realize,” the CEO said during a phone call. “If you look at climate or environmental data in Africa today, it is either non-existent or difficult to access. And with climate change expected to affect Africa the most, there is a lack of data for farmers, for example, to understand what is happening.”

Often hailed as the last frontier market, Africa is home to 65% of the world’s unexplored fertile land and 30% of its mineral resources, yet accounts for only 3% of global GDP. In addition, the continent continues to be plagued by frequent food and water scarcity, despite its vast resources. One reason for this is the lack of reliable data, which has held back Africa’s development for decades by hampering business decisions and capital allocation, and making it difficult to measure the impact of climate change. There are other examples of nothing when accessing weather or geospatial data on the continent.

Amino inside. The six-month-old startup said it has developed a data aggregation platform that pulls in various data sources (from satellites and other existing data sources such as weather data, sensors and proprietary customer data) down to the square meter, then unifies and processes this data before providing it via local and international companies APIs they need.

Today, Amini can provide farmers with granular data on the cycle from crop planting to harvest to the amount of water and fertilizer used. At a higher level, the platform can help organizations understand the impact of natural disasters, floods and droughts across the continent “in seconds,” said Kallot, who also said the platform could draw on nearly 20 years of historical data and current data produced every two weeks.

Kate Kallot (founder and CEO of Amini). Image Credits: Amini

Amini’s current clients, primarily corporate and multinational corporations, are in the agricultural insurance and supply chain monitoring industries, particularly in the “last mile” or early stages of the global supply chain. Kallot was unable to disclose the names of Amini’s clients, adding that the less than a year old climate tech startup is in talks to sign up with “some of the largest food and beverage companies and one of the largest insurance companies in the world ..”

Addressing the lack of environmental data for organizations in these industries represents a necessary change. Take, for example, global food and beverage companies with franchises in Africa, such as Nestlé or Starbucks. There is increasing pressure from international regulatory bodies, such as the SEC Climate Disclosure rules and the European Green Deal, which mandate that these companies understand their carbon emissions and environmental impact and how their operations and supply chain processes affect local agricultural practices in various regions, including Africa, to influence.

Platforms like Amini bring much-needed data transparency to these global organizations with vested interests in Africa, helping them address last-minute supply chain issues and provide farmers with agricultural insurance. “The beauty of the platform is that it is easily scalable, because once you collect agricultural data for, say, insurance, that same data, 80 to 90%, can be sold to food and beverage companies that have supply chains in Africa or can be sold to governments who are trying to understand the impact of agriculture on their land.”

Amini’s business is such that it deals with a long sales cycle. International customers can access the platform’s API after paying a fixed license fee “in the millions” for two years. Local customers have stepped introductory pricing on a case-by-case basis, giving them access to what they need and growing over time.

Big intelligence, a Kenya-founded but New York-based AI-powered insight company that provides decision-making tools and analytics to the food, agriculture and climate economies and their participants, is the name that most often comes to mind when industry observers try to make sense of Amini’s company, according to Kallot. However, the CEO says there are notable differences: Amini collects and generates the data that Gro, among others, collect and use to clarify the interrelationships between food, climate, trade, agriculture and macroeconomic conditions.

Kallot says that Amini, which recently became the first African company to be accepted into the Seraphim Space Accelerator program (scouts of the top 2% of global space startups), is in direct competition with geospatial companies such as Planet Labs that have a constellation of satellites that collect data around the world and provide access for $15 per square mile. According to Kallot, using such technology is quite expensive for organizations in Africa or looking at the continent, and Amini offers an alternative.

This piece highlights that venture capital activity around climate technology has been heating up in Africa since last year, despite the global cooling of venture capital funding. Last year, the continent’s climate tech startups raised more than $860 million in equity funding. Companies such as Novastar Ventures, Catalyst Fund and Equator are raising or have raised climate technology funds for pre-seed for Series A startups.

Commenting on why her company, which typically writes checks to European climate technology startups, invested in Amini, an African startup, Heidi Lindvall, general partner at Pale Blue Dot, said: “The scarcity of high-quality environmental data in Africa is a concern as it prevents others from developing important climate solutions, such as improving farmer insurance, monitoring climate risks or supply chains. When we met the team behind Amini, we were blown away by their ambition and expertise and we believe they are best positioned to fill the environmental data gap in Africa.”

Before launching Amini, Kallot was co-founder and chief impact officer at African web3/crypto Mara. Mwenda Mugendi, Muthoni Karubiu and Eshani Kaushal, who are all part of the Amini executive team, bring a wealth of experience in machine learning, data science, geospatial analytics and fintech, working for multinational corporations including Microsoft, NASA and MTN.

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