“Venture capital as an asset class needs to be demystified and made more accessible beyond the typical male dominated networks.”- Angela Muraguri

Angela is an Investment Manager at KawiSafi Ventures, where she supports investments, portfolio management and the Technical Assistance Facility. She brings over 11 years experience supporting the investment ecosystem across Sub Saharan Africa. We got to know her a little better in this new series we are calling #KawiSafi Voices!

KSV: What do you like the most about the work you do at KawiSafi?

I view investing as a tool and not merely an end. While I love working with numbers, having the privilege to allocate capital to amazing teams building sustainable businesses and generating undeniable impact is the most rewarding part of my job. It's also great that in the process, I get to learn about different industries, business models, geographies, technologies and even cultures which keeps things exciting.

KSV: What can be done to close the gender gap in venture capital in Africa?

I don't think I have a short or complete answer for this. On one hand, capital allocation has historically been driven by patriarchal standards that determine who and what is funded. To tip the scales, we as investors need to have an honest look at the standards we consciously and subconsciously apply to ensure they suit the diversity of contexts that we work in. This may require funds to increase diversity on deal teams; increase bias awareness; ensure positive engagement with female founders; as well as have specific allocations for female led businesses. Venture capital as an asset class also needs to be demystified and made more accessible beyond the typical male dominated networks.

On the other hand, significant systemic barriers exist for women looking to enter entrepreneurship. We see this a lot in the energy sector. These barriers include lack of access to financial resources; STEM skills and knowledge; and networks which inevitably impacts the number of female-founded startups in the pipeline. I'm proud to say that KawiSafi has been leading the pack in working to address some of these barriers by building in capital allocations for female founders; and ensuring a diverse pipeline. We are also engaging the wider ecosystem by providing training of female solar PV technicians; and providing early stage support to female founders through the annual #GenderforClimate challenge.

Inaugural Gender 4 Climate Pitch Event during Africa Climate Week 2023

KawiSafi Ventures team with all the finalists of the competition

KSV: What emerging climate solutions are you most excited by?

Battery and energy storage: At the macro level, we are seeing global commitments and funding driving demand for batteries and energy storage solutions. We expect this to lead to:

  1. increased capacity and decline in costs;
  2. a need to manage mineral resources leading to further technological developments with lithium ion and other new generation battery chemistries; and,
  3. an increased focus on safety. These three trends in my view means that there will be better performing batteries at lower costs inevitably leading to better economics for e-mobility, weak grid solar backup power; as well as off grid products. We will also see the emergence of new business models to drive mass adoption of these products across Africa.

KSV: How do you spend your weekends?

A weekend well spent for me will have at least two of my following favourite things: time with family out in Limuru; dinner with friends at one of Nairobi's not so hidden gems; dancing away at a reggae or old school music event; reading a good book; or walking at Karura Forest.

KSV: Would you rather go on a relaxing vacation or an adventure hike?

Relaxing vacation! I do however have a few friends that will drag me kicking and screaming to hikes and other more active adventures; which I only admit to have enjoyed after the fact.

KSV: If you could dine with any three people living or dead, who would they be?

I’ll be honest and say that my answer to this question changes every few years so I’ll try and be a bit more original (sorry Michelle Obama) and focus here on the people who I’ve never quoted before:

  • Nayyirah Waheed: She is a poet credited with making the art form accessible to younger generations. In her two books Salt and Nejma, which I love, she goes ahead to defy ALL the rules of poetry and prose. Her work, which I believe was self published, has led to her being the most instagrammed poet and also given rise to a whole new generation of younger poets who defy the art form in different ways to express themselves. I’d love to meet her because through all this fame, she has kept her face and private life completely hidden.
  • Banksy: I’m sure you can now see where I’m going with this. I love his murals and have been to his exhibitions. He demonstrates that one can be an unconventional political activist without personally being in the limelight. In Banksy’s case, their art speaks for them.
  • Despite the fact that a trial is ongoing, I would love to meet Satoshi Nakamoto - the bitcoin “creator” or author of the famous white paper. Such a brilliant mind who set in motion one of the most important technologies of our time but chose not to take control of any of the IP rights.

With all three I would love to hear why they chose to keep their identities and lives hidden and hear some stories of how they have avoided identification over the years, especially in this interconnected, online world.

KSV: What is one book that has shaped who you are today?

Definitely the bible. Such an amazing source of wisdom and encouragement as well as a demonstration of God’s character and nature.

About KawiSafi Ventures

KawiSafi Ventures (KSV) is a fund that was created to unlock the potential of renewable off-grid energy as a faster, cheaper, and cleaner way to bring power to off grid communities in Africa. KSV aims to achieve social and environmental impact by enabling access to clean energy products and services to underserved communities in developing economies. By building scalable solutions that demonstrate a better way to electrify Africa, the fund will contribute to solving energy poverty while helping to avert the long-term climate crisis.

The Fund was created and developed by Acumen, an internationally recognized pioneer of impact investing that has invested more than $115 million in companies solving some of the biggest challenges of global poverty. After a decade of investing more than $20 million of patient capital across the off-grid ecosystem, Acumen recognized the powerful potential of decentralised renewable energy solutions, both in terms of investment and impact.