Catalyst also originates game-changing innovations.
VentureBuilder is a financing vehicle that uses a bottom-up approach to building a portfolio of African owned and managed off-grid solar companies. In addition to equity investments, VentureBuilder provides extensive Enterprise Development Services to portfolio companies in order to accelerate their path to sustained scale. VentureBuilder was conceptualized by Catalyst Off-Grid Advisors.
Catalyst conceptualized and since 2017 has jointly developed and delivered VentureBuilder (VB), a development company that is pioneering a new model to provide deep technical expertise and early-stage equity capital to scale African-owned and -managed off-grid solar distributors. VB partners with local enterprises, working hand-in-hand with them to build capacity around operations, sales and marketing, finance, governance and customer service, while providing them patient capital, enabling them to provide millions of people with modern, affordable, reliable energy services. The VB approach necessitates screening a large number of enterprises across Africa, providing key insights into new business models, and our full due diligence process tests their scalability, sustainability, and potential weaknesses. Should we make an investment, partner companies then receive a suite of ongoing enterprise development services, ensuring they have access to the diversity of knowledge and tools they need to scale their impact.
PAYGo Lab is a game-changing innovation that improves credit management and portfolio monitoring capacity across the off-grid solar industry. The Lab’s team of seasoned experts works collaboratively with companies to understand the root causes of credit management challenges, and develop a comprehensive, actionable plan. We help build systems, tools and capabilities to sustainably manage a portfolio at scale, including the design of a self-learning customer credit scoring tool.
The PAYGo Lab was developed to address critical challenges threatening the pay-as–you-go model within the off-grid solar industry. Its focus on increasing sales has led to collection crises within many companies. Inadequate credit screening and monitoring has translated into an industry-wide average collection rate of only 62%*. This underperformance threatens business viability, and throttles much needed additional investment into a sector that is poised to continue transforming access to electricity where it is most needed.
The Lab’s objective is simple - to help off-grid solar companies identify customers who can and will pay - on time - so customers continue to enjoy access to modern energy services, companies can deliver impact at scale and generate returns for their investors.
*World Bank, Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2022: State of the Sector. Mean Collection Rate is the percentage of customer payments received compared to payments expected for a given period.
The Access Insights Platform (AIP) is an interactive, open-source data visualization and aggregation platform. It provides users the ability to understand geospatial dimensions of key factors that influence last-mile service delivery, including critical infrastructure, population and demographics, economic activity, and household socioeconomic factors.
AIP’s Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) module offers users the opportunity to interact with the powerful MTF survey datasets which cover household access to electricity and clean cooking and go beyond the binary approach to look at access as a spectrum of service levels experienced by households.
AIP’s primary objective is to help enterprises make well-informed strategic decisions in the markets in which they operate or intend to operate in the future, helping them understand opportunities and risks in geographically defined areas. It is also intended to support governments and development partners to identify opportunities and maximize the impacts of their programs. AIP is sector agnostic, with a focus on democratizing data for practitioners that are focused on last mile service delivery. It was inspired by and complements other data visualization and analytic platforms that are available to practitioners and policymakers.