The Brief | August 7, 2018

Community capital stacks, Calvert backs One Acre Fund, Shuttl buses in India, gender-lens microfinance in Pakistan

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Community capital stacks bring the right money to the table in new ‘opportunity zones.’ The rebuilding of America’s low-income neighborhoods is not that different from the rebuilding of Houston after Hurricane Harvey. After a disaster, vulnerable communities need first to rebuild roads, bridges and other infrastructure. They need financing for health centers, after-school care providers, and small-business assistance. And they need growth capital for business expansion and new projects. Similarly, rebuilding low-income neighborhoods requires multiple types of capital to create thriving communities for current residents and business owners.

Even before a provision of last year’s tax bill set off a frenzy around opportunity zones, local entrepreneurial ecosystem-builders around the country were assembling “community capital stacks” of debt, equity, grants and even municipal bonds. The launch of dozens of new opportunity funds to make investments in designated low-income census tracts makes it even more important to have the right kind of capital for successful enterprises, good jobs, affordable housing and vital services, along with real estate. Project 500’s Melissa Bradley is gearing up to address funding challenges facing founders of color in opportunity zones in 10 regions. Key to successful strategies, says Local Initiatives Support Corp.’s Maurice Jones: “the right capital to do the different jobs to really transform the community.”

Read, “Community capital stacks bring the right money to the table in new ‘opportunity zones’,” by Dennis Price, on ImpactAlpha.

The Call… Join LISC’s Maurice Jones, Beeck Center’s Lisa Green Hall, Economic Innovation Group’s Steve Glickman on ImpactAlpha’s Agents of Impact Call No. 3, this Thursday, August 9 at 1 pm ET / 10 am PT / 5 pm GMT. Our goal: identify opportunity zone strategies for success – and signs of danger. RSVP today.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Kashf Foundation secures $17 million for gender-lens microfinance in Pakistan. Kashf Foundation was an early microfinance mover in Pakistan, where less than 10% of the country’s nearly 200 million people have a formal bank account. Focusing on low-income women, Kashf has more than 350,000 active microfinance borrowers and has enrolled 1.3 million people for health insurance. The Overseas Private Investment Corp., MicroVest, and Germany’s Bank im Bistum Essen have committed $17 million to the foundation. Read on.

Amazon backs Shuttl’s mission to unsnarl India’s traffic jams. The city of Delhi is notorious for its smog and traffic-choked streets. Gurgaon-based Shuttl’s solution is a network of commuter shuttle busses. The company operates 150 routes with 800 buses in Delhi and Jaipur. Amazon’s $100 million Alexa Fund co-led Shuttl’s $11 million Series B round with Denstu Ventures. Here’s more.

One Acre Fund closes $5 million loan from Calvert Impact. The non-profit small-farmer financier has built a network of 600,000 borrowers in sub-Saharan Africa. A loan from Calvert Impact Capital will help One Acre purchase agricultural and energy products to sell on to farmers on credit. Dig in.

Hand Talk raises funding for Brazilian sign-language app. The Brazilian company launched in 2012 to help nearly 10 million hearing-impaired Brazilians communicate more easily through a text-to-sign app and website plug-in. São Paulo-based impact investment firm Kviv backed the company’s expansion plans. Read on.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Lisa Green Hall joined the board of directors of Washington, D.C.’s City First Bank… Dalberg’s impact investing advisory D. Capital is now Volta CapitalCoastal Enterprises is showcasing Maine’s rural food system entrepreneurs. Register for the Sept. 13-14 Maine Grain Tastemakers Tour.

— August 7, 2018.