Usually domestic refuse in Kathmandu ends up on the city’s waste mountain. But Waste Concern, a Nepalese waste treatment plant, wants to change all that. To help this happen the company’s owner, Sulav Moktan, is being funded by Dutch investors, including Wouter Veer of “ifund”, an impact investment fund.
Wouter Veer (40) and Sulav Moktan first met last spring at the Rockstart Impact Demo Day in Amsterdam. “A quiet, trustworthy guy and an experienced entrepreneur who wants to make his own contribution to the development of Nepal” said Veer. “Sulav set up Waste Concern way back in 1993. His business model is as safe as houses. Our financial injection means he can streamline his sorting centre. He also wants to provide his customers with separate containers; one for wet waste and one for dry waste. He wants to encourage them to separate their waste at source and hopes to create added value from the waste he collects.”
“Investment in Waste Concern is impact investment at its best” maintained Veer. “We have set out specific aims to reduce the waste mountain in Kathmandu and to increase the number of households that separate their waste at source. We also want to stimulate the circular economy; the income from waste should increase.” Veer sees this as a durable project. “I’m not planning to back out within the next five years. If Sulav wants to buy back his shares at any given time that’s his right, of course, but in theory I’m in this for the long- term.”
Investment in Waste Concern fits into ifund’s portfolio, which focuses on such themes as energy, food, water and waste. “A few years ago, I became more and more concerned about the huge problems facing the world. When I took a step back from my own company – payroll and back office specialist, Pay for People - I decided to use my time and money to do something about them. That’s why I set up ifund in 2014.”
Waste Concern is ifund’s first overseas investment project. In the Netherlands, its investments include BlueCity101, the project that is turning Rotterdam’s former tropical swimming pool complex into a hotspot for circular businesses using each other’s waste streams as new raw materials.
“Actually, it’s quite a step for me to invest in Nepal. I would never have been able to do it without One to Watch. I don’t spend my time travelling the world looking for social enterprises. I wouldn’t have dared take the risk if it hadn’t have been for One to Watch. They know the country inside out and keep a close eye on “their” entrepreneurs. I have faith in their know-how and expertise and the fact that they also invest made it even easier for me to get onboard”.
Are you interested in investing in circulatory solutions in Nepal? Read more about the Nepal Circularity Fund!