Small is beautiful (but not enough). The crowdfunding platform Kiva teamed up with development agencies to back women micro-entrepreneurs; Access Power is seeking to identify early-stage African energy companies through a competition; and two more Indian startups get seed financing.
Kiva partnership introduces women-focused fund. A crowdfunding platform focusing on women entrepreneurs has been jointly launched by Kiva, the U.S. State Department and the Inter-American Development Bank. The fund aims to raise capital to support one million women-owned businesses in the Caribbean and Latin America over the next five years. It will leverage Kiva’s crowdfunding platform, which has 1.4 million individual contributors globally. It expects to extend loans of anywhere between $450 and $100,000.
Access Power ups energy equity investment competition. Access Power launched a unique $7 million renewable energy competition for African energy ventures. The “co-development” fund competition is an equity investing facility for early-stage energy projects, where Access Power invests in new projects proposed by the competition’s winners. “ACF 2016” is a follow-up to Access Power’s inaugural, $5 million 2015 competition, which awarded funding and technical support to two solar companies—Quaint Solar Energy in Nigeria and Flatbush Solar in Cameroon—in installing new projects.
Artha Capital funds recycling company Banyan. Indian recycling start-up Banyan Nation has raised $800,000 from Artha Capital with fundraising support from private equity giant KKR and Impact Investment Exchange (IIX). Banyan is one of many private and informal sector players who fill a public sector gap in plastics recycling in India. The company sorts collected plastic waste and chemically treats it to improve recyclability. It also reports to offer fair wages and bank accounts to employees. Banyan’s fundraising marked the third time KKR worked with IIX, though it has not itself invested in the deals.
DriveU gets backing from Unitus Seed Fund. An Uber alternative in India, DriveU, has raised funding to the tune of $1 million from Unitus Seed Fund. The Bangalore-based company’s service allows car owners to hire part-time drivers as needed, for a rate of 99 rupees per hour. The service has recruited 250 drives and provided over 15,000 trips to more than 6,000 customers—over 60 percent of whom are women. It aims to expand its driver base to 100,000 over the next couple years.
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