2020 Spring Cohort

Earth Wake was created by its three co-founders Laura Altinger, Cédric Rimaud and Yossef Zahar, following initial scoping work undertaken by the United Nations to identify ways to catalyze green, private-sector investment into climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Increasing numbers of responsible financial service providers (FSPs) across the region that are already delivering a social agenda see the growing market opportunity to serve vulnerable communities, smallholders and those most affected by ongoing climate change. The team has identified an existing gap in knowledge and capacity to identify workable solutions – financial products, processes and technologies – to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable people and communities and to help them adapt to climate change. Access to large-scale, dedicated green finance is required for this transformation yet climate and sustainable finance remains limited especially in lower middle-income countries and least-developed countries of the region. 

Debt capital markets are a natural financing choice for meeting this challenge due to the required scale and cost efficiencies. Underdeveloped local capital markets and FSPs’ weak financial standing require a pooled approach supported by blended finance.  To achieve greater impact, comprehensive technical assistance for communities, FSPs, and governments, complemented by knowledge exchange, is needed to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change, identify solutions to strengthen resilience, help FSPs best position themselves to fully realize the opportunity it offers, as well as achieve an enabling policy environment. 

With a vision to bring transformation at scale for vulnerable communities in the region, Earth Wake’s mission requires an in-depth understanding of climate change adaptation and mitigation in the context of Asia-Pacific; international climate finance and policy dialogue; coupled with the participation of development finance institutions for blended finance; overcoming barriers and mitigating risks including the exchange rate; credit enhancement; asset management; programme management; impact measurement tools; credit risk assessments and due diligence; knowledge of operations and governance of financial intermediaries; and the creation of sustainable financial products. Taking a collaborative and inclusive partnership approach as a core strategic component, Earth Wake is uniquely suited to deliver on this complex mission.

VAI Capital is an investment advisory and fund management company whose mission is to scale deployment of low-carbon road transport solutions globally.

There is growing pressure to adopt low emission transport solutions, and electrification of road transport is a top priority of policy makers globally. However, EV adoption at scale is faced with two main barriers: the high upfront costs of vehicles and infrastructure, and the lack of quick and reliable charging solutions.

Our first fund, the Vehicle Electrification Fund Africa (VEFA), will address these barriers and in doing so unlock a global market. The fund will invest in infrastructure projects that provide commercial fleets with vehicles and fast-charging infrastructure, as-a-service. VEFA will invest primarily in Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa, with the balance in OECD countries.

VEFA will support the development and implementation of green-field projects, working closely with local governments and supporting experienced project developers. The fund will be certified SDG-compliant, projects will comply with ESG risk management criteria, and SDG impact will be reported upon at project and fund levels. The partners bring over 50 years combined experience in electric vehicle and renewable energy technology, project development, and fund management.

VAI Capital’s ultimate aim is to provide attractive financial returns and a compelling impact – reducing premature deaths from air pollution and accelerating the fight against climate change.

Mercy Corps Ventures (MCV), the impact investing division of a leading global development agency, invests in, supports and partners with high-impact ventures developing bold solutions to the world’s toughest challenges.

While promising efforts to slow climate change are in progress, adverse impacts on the world’s poorest are inevitable and accelerating. MCV’s climate adaptation venture fund will make seed and early-stage investments in ventures with innovative solutions that build climate-resilient communities in frontier markets and reduce the impact of climate-related shocks on the world’s most vulnerable people. MCV’s mix of investment capital, value-added support and catalytic partnerships help ventures overcome critical barriers, professionalize faster and scale smarter. Through this blended finance fund, strategic deployment of catalytic capital will attract multiples more in private investment–building financially sustainable, scalable models that fit local market conditions and positively impact people today.

Wangara Green Ventures is a climate-focused fund in Ghana that invests between USD50,000 to USD500,000 in equity and quasi-equity in Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) in the missing middle that are engaged in renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, water management, climate-smart agriculture or generally climate-friendly businesses. Wangara also supports the growth and sustainability of these SGBs by making available pre-investment and post-investment Technical Assistance Grants to assist their growth and overall Environmental, Social and Governance impact.

Wangara Green Ventures seeks to promote Ghana’s economic development, job creation and industrial competitiveness through support for clean technology businesses and industries which represent some of the most promising and important sectors of the 21st century. Through the provision of financing and non-financial services, Wangara Green Ventures will support local entrepreneurs that develop innovative technologies and business models in these priority sectors. 

Wangara is sponsored by Innohub through the Ghana Climate Venture Facility (GCVF) from the World Bank.