AXA IM Alts Leads New Investment Round in Sanergy

AXA IM Alts1, a global leader in alternatives investments, through the AXA Impact Fund Climate and Biodiversity2, along with Mani Kapital and Kepple Ventures, two Tokyo-based investment platforms, have invested in Sanergy, an organics recycling company transforming how cities in the developing world manage waste by upcycling it into valuable agricultural inputs – insect-based protein for animal feed, organic fertilizer, and biomass fuel. This circular economy approach is cleaning up the environment, promoting sustainable agriculture, improving yields for farmers, and creating thousands of jobs along the value chain.

“The future of our planet requires both innovative thinking and bold, climate-friendly investing. We are delighted to partner with AXA IM Alts, an institutional investment manager with a strong investment solutions offering. AXA IM Alts’ vast investment experience and its networks will catalyze our growth,” said Ani Vallabhaneni, Sanergy CEO and Co-Founder.

With AXA IM Alts’s support, Sanergy would be well-positioned to scale its operations in Kenya and across the region. Sanergy collects organic and sanitation waste from agribusiness, urban markets, informal settlements, and central kitchens, then processes these waste streams into insect-based proteins derived from black soldier flies for animal feed replacing unsustainable fishmeal, soil-restorative organic fertilizer for sustainable agriculture, and biomass fuel replacing unsustainable firewood and heavy fuel oil in industrial boilers. AXA IM Alts’s support also positions Sanergy for expansion across Africa and Asia in the coming 5 years. Sanergy has the goal of processing 1 million tons of waste per year by 2026, and aims to operate in at least 10 cities.

“We believe that Sanergy provides a transformational solution to the health and environmental hazards caused by the improper management of waste in Africa and beyond and we are thus very excited to contribute to the next phase of Sanergy’s ambition. Sanergy, which demonstrates that a focus on the health and well-being of people can also lead to significant environmental benefits, is a great addition to our portfolio of investments we manage on behalf of our clients and composed of businesses offering scalable solutions to environmental issues and tangible solutions actively participating to promote biodiversity and fight against climate change,” said Jonathan Dean, Head of Impact Investing, AXA IM Alts.

As part of the investment, the consortium made a secondary investment to acquire the stake held by Acumen and by Global Partnerships. Both of these partners were early stage investors in Sanergy, and their exit marks a resounding conclusion to a successful partnership and offers further proof in the power of impact investing.

“Acumen and Global Partnerships believed in Sanergy’s potential and leadership when we were a very young company. We are forever grateful for their support, mentorship and solidarity as we work to solve important social, environmental and economic challenges and we are so pleased to have rewarded their faith in us,” said David Auerbach, Sanergy President and Co-Founder.

“We first invested in Sanergy when the company consisted of a small group of dedicated founders with a big vision to create a sustainable, cost-effective, and scalable solution to the sanitation crisis in informal settlements,” said Jim Villanueva, Managing Director of the Global Partnerships/Eleos Social Venture Fund. “I’m so proud to see how Sanergy has grown to serve more than 100,000 residents per day with safe sanitation, while producing valuable commercial byproducts from waste inputs. We have confidence in the continued growth of Sanergy globally and are pleased to see long term strategic funders stepping in to take the company forward.”

“Acumen is proud to have supported Sanergy’s founding team who had the courage to address the sanitation problem facing poor communities in East Africa. Acumen’s capital and post-investment support helped Sanergy successfully design and implement an innovative business model that provided low-income communities with clean and sustainable toilets. The company is now well positioned to leverage its sanitation by-products to address at scale the challenge of lack of affordable and quality animal feed inputs,” said Shiru Mwangi, Acumen East Africa Regional Director.

Sanergy has also recently been recognized for its work recently as a winner of the inaugural Carl Bergfors’ Food Planet Prize.

  1. AXA IM Alts is part of AXA Investment Managers and a global leader in alternative investments with c. €153 billion of assets under management as at 30 September 20201, across real assets (real estate & infrastructure), private debt & alternative credit and private equity & hedge funds. AXA IM Alts employs over 700 people located in 16 offices around the world and serve the needs of more than 350 clients from Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Middle East. We are a global leader in real assets investment with c. €102 billion of assets under management, the number one property portfolio and asset manager in Europe2, and one of the largest worldwide.
1 Source: AXA IM data (unaudited). All figures as at 30 September 2020.
2 Source: INREV Fund Manager Survey, June 2020. #1 Real estate manager headquartered in Europe based on total assets under management.
  1. AXA Impact Fund Climate and Biodiversity is not registered in France. This fund is not open to retail investors.

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