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#Featured: ImpactAlpha Original
Delivering dignified sanitation through technology and finance. India is starting to catch up to Rajeev Kher. Kher set out in 1999 to tackle one of present day India’s biggest challenges — sanitation. Now, the country is racing to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s deadline for ending open defecation in India by Oct. 2, 2019, Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday. A half-billion Indians still defecate in the open. The Modi government, along with state governments and the private sector, is pursuing a $20 billion plan to finance the installation of 111 million toilets.
Kher’s company, 3S India, is doing its share to meet the goal. The company provides 5,000 toilets to 10 million people, and collects and disposes of 155 million liters of liquid waste each year. The company’s technology helps users locate the nearest toilet and technicians to monitor the units and service them promptly. Kher and 3S were honored as Entrepreneur of the Year at the GSG Impact Summit in Chicago last week. The company aims to triple the number of people it reaches, to 33 million, and expand from 6 to 15 cities by 2020.
Read, “Delivering dignified sanitation through technology and finance” by Dennis Price on ImpactAlpha:
#Sponsored: Content from Tideline
‘Impact classes’ help align investors around the impact they seek. A year ago, Tideline, together with Cathy Clark at Duke University, introduced the concept of ‘impact classes.’ The approach offers a quick way to align investors, and their service providers, around the impact they seek, and the level of evidence they require to demonstrate performance. Tremendous efficiency and other benefits can be realized, Tideline argues, if every impact investor understands what it means to seek “aligned”, “thematic”, or “targeted” impact. A simple shortcut to complement more nuanced impact management, impact classes can make it easier to find relevant investments, standardize reporting and organize research. Read Tideline’s seminal report, “Navigating Impact Investing”:
#Dealflow: Follow the Money
Brazil fintech startup Avante raises $12 million from Gentera and Vox Capital. Since 2012, Avante has lent more than $31 million to 30,000 clients, half of them previously unbanked. The Brazilian digital lender and financial services provider to micro-entrepreneurs says it will use the new funding to expand from 125 to 2,000 credits agents by 2021 and reach one million microenterprises, which number between 25 to 45 million nationwide. Fiinlab, the innovation lab of Mexican holding company Gentera, formerly Compartamos, led the new investment; Brazilian impact fund Vox Capital, Avante’s first investor back in 2014, also participated, as did other previous investors including Polish-Brazilian business magnate Raphael Klein, one of Brazil’s wealthiest businessman. “Our thesis on investments in financial services is oriented to the development of new products and distribution channels appropriate to the reality of low-income people in Brazil,” said Gilberto Ribeiro, a partner at Vox Capital. With the new investment round, Avante is said to be worth more than $82 million. In April, Vox Capital backed education startup Aondê.
Stellapps raises financing for dairy supply chain transparency in India. Between cow and buffalo products, India is the world’s largest milk producer. Most of the supply comes from small-scale farmers, but the dairy supply chain lacks transparency. Bangalore-based Stellapps deploys sensors — to track milk quality or refrigeration temperatures, for instance — and uses a cloud-based system for logging data. “We figured focusing on the whole supply chain would make the data more valuable,” CEO Ranjith Mukundan says. The company has closed an undisclosed Series A round, backed by Blume Ventures, Venture Highway, and one of the co-founders of Indian e-commerce company Flipkart. Stellapps is moving on to a $12 to $14 million Series B round. Stellapps subscriptions for farmers and distributors are less than $10 per month, making the service affordable to farmers with as few as two or three animals.
Accelerated dealflow from Unreasonable, Red Bull and The Nature Conservancy. Building entrepreneurs’ capacity to solve community and global problems is hot. Three accelerators announced winners of their respective competitions.
- Unreasonable Group committed to its two-week bootcamp through 2030, and will choose future cohorts based on the U.N’s Sustainable Development Goals, which run through that year. This year’s winners include Uncommon Cacao, which is tackling SDG №8: Inclusive, economic growth by linking small cacao farmers to transparent, fair-pay markets (Listen to ImpactAlpha’s podcast with founder Emily Stone). EcoPost, is working towards SDG №11 (sustainable cities), by recycling plastic into building materials. See the full list of winners.
- Red Bull selected winners for its 10-day Amaphiko Academy. Many of the entrepreneurs are tackling local issues. Walker Marsh started The Flower Factory to grow sustainable flowers and herbs in a once-abandoned lot in Baltimore. Marisa Hamamato, who sees dance as a catalyst for inclusivity, launched Infinite Flow, a professional wheelchair ballroom dance company. Red Bull’s academy started in South Africa in 2015. The first U.S. program, in Baltimore, runs Aug. 11–20.
- The Nature Conservancy chose four U.S. projects for grants to spur investment in conservation. One of the projects is developing an “environmental impact bond” to protect coastal areas in Louisiana. Read about the other winners.
See all of ImpactAlpha’s recent #dealflow.
#Signals: Ahead of the Curve
The Nature Conservancy’s Mark Tercek: Don’t panic, do act on climate solutions. The risk in doom-and-gloom climate forecasts, like “The Uninhabitable Earth,” by David Wallace-Wells in New York magazine, is that they paralyze more than catalyze. Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, says the correct response is not panic, but action. In a guest post on ImpactAlpha, Tercek points to 80 practical strategies for stopping, and reversing, climate change described in Drawdown, the new book edited by Paul Hawken. With help from 200 climate experts, Hawken shows how “we can reverse climate change by scaling up technologies and practices that are fully mature today,” Tercek writes. Renewable energy is in the mix, but there are surprises: Educating girls (№6) and family planning (№7), if achieved at scale, would do more than any single strategy. Reduced food waste (№3) and plant rich diets (№4), in combination, could reduce emissions by more than 130 billion tons by 2050. “Drawdown encourages readers to find hope in a habitable future planet, while at the same time spurring action,” Tercek writes. Read, “Don’t panic, do act on climate solutions,” by Mark Tercek, on ImpactAlpha:
The 2030 price tag for universal health care. Last week, we showcased 11 ideas on how to achieve affordable universal healthcare. Now comes the Sustainable Development Goals Health Price Tag: $371 billion a year. The World Health Organization, in a study published today, estimates the costs to deliver 16 of the 2030 health targets in 67 emerging-market economies that together represent three-quarters of the world’s population. The price tag, an increase of $237 billion over current spending, could help prevent 97 million premature deaths between now and 2030, said the WHO. For about $58 per person per year, such care could also add up to 8.4 years of life expectancy in some countries.
Beyond basic medical supplies such as medicines, vaccines and syringes, the report identified health system investments, which account for 75% of costs. These include adding 23 million health workers, and building, operating and equipping 415,000 new hospitals, labs and clinics. National governments could meet 85% of that the SDG health price tag, says the report. The remainder must come from donors or the private sector.
“Universal health coverage is ultimately a political choice,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the new director-general of the WHO. “It is the responsibility of every country and national government to pursue it.”
Onward! Please send any news and comments to TheBrief@impactalpha.com.