RENEW Strategies

A Look Back at Our Portfolio Accomplishments in 2019

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Erin O'Connor
| January 8, 2020

Last year was a big year for RENEW’s portfolio of twelve companies[1]. Our entrepreneurs took leaps and bounds with their companies, and we’re proud of all the work they accomplished this past year. Financially speaking, we exited two investments this year! RENEW and the IAN previously provided two rounds of angel financing to support the launch of an Ethiopian production company that exports to international markets. Following a buyout of our positions in this company, these investments realized gross internal rates of return (IRR) of 26.70% and 17.58%,* respectively. As we embark on 2020, we'd like to take a few minutes to acknowledge some other big wins for some of our portfolio companies over the past year.

Starting outside of Addis, on a coffee farm in Hambela, our coffee company, METAD, accomplished so much this past year. By continuing to support 6,500 out-growers with harvest training and out-grower purchasing and local schools, METAD has supported, and continues to support, its local community and the families within it.

Travelling back into the city, you might have noticed more Tebita Ambulances on the road this year. In 2019, the company imported five new ambulances, taking its total feet to 15. With its increased fleet, East Africa Emergency Services, through Tebita Ambulance, continues to expand its reach beyond Addis Ababa. Tebita was even featured in a program on Kana TV, one of Ethiopia’s privately-owned TV stations, in which company representatives discussed first aid and other emergency response steps one should take to help victims of car accidents. This episode was filmed as part of the TV station's initiative, entitled #Hiwote (translation:Life), to educate the public on safety issues.

Within Addis Ababa, other portfolio companies also increased their visibility to the general public in other ways. If you were travelling around the city this year, you may have noticed Deliver Addis zooming around the city on their motorbikes. With over 50 restaurants now available for ordering on their website, Deliver Addis has become a go-to for a lot of people at meal times. This past year, the company has upgraded its dispatch system by automating the process to include an intelligent queue that allows them to handle more deliveries during peak times.

Within the city, Desta Garment, our textile company, was featured in a video produced by the Government of Ethiopia, Going Big in Ethiopia. The video includes scenes from inside Desta Garment’s production facility and an interview with the CEO, Eyob Bekele. Desta also expanded to Butajira, a town outside Addis, with the opening of a much larger production facility, increasing the company’s ability to compete with textile companies globally. Desta was also the main feature in our Fourth Annual Impact Report/a>. If you missed it, make sure to take a read for an insider’s look at this company.

Our last stop within Addis is our juice manufacturing company, Sadura. In the spring of 2019, the company received its final authorizations to begin selling in Ethiopia. Since then, the company has been producing mango juice made, in part, from locally sourced mangos and sugar and selling in regions throughout Ethiopia. You can now find the Company’s juice in kiosks and supermarkets in numerous cities in Ethiopia and even in vending machines at Addis’ Bole International Airport.

Internationally, some of our companies made a splash this year as well. In Uganda, Kijani Baby, our cloth diaper company, continued to expand! The team now includes eight full-time tailors and two sales staff. They continued to sell their products in Europe and also internationally through their Etsy store.

In the U.S., METAD’s coffee was part of a limited release coffee produced by Trader Joe’s! Such a big milestone for the company. It sold out pretty fast, but you can still find their coffee at: Intelligentsia/a>, Blue Bottle, Peet’s, Terarosa, Doutor, Coffee Collective, Royal and Belco.

Also in the U.S., Mama Fresh and the Teff Chef, the U.S. trade company associated with Mama Fresh, branched out this past year. They began distributing coffee, honey and spices to markets in D.C., Texas and Minneapolis. You can now enjoy a little taste of Ethiopia at home in the U.S.

At the beginning of the year, our tahini company, KROTAJ PLC (also known as The Ethiopian Sesame Co.), held a formal launch party to celebrate the start of operations at its factory in Addis Ababa. They’ve been producing tahini for 10 months now and are working with E.T. Fresh, our Dubai-based trading company, to ship tahini to Dubai. Next time you are in the city, be on the look out for this high quality tahini!

We can all be proud that as of June 30, 2019, through the investments made by RENEW and the Impact Angel Network, we have created 1,479 jobs and helped sustain an additional 2,193; we have also supported 1,792 jobs through our training to companies in The Exec’s Program, for a total of 5,464 jobs created or sustained through our work in Ethiopia.

We’re proud of all the hard work that went into 2019 and can’t wait to see what these companies accomplish in 2020!

And in case you missed it, make sure to watch our Portfolio Highlights video (RENEW's Impact Angel Network Portfolio Highlights 2019) which includes interviews with a number of our entrepreneurs and the companies mentioned above!

RENEW's Portfolio Video

To find out more about RENEW or the IAN, contact us at, follow us on Twitter @RENEWLLC or find us on Instagram @impactangelnetwork. Be sure to check out our upcoming events, including our upcoming Econ-Tourism Trip.

Legal Disclaimer
*We maintain documents in our files supporting the IRRs stated above. The IRRs were realized for two investments and do not represent results achieved by other IAN portfolio companies or the portfolio as a whole. There is no guarantee that such results will be achieved by other IAN investments or those of other investments managed by RENEW.

[1] The twelve companies mentioned in this post include both companies that are currently in the RENEW and IAN portfolio and those that we exited during 2019.