Much of the world is facing a housing deficit, and the UN-Habitat estimates that 96,000 new homes must be built to combat this challenge. In Africa, countries like Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa have huge housing deficits, and with increasing population and urbanisation rates, are under pressure to provide credible alternatives.
On the other hand, despite producing and consuming less than 10% of global plastic, plastic waste presents a major challenge for Africa. Individuals and companies building solutions to tackle this challenge are not exactly hard to find, but access to funding is often hard to come by.
Today, Kubik, an Ethiopia-based startup, is announcing a $3.34 million investment, which it says will go towards increasing its production capacity.
CEO Kidus Asfaw co-founded the startup in 2021 with Penda Marre, a former colleague at UNICEF. Kubik converts plastic waste into low-cost building materials. Consequently, it solves two problems: affordable housing and plastic pollution.
Asfaw explains that up to 10,000 homes can be built each year using the waste it processes at its facility.
Climate tech VC, Satgana joined this round, adding Kubik to an African portfolio that includes Mazi Mobility and Revivo. Co-founder Romain Diaz had this to say about the firm's investment in Kubik.
"We are thrilled to invest and partner with Kubik on their transformative journey. Their purpose-driven vision, exceptional team, and unique business model — combining positive social impact, circular economy, and low-carbon construction — position Kubik as a scalable and sustainable solution to Africa’s most pressing challenges."
Other investors in the round include Unruly Capital, GIIG Africa Fund, Bestseller Foundation, Plug & Play, Kazana Fund, Princeton Alumni Angels, Savannah Fund, African Renaissance Partners, and Andav Capital.
Kubik's products are anti-inflammable and non-degradable, Afsaw says, and produce five times less greenhouse emissions than cement products.
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"The world is urbanizing dramatically fast today, and cities are feeling the burden of unmanaged plastic waste, unaffordable living conditions (especially in housing), and the impact of climate change. Our company plays a role in addressing all three of these challenges through a lower-carbon, lower-cost building solution that removes plastic waste from the environment."