20 June, 2022 Member article

Mirova acquires SunFunder to accelerate emerging market clean energy and climate investment

20 June 2022 – ARE Member SunFunder has been acquired by Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers dedicated to impact investing. Financing the environmental and energy transition is a key objective for Mirova, and the acquisition marks an expansion of its investment platform in emerging markets.

Joining forces with Mirova comes 10 years after SunFunder was founded to offer financing solutions for the decentralised solar energy sector in Africa, in order to achieve direct impact at the intersection of climate change and inequality.

“We couldn’t imagine a better partner to join forces with than Mirova, a company with a mission and strong culture of impact that we share. We’ve heard a lot of talk about ESG investment, but there are very few companies like Mirova and SunFunder leading the pack with 100% truly sustainable investments. Together we become the leading clean energy and climate investor in emerging markets, through bold new investments with real impact.”

Audrey Desiderato and Ryan Levinson, Co-founders of SunFunder

The entire SunFunder team will be retained in order to keep expanding our high impact energy transition work and, together with Mirova, build a broader emerging markets platform dedicated to clean energy and climate investments.

Mirova has been a pioneer in impact investing in Europe through its investment strategies in energy transition infrastructure, private equity, social impact investing and listed equities, and is accelerating its commitments in emerging countries, where it is already present in natural capital.

“In order to thoroughly address the challenges that come with the fight against global warming and social inequalities, having a local presence in emerging countries is critical. We are delighted that SunFunder’s teams, with their proven experience and expertise, are joining us. Together, we will pursue our efforts to meet the needs of the real economy and increase the impact of our investments.”

Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova

Following the completion of the transaction, Mirova will own 100% of SunFunder, whose teams and expertise will strengthen its local investment and execution capabilities for its private assets strategies. Mirova is thus developing an emerging markets investment platform, in which the Singapore office created in 2021 will be integrated.

Mirova and SunFunder’s first objective is to launch a solar energy debt financing fund, with an investment capacity of $500m through about 70 projects spread over Africa, Asia and Latin America. The first closing could take place by the end of the year.

“This acquisition is an important step for our affiliate Mirova, which falls in with our 2024 strategic plan, and contributes to strengthening Natixis Investment Managers’ private and alternative asset offering. Our clients around the world looking for diversification and sustainable sources of return will now have easier access to impact investments in emerging markets.”

Tim Ryan, CEO of Natixis Investment Managers

SunFunder has an experienced and diverse team of 38 people of 16 different nationalities, 55% of whom are women and 45% of whom are African, mainly based in Nairobi, Paris and London. Having first started with a crowdfunding platform, over the last decade we launched a series of innovative blended finance investment vehicles and closed over $165m in investments across 58 companies deploying clean energy mainly in Africa and Asia, including off-grid solar home systems, mini-grids and commercial and industrial solar projects. SunFunder has helped improve access to solar energy for more than ten million people.

Mirova and its subsidiaries manage €27bn of assets as of March 31, 2022, including €2.2bn in energy transition infrastructure and €500m in natural capital.