What do you get when you cross Bitcoin and MPesa?

Kenya’s BitPesa raised $2.5 million in financing from Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper’s Draper VC, Greycroft Partners, and numerous existing investors. MPesa, of course, is Kenya’s wildly successful mobile money service. BitPesa can make financial transactions, particularly international remittances, cheaper and more accessible by using bitcoins, which the service then exchanges into local currencies for deposit

Aqua-Spark investors Love the Wild seafood meal kits

The Dutch sustainable aquaculture fund Aqua-Spark invested $2.5 million in LoveTheWild, a Boulder, Colo., startup that sells six (mostly) sustainably-farmed fish and sauce combinations in cook-at-home kits. LovetheWild plans to grow its distribution to 6000 stores (up from 600 now) and move to sourcing 100 percent of its farmed fish sustainably. It’s the first consumer

Agtech deals were up but total funding fell in 2016

Farms are being “teched up” to make feeding the world (9.7 billion people by 2050!) more sustainable and profitable. The number of venture investments in agriculture technology, or agtech, was up 10 percent last year versus a 24 percent drop in global VC deal activity, according to AgFunder’s 2016 report. Total agtech funding, however, fell

HCAP exits Vertical Management Systems

California private equity firm HCAP Partners, an advocate for employee development and financial security, sold its stake in the technology innovation company to NewSpring Holdings. HCAP took a stake in VMS in 2011 to develop its Retirement Revolution platform, which simplies 401(k)s, cuts transactions costs for retirees, and helps small businesses. Last week HCAP announced

STUDY: A million refugees in Germany haven’t displaced German workers

The first study of the impact of over one million refugees who arrived in Germany between 2014 and 2015 found “overall unemployment has not been much affected by refugee inflows.” The evaluation from Germany’s IZA Institute of Labor Economics found there were small increases in petty crime like fare-dodging. The refugee surge neither increased nor

Companies that design for Africa have a headstart on the future

The Brookings Institution’s Foresight Africa 2017 could be a blueprint for global growth and inclusive prosperity: access to financing, job creation and skill development, tech innovation and democratization, smart urbanization, climate action and good governance. Africa is leading the way with mobile and energy technologies that are leapfrogging traditional grids and broad access to financial

Don’t mention climate. For Midwest farmers, it’s the economy, stupid

Save the climate change talk for the politicians. U.S. farmers already dealing with erosion and shrinking aquifers are embracing farming techniques that fight soil erosion and conserve water. No-till farming is nothing new; it can reduce the nearly two billion tons of annual topsoil runoff that causes billions of dollars in losses. Instead of carbon emissions,