Top Page > Press Release 2024 > MOL to Invest in Novastar Ventures, One of Africa's Largest Venture Capital Firms - Expanding Business in Africa, Addressing Social Issues -

MOL to Invest in Novastar Ventures, One of Africa's Largest Venture Capital Firms
- Expanding Business in Africa, Addressing Social Issues -

April 08, 2024

TOKYO-Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto) today announced its intent to invest in Novastar Ventures People and Planet Fund III LP, an African startup investment fund managed by Novastar Ventures Ltd. (Representatives: Steve Beck, Andrew Carruthers; Head Office: U.K., (Note 1)), the largest venture capital firm in Africa.

Electric buses from startup BasiGo, one of Novastar's investments

Novastar annually screens over 100 African startups and has invested in many startups that are making significant contributions to solving social issues and promoting economic development in Africa. Through investment in Novastar-managed funds, MOL will acquire the latest information on promising startups that could become its partners and accelerate its business development in growth areas.

MOL was the first Japanese shipping company to establish a route between Japan and the east coast of Africa in 1926 and has been offering marine transport services to and from Africa for about 100 years. In recent years, the MOL Group has proactively developed various businesses, including not only ocean freight forwarding, but also air freight forwarding, land transport, warehousing, and the export of used Japanese agricultural machinery (Note 2). In the future, the group aims to further expand its logistics business based on ocean freight forwarding, and create and promote business opportunities in areas that are expected to grow in Africa and help address social issues, such as green energy (e-mobility, offshore wind power generation, hydrogen, ammonia-related businesses, and so on) and sustainability in agriculture and food, as Africa's rapid population growth and abundant resources, including renewable energy potential, are expected to expand markets and business opportunities.

MOL Group focuses on initiatives to address sustainability issues in the "BLUE ACTION 2035" management plan, and aims to achieve sustainable growth that helps address social issues and environmental concerns. The group also established a regional strategy to expand business in emerging economies, including Africa. It will utilize this investment to step up business development throughout Africa. Many startups are trying to solve social issues and achieve swift and large-scale commercialization in Africa. Through Novastar's extensive network, the group aims to seize business opportunities with partners who share the group's values and at the same time contribute to African society.

[Outline of the Fund]

Management company Novastar Ventures Ltd.
Investment fields E-mobility, agriculture, renewable energy, logistics, fintech, cold chain, affordable housing, retail and consumer goods, etc.
Target area All of Africa
Total amount of funds (planned) US$200 million
Investment start date June 2024 (scheduled)
Office locations London, Nairobi, Lagos
Management company website

(Note 1) Novastar is Africa's oldest venture capital firm, founded in 2014, and has raised more than US$200 million from investors around the world through two funds, Novastar Ventures East Africa Fund I LP and Novastar Ventures Africa Fund II LP, raised more than US$200 million from investors around the world, and invested in startups with innovative businesses that bring significant value to both society and the environment in sectors such as e-mobility, agriculture, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, retail and consumer goods, and fintech (new services and business fields created by combining information technology with the financial sector). It has contributed to solving social and environmental issues, improving people's lives, and achieving economic growth in Africa. Novastar has adopted international impact measurement frameworks, such as Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) promoted by the United Nations and Operating Principles for Impact Management promoted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to report social impact to investors alongside economic returns. It also has a track record of co-investment with many Japanese operating companies.

(Note 2) MOL has a subsidiary in Kenya, MOL Shipping (Kenya) Ltd., and the Nairobi branch of MOL Group company MOL Logistics Co., Ltd. (MLG), which is engaged in the forwarding business of ocean and air transportation to/from Africa. In May 2023, MOL and MLG teamed up with GCS Velogic, a major logistics company serving East Afica, and jointly offer total logistics services including forwarding, customs clearance, warehouse management, and land transport in Kenya and neighboring countries. In July 2023, the MOL Group launches 1st warehouse operaiton in Africa. In January 2024, MOL, with MLG formed strategic alliance with Revital Healthcare, Kenya's leading medical supplies manufacturer.

Signing ceremony for commitment letter agreeing to invest in Novastar
Andrew Carruthers, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Novastar (2nd from left)
Toshinobu Shinoda, Senior Managing Executive Officer of MOL (third from left)

MOL Group 5 Sustainability Issues
MOL Group identifies "Sustainability Issues" (Materiality) as our key issues for sustainable growth with society through realization of the Group Vision.
We anticipate this initiative to contribute especially to the realization of "Safety & Value -Provide added value through safe transportation and our social infrastructure business-", "Environment -Conservation for Marine and global environment-" and "Human & Community -Contributing to the growth and development of people and communities-".