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Our investment into Kubik: an Ethiopian-based startup turning plastic waste into low-carbon, low-cost buildings

We are incredibly excited to be part of their journey and look forward to supporting Kidus, Penda and their team alongside an exceptional group of investors: Global Innovation Initiative Group, Plug and Play Tech Center, Savannah Fund, BESTSELLER FOUNDATION, Kazana Fund, Unruly Capital, Princeton Alumni Angels , and JLL

Urbanization is one the most profound transformations that the African continent will undergo in the 21st century. Since 1990, the number of cities in Africa has doubled and their cumulative population has increased by 500 million people. This dramatic shift has substantial impacts on people, the environment and development. Changes include air and water pollution, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem degradation while carbon emissions from cities and associated land use changes are becoming an important driver of climate change. Further, many people don’t have access to affordable building materials and so the construction of informal housing persists. 

In accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, the global concrete industry must reduce emissions by 16 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050 to stay within the 1.5°C warming carbon budget. This effort will require significant changes across the concrete value chain, but the easiest and most cost-effective measure is to use less material while meeting project requirements.

Impact through design  

Kubik is an Ethiopian-based startup that turns hard-to-recycle plastic waste into low-carbon, low-cost, building materials. The company employs cutting-edge technology for recycling and repurposing plastic waste into green, cost-effective, and long-lasting low-carbon building materials. Kubik wants to use this technology to make housing and public infrastructure that can help underprivileged communities. Kubik’s products can be made into schools, clinics, affordable housing units, storage, and warehouse units, public toilet facilities, paving blocks, fencing structures, and more.

As children of Africa, Co-Founders Kidus Asfaw and Penda Marre have combined their talents and experience to start a company on a mission to bring environmental dignity to growth by making safe, affordable, and durable buildings. With the anticipated rise in population, this has the potential to alter the course of construction in Ethiopia and Africa and provide a solution to the problem of creating affordable housing. The use of recycled plastic in construction will cut down on waste and carbon emissions while also making the environment cleaner and safer.

Kubik and the Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) have reached an agreement for the company to lease space in the Adama Industrial Park to build a waste plastic recycling plant. Through the manufacturing of the construction materials, they hope to recycle about 10,000 tons of plastic waste annually.

Global Startup of the Year Winner: 2023

The Global Startup Awards (GSA) is an independent startup ecosystem competition whose mission is to find, fund, and scale the most innovative companies. This was the first year that saw winners of the GSA Africa make it onto the list of global finalists at this event, with Kubik recognised for their world-class skills and innovation at the event. Kidus accepted the award for Startup of the Year in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“I represent Kubik, but more importantly, I represent Africa,” said Kidus, during his acceptance speech at the GSA. “It truly takes a village to build a company. It’s not without the support of our community and country that Kubik is where we are today as the global Startup of the Year.”

Why we invested

At Satgana, we share the same sentiments of the capability of Africa to become a hub for innovative solutions and contribute to the promotion of global ingenuity. 

"We are thrilled to invest and partner with Kubik on their transformative journey," said Romain Diaz, founder and CEO at Satgana. "Their purpose-driven vision, exceptional team, and unique business model - combining positive social impact, circular economy, and low-carbon construction - positions Kubik as a scalable and sustainable solution to Africa's most pressing challenges. We are honored to be part of this extraordinary adventure.”

About Kubik

Ethiopian-based Kubik is a circular economy startup upcycling plastic waste to produce low carbon affordable housing for the African continent.  They have developed their unique system of interlocking building materials made 100% from recycled plastic waste, no cement, no concrete or other conventional construction materials are being used. Kubik’s products can be made into schools, clinics, affordable housing units, storage, and warehouse units, public toilet facilities, paving blocks, fencing structures, and more.