EQ announces the initial investment of Spark+ Africa Fund!


Spark+ has made its first investment in BURN to Accelerate its Multi-Country Expansion across Africa.

Zurich, June 1, 2022

Enabling Qapital is delighted to announce the initial investment of Spark+. After its first closing in March, Spark+ has now invested US $4 million via a long term quasi-equity instrument in BURN Manufacturing. Burn is a Kenyan manufacturing company that specializes in the design and manufacture of biomass, electric, and LPG cookstoves. With their products, BURN consumers save time and money, improve health, lower harmful pollution and reduce the use of wood and charcoal. Enabling Qapital and Spark+ want to thank all the partners and teams who contributed with their extensive experience and efforts to expanding cleancooking solutions across Africa and moving more money to meaning.


In sub-Saharan Africa, 900 million people lack clean and modern energy for cooking. Without the electric stoves and piped natural gas prevalent in developed countries, they are forced to spend an estimated $35 billion annually on unhealthy and polluting open fires, charcoal, and kerosene. According to a 2020 World Bank report, this generates annual social, environmental, and economic costs of more than $330 billion in Africa, while the investment required by the private sector to deliver access to modern alternatives would be only $2.6 billion. Solutions that rely on LPG, ethanol, electricity, biogas, and processed biomass fuels, as well as more efficient biomass stoves, are being commercialized with technology-integrated business models and are enabling underserved consumers to adopt modern energy.


Peter George, Investment Director of Spark+ and Chairman of SMC: “This transaction is the result of a long and fruitful relationship with BURN. We’re incredibly pleased how the BURN team has leveraged a $500,000 start-up grant from the Clean Cooking Alliance in 2013 to become a true leader in its space. This investment also illustrates the role Spark+ intends to play in scaling up growth-stage ventures, and we look forward to supporting BURN as it extends its reach across Africa.”


Xavier Pierluca, Investment Director of Spark+ and Managing Partner of EQ: “BURN has demonstrated market-leading innovation capabilities, designing stoves for various fuels and consumer demographics, all while achieving scale in local production of quality products in Africa. We are very excited to engage in a long- term financing relationship with the company to support its growth in new geographies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.”


About Spark+ Africa Fund: Spark+ is the first impact investment fund launched by Spark+ General Partner (GP), a joint venture between its Switzerland-based investment advisor EQ, and Netherlands-based foundation SMC. Switzerland-based Woodman Asset Management acts as the Fund’s Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM). The Fund’s investors include leading development finance institutions, pension funds, family offices, and foundations. The Fund has a target size of $70 million. The US-based Clean Cooking Alliance, an initiative hosted by the United Nations Foundation, supported the development of Spark+.


Peter Scott, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BURN: “As we embark on the most ambitious growth plans in our company’s history – expanding to new markets across Africa, increasing our production capacities, and launching new product lines – we are grateful to receive this timely investment from Spark+ Africa Fund. This funding will assist us in reaching new heights as the global leader of clean cooking design and manufacturing, and will allow us to continue executing upon our mission of saving lives and forests across the African continent. We are pleased that Spark+ has chosen BURN as their initial investment and we welcome their partnership on our shared journey.”


About BURN Manufacturing: BURN is the only vertically integrated modern cookstove company in Africa. Its solar-powered manufacturing facility in Nairobi currently has a capacity of over 50,000 stoves per month and employs over 600 people, 60% of whom are women. Since its founding in 2013, BURN’s products have delivered energy access to 7.5 million people across 14 countries in Africa.


About the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA): CCA works with a global network of partners to build an inclusive industry that can make clean cooking accessible to all. Established in 2010, CCA is driving consumer demand, mobilizing investment, and supporting policies that allow the clean cooking sector to thrive. CCA supported the Fund’s development and is a TA partner.


About Stichting Modern Cooking: SMC is a Netherlands-based foundation governed by a management board which consists of clean cooking sector experts and impact investment professionals. SMC is a shareholder in the GP and the Fund’s TA partner.


About University of Michigan Law School’s International Transactions Clinic: The first of its kind in the United States at its launch in 2008, the ITC aims to be a training ground for highly qualified lawyers who graduate already experienced at representing their clients’ interests in an increasingly globalized and complex world. The BURN transaction team included Teddy Ulin, Yuzhen Zhang, and Saika Suzuki, and was supervised by ITC director David Guenther and Carl Valenstein, a Boston-based Partner in the corporate and business transactions practice at Morgan Lewis Bockius.

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