SoftBank joins Alibaba to back One97’s digital payments platform in India

Japanese telecom company SoftBank is teeing up a $1.9 billion investment in Indian mobile services firm One97 Communications. The expansion of One97’s Paytm digital payments platform is part of the extension of financial services to India’s growing middle class. The cash deal would give SoftBank a 20 percent stake in the firm. China’s Alibaba owns a

Change Catalyst launches accelerator to support minority tech entrepreneurs

Change Catalyst will support minority and women entrepreneurs with a new Startup Fellows Program. The Bay Area organization will go on the road this summer to Seattle, New York and Atlanta to recruit tech entrepreneurs in education, finance, health, social issues, as well as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The top three ventures in each city will

Bond market in community development, Acumen’s off-grid solutions, blockchain for remittances

#Featured: ImpactAlpha Original A private bond market emerges for low-income community development. If you need an example of how catalytic public and private impact capital can open private capital markets for low-income communities, consider the scene at The Reinvestment Fund in Philadelphia as bids came in last week for the organization’s $50 million in S&P-rated

Chan/Zuckerberg and Gates Foundation team up for “personalized learning”

The biggest question in the red-hot edtech market (see this week’s EverFi and MarcoPolo raises) is whether tech advances will shrink or widen educational inequality (see, “Silicon Valley aims to democratize individualized education”). Now comes Chan/Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gates Foundation, which are committing $12 million over four years to New Profit, a Boston venture

The Intermountain West gets a debt fund to finance non-profits

Half of U.S. economic output is concentrated in urban areas, but half isn’t. Intermountain Impact Investments, a Washington-based nonprofit fund manager, was founded by two self-described “middle aged guys” who’ve spent their careers running and funding nonprofits. Its new $2.5 million fund targets cities with populations under 50,000 in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

California Wellness Foundation moves ahead on $50 million impact investment plan

The growing number of foundations committing to mission-related investments from their philanthropic endowments has set off something of a land rush among investment advisors eager for their business (see, “Ford Foundation to tap endowment”). The latest scrum is being conducted by the California Wellness Foundation, which quietly announced this month it was committing $50 million

Bringing microfinance back

Microfinance never went away — it just went mainstream. The sector still commands the majority of impact investing assets (and most exits in 2016). Microloans and other financial services targeting the poor now have “a central role in national financial systems all over the world, with hundreds of millions of clients, affected household members likely approaching one