How privacy can keep up with the explosion of data

Smart cities of the 21st century are going to collect enormous amounts of information about their residents. Crossing city records like tax payments, property records and utility bills with data from traffic sensors, smart meters, surveillance cameras and other connected devices can improve services and inform policy. Our urban lives will be ever more tracked, quantified

Where community development finance goes

Community-development finance institutions (CDFI) convened last week at the Opportunity Finance Network Conference in the U.S capital. Ahead of the conference, the Urban Institute, a D.C. think tank, released findings from a comprehensive analysis of capital deployed by the industry. The institutions — lenders required to make at least 60 percent of their loans available to low- and

The next billion air conditioners could cool, or fry, the planet

Deadly heat waves are becoming more frequent and more severe, as we reported yesterday. The best way to protect against heat-related deaths is well known: more air conditioning. AC “can mean the difference between life and death,” says Michael Greenstone, director of the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute. The world is on track to

Agriculture Capital closes $548 million second permanent crops fund

Agriculture Capital has closed a $548 million second permanent crops fund. The farmland owner-operator will invest in farmland and processing facilities for permanent crops like blueberries and fruit trees. The fund, which had an initial target of $400 million, is notable for attracting public pension funds and other institutional investors, including some that participated in Agriculture Capital’s

Startup Oasis seeds six Indian startups

The Jaipur-based incubator is backing the ventures with 17 million rupees ($260,000) through its “Invent” program. Recipients are committed to developing technologies and services for India’s poor. They include: KBSS, a skills training services for nonprofit and government workers; Multibhashi, a language-learning app; and Carmel Organics, which supports small-scale farmers organically growing medicinal herbs and spices. The goal

Indigo raises $156 million for drought-resistant seeds

Boston-based Indigo, which taps plant microbiomes to improve crop resiliency and water efficiency, has developed cotton and wheat seeds for U.S. farmers facing increased water scarcity. Corn and soy products are in the pipeline. The new investment round will help support recently opened offices in Australia and Argentina and increases total fundraising to $300 million,

Sustainable cellphone maker Fairphone raises $7.7 million

The Dutch “responsible electronics” startup launched four years ago, selling a modular cellphone handset made with sustainably sourced minerals, and funded through crowdsourcing. The latest round is backed by Pymwymic Impact Investing Cooperative and DOEN Participaties, the investment arm of the Dutch DOEN Foundation. The funds will be used for material sourcing, production, distribution, recycling