Aspect Ventures raises $181 million for second fund

Melinda Gates and Cisco Systems are investors in the new fund, which is backing women- and minority run businesses but doesn’t call itself an impact investor. Founders Theresia Gouw and Jennifer Fonstad, who launched the firm in 2014, are trying to fight the underrepresentation of women, minorities and other groups in businesses and boardrooms by

CDFIs create $15 million disaster recovery fund

Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Mercy Loan Fund and NeighborWorks Capital have partnered to create a “rapid recovery” loan fund to restore affordable housing and community facilities in areas hit by Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey as well as the recent California fires. Loans of up to $1 million, which can be approved and disbursed in

Partech Ventures launches fund for African tech

The investment firm has raised €57 million ($70 million) toward a €100 million fund to back growth-stage African fintech companies. The fund, called Partech Africa, will invest €500,000 to €5 million in ventures focused on financial inclusion, online and mobile consumer services, supply chain management and “digitization of the informal economy.” Cyril Collon, general partner

AgDevCo invests in Tanzanian hydro project

No, the project doesn’t represent a shift for the agriculture-focused impact investor. The 1.5-megawatt Suma Hydro project in southwest Tanzania will power a local tea factory and bring electricity to 700 nearby households and businesses. AgDevCo, a UK-based social impact agribusiness investor, is committing $2.5 million to the power plant, which is already under construction.

Some bankers’ pay is more equal than others

Early last year, Arjuna Capital filed a shareholder proposal requesting the release of pay data from Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, American Express and MasterCard. The resolution sent to Citi cited a 10% pay gap between men and women, and a 14.8% pay gap in the top earning bracket. Citi says the

Putting artificial intelligence to work for the earth

The singularity may be sustainable after all. A report released at the Davos meeting of the World Economic Forum outlines ways to make AI not only human-friendly, but “earth-friendly.” This could be important, what with Google CEO Sundar Pichai saying at Davos, “AI is probably the most important thing humanity has ever worked on. I think

Finding the right blend to finance the global goals

Public officials and development bankers need to stop treating private investment as one-size-fits-all. If they want to effectively use limited public monies to crowd in private capital from banks, insurance companies, pension funds and private equity firms to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, they’ll need to understand the differences between private investors. A working paper