Beats | July 6, 2016

#Shifts July: New Theses, Markets and Signals Guiding Impact Investors

The team at


Welcome to #Shifts, ImpactAlpha’s monthly roundup of the ideas and trends driving impact investing. In this first edition of the series: investors are looking for startups outside of Silicon Valley, companies creating tech jobs in Africa are attracting capital, and civic tech is an emerging market. #Shifts happen.

THESES: Provocative investment propositions

World positive companies. Obvious Venture closed a $123,456,789 fund to invest in “world positive” businesses. (more)

Black- and Latino-run startups. 500 Startups announced a new $25 million microfund that will invest in over 200 black- and Latino-run tech startups. (more)

Early-stage social enterprises. DRK Foundation is raising a $65 million fund to support 100 early-stage social enterprises tackling healthcare, education, poverty and other challenges. (more)

Startups outside of Silicon Valley. Steve Case’s VC firm Revolution announced the raise of a half-billion dollar growth fund to invest outside of Silicon Valley. (more)

Emerging market fund managers. Capria launched a $100 million impact fund, the Capria Emerging Managers Fund, to invest in other debt and equity funds that aim to accelerate social enterprises in Africa, Latin America and Asia beyond the seed stage. (more)

MARKETS: Attractive sectors

Africa tech jobs. Andela, a start-up that trains Africa’s engineers for tech jobs, closed a $24 million Series B round that included the first lead investment from The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. (more)

LATAM supply chains. Uncommon Cacao, a venture that focuses on building a sustainable supply-chain for high quality chocolate originating from Central America, closed a $1.6 million Series A round led by Pi Investments and Acumen, while converting a $200,000 loan from the Eleos Foundation into equity. (more)

U.S. health. Solera Health, which has built a preventative healthcare marketplace for 86 million U.S. adults, closed the second part of a $7 million Series A round with investments from BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, Sandbox Industries and SJF Ventures. (more)

Africa solar. PEG, a Ghana-based solar pay-as-you-go company, raised the second part of $7.6 million Series A round that included a $2 million investment from Paris-based Energy Access Ventures. (more)

South Asia agriculture. Indonesian-based PT Vasham Kosa Sejahtera, which provides Indonesian smallholder farmers with the financing, expertise, and income security, raised a $2.5 million Series A round including a second investment from Mercy Corps’ Social Venture Fund and one from Unitus Impact Fund. (more)

SIGNALS: Emerging trends and ideas

Market framing. GoodCompany Ventures released a market framing report mapping global challenges in agriculture and water to actionable opportunities for entrepreneurs. (more)

Blended finance. Convergence released a blended finance case study on the Sarona Frontier Markets Fund, a fund that grew to $150 million with help from a $15 million first-loss layer provided by the Canadian government and a credit guarantee provided by OPIC. (more)

Civic tech. The Omidyar Network and Purpose released a report on civic tech and social movements that identified an emerging sector that raised $500 million in venture capital in 2015, a 119% increase in two years. (more)

Global water. Sonen Capital released a primer on water investments that explores the challenges facing global water supplies that are creating four investable sectors: technology, utilities/infrastructure, industrial and commodities. (more)

MENA health. Middle East and North Africa (MENA) government spending on healthcare is set to grow from $96 billion in 2013 to $141 billion by 2020, creating opportunities for healthcare startup innovation and growth. A GE-Wamda study on MENA’s startup ecosystem found that Egypt and the UAE have the most health startup activity, mHealth (mobile health) and cHealth (connected health) solutions are the most prevalent innovations coming from startups and that 48 percent of startups in the study had the potential to serve people around the world. (more)

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Photo by Geran de KlerkGävle.

#Shifts happen. More from our series.