Earth Finance: Nine Ideas to Bridge the Gap in Conservation Finance

By Santiago Cortes and Jérôme Tagger Consider this: The $400 billion in private capital that is needed annually for large-scale conservation, according to Credit Suisse and McKinsey & Co., is eight times even the more generous current estimates of total conservation financing. Conservation practitioners and investment experts gathered last month at the New York City office

Hong Kong health startup raises debt through IIX’s Impact Partners platform

Pacific Baby, which makes non-plastic baby feeding products, has closed the first debt deal on Impact Partner Platform, the matchmaking platform of IIX. Based in Singapore, the platform connects social enterprises with mission-driven investors. The Hong Kong startup raised the undisclosed amount to expand its distribution of bamboo- and steel-based products in 30 countries, including

NSF seeds Couragion to boost STEM career education

The National Science Foundation is seeking to increase the pipeline of science, technology, engineering and math talent with investments in edtech startups that make such careers accessible — and cool — to underserved kids. Couragion, a Denver, Colo.-based startup is building an application to make learning about STEM careers fun and accessible through videos, games, and self-reflection quizzes. The

First Circle raises $1.3 million for small business lending in the Philippines

Rather than traditional collateral, First Circle relies on basic data such as customer numbers and transactions to underwrite loans averaging $10,000. The startup has lent $5 million to date to small- and mid-sized businesses in the Philippines, a country with a population of nearly 100 million. Eyeing potential expansion into Indonesia or Thailand, Patrick Lynch, First

Aavishkaar’s Bharat Fund attracts $15.5 million from India’s Hero Enterprises

Hero, a leading industrial business group in India, is investing $15.5 million in Aavishkaar’s sixth fund as part of its foray into startup investing. “It is clear that for the entire country [of India] to develop, rural areas and underprivileged citizens must become part of the economic miracle, not through charity, but through real opportunities,”

Matt Damon’s Water.org secures $5 million for impact fund

Water.org’s WaterEquity subsidiary is raising its third impact fund to invest in microfinance institutions that lend to households for in-home toilets and water connections. That’s a $12 billion market globally, according to a Gates Foundation report. WaterEquity has secured $5 million in zero-interest debt from Bank of America for the planned $50 million WaterCredit Investment

Small farmers, big impact; measuring forest sustainability; IKEA goes social, Apple goes recycled

#Featured: Open Mic Small farmers are the future of global food security. Smallholder farmers have become the most important piece of the global agricultural system. Small farmers feed close to 80 percent of the total population in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and support the livelihoods of nearly 2 billion people worldwide. Now, larger buyers of agricultural