Impact investment and philanthropy are no substitute for federal affordable-housing funds

Lack of affordable housing isn’t just a gripe among residents in hyper-expensive markets like San Francisco; it is a problem in every U.S. county, according to a report by the Urban Institute. A rise in private and philanthropic investment strategies targeting preservation and new construction of affordable housing is helping low and middle income families

Acumen aims to bridge the pioneer gap for off-grid energy startups

Acumen launched has launched its Pioneer Energy Investing Initiative with a $5 million grant from the IKEA Foundation. The initiative is seeking to catalyze private investment in off-grid energy by backing early-stage energy companies. “Ecosystem support” and technical assistance will help startups overcome the immaturity of the market and lack of access to resources. Acumen

Sepalika raises seed funds to promote healthy lifestyles in India

Mumbai-based health portal Sepalika has raised $750,000 in seed funding from Accel Partners. Sepalika launched last March as a source of online help for Indians suffering chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity and heart disease, as well as prescription drug abuse. Its focus is on helping people make lifestyle changes and healthy choices to curb

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