The Brief | December 11, 2018

Crowdsourced solar in Myanmar, an app for rental housing, private capital for climate action, virtual fireside chat

The team at


Dealflow: Follow the Money

SolarHome crowdsources $10 million in debt. The Myanmar-based distributor of pay-as-you-go home solar systems has raised a new round of debt funding, backed by crowdfunding platforms Crowdcredit in Japan and Trine in Sweden. SolarHome, which has sold 28,000 systems in Myanmar, aims to expand to 100,000 households. Other solar ventures, including BBOXX, have tapped crowdfunding for growth capital. Read on.

Angel investors back housing startup OneApp. Portland, Ore.-based housing startup OneApp was launched by Tyrone Poole after a stint of homelessness during which he experienced a difficult and costly search for housing. The startup aims to make it easier for people to find rental housing without costly fees—up to $75 per property. OneApp runs applicants’ credit and background checks for free, and provides them with a list of eligible rentals. More than 5,000 families have used the site in the Portland area. Angel investors committed $2.5 million to help OneApp expand to new markets. Here’s more.

Two commitments signal BlueOrchard’s SDG commitment. The Zurich-based impact investor has launched a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) bond fund for European investors, and it has taken a stake in SustainCERT, a social enterprise that helps corporations and investors certify their sustainability initiatives. The fund launch and the firm’s investment in SustainCERT will “channel more funding towards the climate targets and the SDGs.” Learn more.

Signal: Ahead of the Curve

As governments wobble, private sector takes the lead on climate action. Journalist Lou del Bello is in Katowice, Poland at COP 24, the global climate talks aimed at implementing the Paris climate accord. She took up ImpactAlpha’s challenge to find reasons for optimism. Her nominee: private capital. “While pessimism still dominates the political conversation, businesses present at the climate talks are asserting themselves as much needed, optimistic voices of reason,” del Bello writes. As evidence, she cites the $200 billion for climate action committed by the World Bank for 2021-2025, double its current commitment, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s €250 million investment framework for Green and Sustainability Bonds. “Big funders who want to scale up decarbonisation are increasingly betting on businesses,” del Bello says.

Investment COP,” a partnership of the UNDP, the World Bank and the consultancy World Climate is offering delegates in Poland a glimpse of investment opportunities to accelerate electric mobility and decarbonize major infrastructure. The goal is to create synergies for businesses to confidently invest in clean technologies, even in countries traditionally considered risky for investors. World Climate’s Jens Nielsen says at least 80% of climate finance has to come from the private sector. The UNDP’s Jan Kellett said what’s needed are not grants, cut low-interest loans “to take the first risk of costly investments, and in general to pay for investments that countries at this point cannot make themselves.”

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Paula Goldman, previously of Omidyar Network, is the new “Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer” at Salesforce… Humanity United is looking for a manager of strategy, learning and impact…RBC Global Asset Management promotes Ron Homer to chief strategist for impact investing and Catherine Banat to director of responsible investing, both for the U.S…Impact Entrepreneur Center’s Laurie Lane-Zucker is convening a virtual fireside chat Jan. 3 to talk “The Year in Impact” with journalists Anne Field and Devin Thorpe (Forbes), Scott Anderson (NextBillion) and ImpactAlpha’s David Bank. There’s a small fee. Register here.

December 11, 2018.