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    HomeEcosystem NewsJapan’s MOL Group Backs Novastar Ventures’ US$200M Fund III

    Japan’s MOL Group Backs Novastar Ventures’ US$200M Fund III

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    Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), a prominent Japanese shipping company with a legacy spanning nearly a century, has announced its strategic investment in Novastar Ventures People and Planet Fund III LP, the largest venture capital firm in Africa. The move underscores MOL’s commitment to fostering sustainable business growth while addressing pressing social and environmental challenges on the African continent.

    Novastar Ventures, headquartered in the UK, boasts a track record of identifying and investing in innovative African startups dedicated to tackling social issues and driving economic development. With an annual screening process that evaluates over 100 startups, Novastar Ventures has successfully invested in ventures across various sectors including e-mobility, agriculture, healthcare, telecommunications, and fintech. By partnering with Novastar, MOL aims to gain access to cutting-edge technologies and promising startups that align with its vision of sustainable growth.

    Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd (MOL)’s engagement with Africa dates back to 1926 when it established shipping routes between Japan and the East coast of Africa. Over the decades, MOL has diversified its business portfolio to encompass not only ocean freight forwarding but also air freight forwarding, land transport, warehousing, and the export of used Japanese agricultural machinery. The company’s expansion into Africa’s logistics landscape underscores its commitment to leveraging emerging opportunities on the continent.

    In line with its “BLUE ACTION 2035” management plan, MOL has prioritized sustainability initiatives aimed at addressing environmental concerns and fostering social development. With a particular focus on emerging economies like Africa, MOL seeks to utilize its investment in Novastar to accelerate business development across the continent. By tapping into Novastar’s extensive network and expertise, MOL aims to forge partnerships with startups that share its values and contribute to the socio-economic advancement of African communities.

    The Novastar Ventures People and Planet Fund III LP targets investments in a wide array of sectors including e-mobility, agriculture, renewable energy, logistics, fintech, affordable housing, retail, and consumer goods. With a planned total fund size of US$200 million, the fund is poised to fuel innovation and drive sustainable growth across Africa. Scheduled to commence investments in June 2024, the fund will operate from offices in London, Nairobi, and Lagos.

    Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd (MOL)’s investment in Novastar Ventures underscores its commitment to addressing sustainability issues while pursuing business opportunities in Africa. By aligning its growth strategy with social and environmental objectives, MOL aims to create lasting value for stakeholders while contributing to the development of African economies.

    MOL Group identifies “Sustainability Issues” (Materiality) as key priorities for sustainable growth in alignment with its Group Vision. These include enhancing safety in transportation, conserving the marine and global environment, and contributing to the growth and development of communities. The investment in Novastar Ventures aligns with these sustainability goals, positioning MOL as a responsible corporate citizen committed to driving positive change in society.

    Charles Rapulu Udoh is a Lagos-based lawyer, who has several years of experience working in Africa’s burgeoning tech startup industry. He has closed multi-million dollar deals bordering on venture capital, private equity, intellectual property (trademark, patent or design, etc.), mergers and acquisitions, in countries such as in the Delaware, New York, UK, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, South Africa, Nigeria etc. He’s also a corporate governance and cross-border data privacy and tax expert. As an award-winning writer and researcher, he is passionate about telling the African startup story, and is one of the continent’s pioneers in this regard.

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