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ADAP Fund 2 - Zafree Papers - March 10th 2021

ADAP Capital LLC is delighted to announce its investment in Zafree Papers (Zafree). This is ADAP Fund 2’s 10th portfolio investment (21st for ADAP to date).

Based in Ethiopia, Zafree manufactures a 100% tree-free paper pulp using agrowaste. Passionate about protecting the world from deforestation and its devasting direct and indirect impact on extreme poverty, Zafree is changing the paper industry in Africa by reducing the 4 Billion trees that are currently killed annual for paper production. Their goal for 2023 is to save over 2 million trees from being cut by producing quality tree free recyclable paper across Africa, using agriculture waste that is typically burnt on site by small-holders following traditional farming methods. Zafree plans to create hundreds of new employment opportunities across the supply chain as well as directly increasing incomes for small holder farmers.

“We are really pleased to be closing on this first round of capital to invest in us from outside of the African continent and are excited about the ongoing partnership with ADAP Advisory as we look to lay more of the foundations for our pan-African growth model” said Bethelhem Dejene Founder & CEO “Global demand for paper continues to grow exponentially, and we want to use this financing to build out our own manufacturing facility here in Ethiopia before we take advantage of other opportunities across Africa.”

Over the last four years, Zafree have adjusted and refined their business model and are now partnered with all of the current paper factories in Ethiopia and have a signed supplier commitment with over 8000 small farmer suppliers. In addition to the positive environmental impact at the farms, Zafree’s closed-loop, eco-friendly process ensures there is zero waste during paper production. Both Bethelhem Dejene (CEO) and Betelhem Fikre (COO) (“the Bettys”) have received various awards and prizes acknowledging their roles as emerging female African business leaders.

“Zafree is another ADAP investment where because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions we have not yet met the entrepreneur face-to-face and have relied on our mutually beneficial virtual due diligence model to establish a partnership” said Andy Lower, ADAP Founder “Zafree is at the right stage for ADAP where we have shown that we can add the most value to support entrepreneurs like ‘the Bettys’ to hit some big milestones as they continue to lay the foundations for their innovative business model and structure. ”

ADAP Capital has a diverse portfolio of pioneering social entrepreneurs who have innovative models that are eradicating extreme poverty in emerging markets. By investing early and then partnering with the entrepreneurs as they work through the pioneer gap, ADAP creates and captures untapped value. ADAP is committed to an inclusive investment approach as shown by 73% of the current Fund 2 portfolio being female founders and 91% of the business having founders of colour.

For more information please email


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