The Brief | May 14, 2019

Business-model disruption in emerging markets, safer boda bodas in Uganda, recruiting talent in Germany, workforce housing in DC

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact!

Impact Voices: Pass the Mic

Disrupt business models to drive impact in emerging markets. Entrepreneurs are uprooting long-held approaches and assumptions to deliver critical services that enable economic growth and resilience in emerging markets. The new ideas go well beyond breakthrough technology to change long-established rules across sectors and industries. Entrepreneurs are developing innovative business models to turn waste into value and unlock dormant productivity in novel ways. “Business model innovation, more than strictly inventive technology, may hold the key to building a company that delivers real value – and real impact – in emerging economies,” writes Finca Ventures’ Ami Dalal in a guest post on ImpactAlpha.

  • Waste to value. Kenya-based Sanivation is turning municipal sanitation from a cost center to a profit generator for emerging market municipalities by recognizing an energy application in fecal sludge.
  • Growing talent. In eastern Zambia, Good Nature Agro is demonstrating that superior training across its grower network can enable smallholder farmers to achieve the quality control and technical skill required to grow high-value legumes.
  • Capital structures. To support business model innovators, says Dalal, impact investors must disrupt their own investment models. Companies may need non-dilutive and equity capital at the same time. Project financing, trade finance and microfinance can catalyze business model innovation. “How relevant are industry assumptions about regulation, business economics and ways of operating? Which insights are universal? Which assumptions are unfounded?” Dalal writes. Disrupting investment models “will help to fundamentally reframe how, and to whom, capital is delivered and will potentially shape the future of social enterprise.”

Keep reading, “Disrupt business models to drive impact in emerging markets,” by Finca Ventures’ Ami Dalal on ImpactAlpha.

Sponsored Content: Palladium Group

Palladium Group: Navigating the last mile to inclusive and sustainable growth. The role of a catalyst: Facilitating the collaboration required to translate good intentions into the common good. Key to Peru’s progress from marginal producer to the world’s No. 2 producer of fine-flavor cacao were the stakeholders in the Peru Cacao Alliance. Palladium Group mobilized more than 30 public and private partners across local, regional and international markets. Catalysts provide “the connective tissue that brings these constituencies together around shared objectives and measurable outcomes,” writes Palladium’s Eduardo Tugendhat. “The catalyst can build trust, spark innovation, outline and implement a proof of concept, and then actively structure and raise funds to ensure the initiative takes root.”

Keep reading, “Navigating the last mile to inclusive and sustainable growth,” by Palladium’s Eduardo Tugendhat.

  • Don’t miss the Palladium Positive Impact Summit in New York, June 25. Register today and get 10% off with code IMPACTALPHA10.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Uganda’s SafeBoda raises Series B to improve motorcycle taxi safety. Road traffic accidents are responsible for 225,000 deaths in Africa each year, or more than 60 road fatalities each day. Kampala-based SafeBoda is trying to improve road safety among passengers and drivers of Uganda’s popular motorcycle taxis, or boda bodas. The company has developed a boda boda ride hailing app, and requires drivers on its platform to go through a safety training program that includes driver safety, first aid, bike maintenance and customer care. Drivers and passengers must wear helmets. SafeBoda secured Series B funding from Allianz X, a venture investing group within insurance giant Allianz, and Go-Ventures, the venture investing arm of Indonesian transport company, GO-JEK. Learn more.

Germany’s HeyJobs raises $12 million to recruit talent amid demographic shifts. Europe’s skilled workers are aging out of employment. More than 70% of companies in Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. are worried about being able to find skilled talent, according to PwC. Berlin-based HeyJobs’ recruitment platform has facilitated more than 25,000 job appointments since 2016. The company’s 500 clients include UPS, PayPal, and Vodafone and mass transit agencies and healthcare providers trying to fill numerous jobs at once. HeyJobs’ $12 million Series A round was backed by Notion Capital, Creathor Ventures, GFC and Heartcore Capital. Dive in.

Dealflow overflow.

  • Real estate firm JBG SMITH and Federal City Council reached a $78 million first close for the Washington Housing Initiative Impact Pool to build and preserve up to 3,000 workforce housing units in the D.C. area.
  • Community entrepreneurship organization NetWork Kansas and the Kansas Health Foundation launched a $1 million matching loan fund for companies and organizations serving the state’s underserved rural and urban populations.
  • Mexican startup Xilinat makes a low-calorie sweetener from corn waste in a country where 15% of the population has diabetes. It won $350,000 at the fifth annual Venture de Chivas Regal social impact competition.
  • Mumbai-based Happy Loans raised $20 million in equity and debt to improve micro-business owners’ access to affordable finance.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Northern Illinois University is hiring a director for its Center for Entrepreneurship & Social Impact… Global Reporting Initiative launches a global search for new members for its five decision-making and advisory bodies… Flourish Ventures, funded by Pam and Pierre Omidyar, seeks a senior investment analyst in Washington DC.

May 14, 2019.