The sustainable forestry wood provider will use the funding to expand further into East Africa and bolster its wood manufacturing resources.

Axa Impact Fund, a vehicle representing insurance group Axa’s Investment Managers subsidiary, led a $28m first close for Kenya-based sustainable forestry operator Komaza’s series B round yesterday.

The round included venture capital firm Novastar Ventures, development bank FMO and impact asset manager Mirova’s Land Degradation Neutrality Fund.

Komaza oversees a forestry business that concentrates on small-scale growers, for which it provides training, harvesting services and planting inputs. It is targeting the industrial wood market and has planted some 2 million trees since it was founded in 2006.

Tevis Howard, founder and chief executive of Komaza, said: “At Komaza, our vision is to become Africa’s largest forestry company, by partnering with farmers to provide a sustainable and hyper-scalable domestic supply of wood.

“As a result, farmers get a climate-resilient, zero-risk source of wealth creation for their families, and investors get commercial returns, all while relieving the intense pressure on remaining natural forests.”

The series B proceeds will go to an expansion that will take in two more sites in East Africa, in addition to upgrading the company’s wood manufacturing capabilities and the launch of a mobile app to boost engagement with farmers.

Novastar Ventures had previously led the company’s $9.9m series A round in 2017. Axa Impact fund was among the limited partners for the firm’s first two funds, the second of which had raised $108m as of May this year.

Photo courtesy of Komaza.