Amini, a Kenya-based climate-tech startup bridging the environmental data gap in Africa, has raised $4 million in a seed funding round led by Salesforce Ventures and the Female Founders Fund. Climate-tech VC Satgana also participated, alongside other investors, including Pale Blue Dot and Superorganism, which had previously backed the startup in its $2 million pre-seed round earlier this year.
Amini mainly pulls data from satellites and integrates it with other datasets, including sensor, research and ground truthing to, for instance, offer insights on biodiversity, soil or crop health, or to track farming progress and practices (regenerative) like water or fertilizer use. The startup says its platform enables the creation of real-time monitoring tools and ML models to support insights into diverse actions, including flood detection.
Kate Kallot, Amini founder and CEO, says the data aggregation platform taps artificial intelligence and space technologies to make environmental data on Africa easily accessible, for easier decision making and transparency in supply chains.
“What we are building is going to make brands more accountable and to do what is right for the people, environment and planet. It will also help them measure progress against what they say they are doing or will do, but also in a way that shows the world that they are truly sustainable brands…and can prove it because they have the data to do so,” Kallot told TechCrunch.
Its initial clients include enterprises in the agricultural and insurance industries, among them Aon. Amini also has its eyes on food and beverage companies and consumer packaged goods producers that are “aiming to sustainably transform their supply chains” as it doubles down on enabling multinationals to transform their supply chain to regenerative. This comes as new regulations in “the U.S and Europe that compel corporations to disclose the climate risks in their supply chains.”
Kallot says Amini being at the fore of enhancing transparency, data access and greater economic inclusion for farmers is a “unique opportunity to kickstart positive feedback loops that will transform global food systems.”
“We want to empower our people. We want to help all these farmers to move from surviving to thriving. Our thesis is that you can only do that if you have access to data because if you have access to data, there is transparency and if you have transparency, then you have trust. And when you have trust, people invest more,” said Kallot, who previously held tech roles in various companies including Nvidia and Intel.
“It’s exactly the reason why we’re doing this. We’re trying to empower people and flip the narrative when it comes to Africa. But also recalibrate a little bit the value chain, because if you look at the cocoa value chain, for example, people making the most money will probably be the ones who are selling the finished product. The people making the least money are the ones producing the commodities. How can you rebalance and innovate that chain and bring the value down into the hands of the farmers and the people on the continent?” posed Kallot.
Amini, which can provide historical data up to 20 years, has limitless use cases, and Kallot is keen on building it into a platform that can be used to build other solutions for the continent.
“The big aspiration of Amini is to be a pure platform play. We are not going to solve the entire continent’s problems, and that is why we are focusing on making sure that we have good environmental data for Africa. And then give thousands of developers and people tools to help them create even more innovative solutions for their communities,” she said.
Commenting about the deal, Claudine Emeott, the VP of Salesforce Ventures Impact Fund, which has invested in a handful of companies in Africa including Flutterwave, Andela and Angaza, said: “We are thrilled to support Amini, a trailblazing company at the forefront of artificial intelligence innovation and climate technology. Amini.ai’s cutting-edge technology is poised to redefine industries and drive transformative change. With a visionary team and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of climate AI, we are confident that it is poised for exceptional growth.”