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Overheard at the Near Future Summit

ImpactAlpha’s Zuleyma Bebell joined Kimbal Musk, comedian/activist Fran Drescher and the folks from Obvious Ventures this week at the Near Future Summit, the invite-only bash in La Jolla, Calif., hosted by Zem Joaquin, founder of Ecofabulous.com. Bebell sipped decades-old-tea with a tea master, ate algae-based shrimp and dined on sustainable seafood, all the while keeping

Motif offers refunds if its impact robo-advisors underperform

Motif Investing’s “impact portfolios” use automated algorithms to help retail investors align their stock market picks and their values. The three portfolios include companies leading on environmental sustainability, fair labor practices and good corporate behavior, based on ESG (environment, social, governance) data from MSCI. Motif’s research showed values matter to eight in 10 Americans making investment decisions.

Malaysia shares savings with backers of investments that benefit marginalized communities

Malaysia will share savings with backers of investments that benefit marginalized communities. The government’s RM3 million ($675,000) Social Outcomes Fund is intended to catalyze impact investing in Malaysia by reimbursing investors whose investments measurably help marginalized communities. To be eligible for payouts, impact investments from philanthropic and commercial investors must generate savings for the government

Canada invests in fuel cells and biofuels to commercialize Canadian cleantech

Climate Finance Sustainable Development Technology Canada is investing US$7.5 million in Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, a joint venture between Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company to reduce the cost of fuel cells. The foundation is also making a US$9.8 million contribution to Canfor Pulp Products to demonstrate low cost biofuels. The funds come from a US$32

Karnataka launches “proof of concept” fund for women entrepreneurs

Karnataka has launched a “proof of concept” fund for women entrepreneurs. The state in southwestern India, home to tech hub Bangalore, created Idea2POC — for proof of concept — to help female innovators prove out their concepts, get certified and pilot their manufacturing processes. The Rs 10 crore ($1.5 million) fund is part of the state’s $333 million initiative

Leapfrog’s portfolio reached 91 million people and grew revenues and profits in 2016

Andrew Kuper, CEO of Leapfrog Investments, has taken impact investors to task for not being ambitious enough about transformative social impact for hundreds of millions or billions of people (his talk at last month’s Economist conference is worth a look). Now, Leapfrog has reported its 2016 performance. The firm says its portfolio companies provide financial tools

Four scenarios for feeding (or not) 8.5 billion people in 2030

There’s nothing inevitable about how we’re going to feed the world as population grows. A World Economic Forum report plotted our possible food futures along two axes: resource-efficient vs. resource-intensive food production and interconnected global markets vs. fragmentation. For investors and businesses, each scenario presents risks and opportunities. “A new era of business could…contribute to