Oxfam’s proposal to put impact investing’s focus back on impact

Investors targeting market-rate returns through impact investments risk overlooking the needs of the enterprises attempting to solve global poverty. Such “have your cake and eat it too” expectations can “undermine the meaningful role [impact investing] can and should play in poverty reduction,” writes Oxfam’s Mara Bolis in an introduction in NextBillion to a new report from

Sand Hill Road VC discovers growth market for micro-loans with Tala

Shivani Siroya is expanding Tala’s smartphone-enabled micro-loans to South Asia and Latin America, backed by IVP, one of Silicon Valley’s oldest and biggest venture firms. IVP led Tala’s recent $30 million financing round, citing the global proliferation of cheap smartphones and the $2.1 trillion unmet need for credit. Tala tracks 10,000 data points, including financial transactions and

New wave of African startups at U.S. accelerators

Women Rising The PeaceTech Accelerator based at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington D.C. has selected NicheStream, a Cape Town, South Africa music-streaming service that recently launched a dedicated channel for Afrikaans music. “We believe that music, the communities it fosters and the divides that it can bridge can help to bring about

Follow the people: UBS staffs up to boost SDG investing

The big Swiss bank has committed to steer $5 billion of investor money toward the 2030 global goals. The latest in a slew of personnel announcements has Stephen Freedman moving to UBS Wealth Management Americas to expand UBS’ sustainable investing products and educate financial advisors [paywall]. In January, UBS brought on James Gifford, founding executive director

Fact-check tech is a thing, as startups tap the value of accurate information

From viral email and fake news to government propaganda, online media has a credibility problem. Which means fact-check tech is taking its place alongside civictech and govtech as an increasingly investable market. LazyTruth, for example, checks chain emails for inaccuracies. Founder Matt Stempeck, who is director of civic technology for Microsoft, says there are opportunities

New MOOCs teach the language of social finance

Social finance classes are not just for MBA students anymore. At Wharton, Berkeley, Columbia, Duke and other business schools, impact investing and social finance classes are packed. Now, the Social Finance Academy, a project of the German consulting firm Roots of Impact, promises to guide “social entrepreneurs through the entire journey of attracting impact investment” — online and

Tallying the 2030 costs — in dollars and lives — of Trump’s retreat from clean power

2030 The president’s executive order last week directing the reversal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, may well cost the U.S. more clean-energy employment than any coal-mining jobs it restores. But even more worrisome may be the lives lost from the continued burning of coal. The Clean Power Plan, a set of rules that would