The Brief | June 11, 2019

Smart subsidy for mini-grids, converting India’s air pollution, transitioning to renewables, gender investing at Soros Economic Development Fund

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Greetings, Agents of Impact! 

Dealflow: Follow the Money

Chakr Innovation raises $2.7 million to cut India’s air pollution. Indian cities are notorious for their high levels of air pollution, with Delhi ranking the worst of any capital city in the world. A Delhi-based startup, Chakr Innovation, is trying to change that by capturing emissions from diesel generators and converting the carbon into usable products, like pigments for paint and ink. The company’s product, Chakr Shield, is being used at 70 sites in Delhi, Pune and Bangalore, by Indian Oil Corp., Hindustan Petroleum, and other companies. Chakr raised 190 million rupees ($2.7 million) to help expand its reach to an additional nine cities in the next 18 months. Indian Angel Network Fund led the round with participation from prior investor IDFC-Parampara FundCheck it out.

LevelTen closes $20.5 million to enable companies to switch to renewable power. Power purchasing agreements are key to expanding renewable energy. They ensure developers have long-term buyers for the energy they produce. Seattle-based LevelTen Energy aims to widen the market for renewable power with a marketplace that connects producers to corporate customers. LevelTen partners with developers, aggregates buyers for their solar and wind projects, and handles all of the sales and administrative work. For companies, LevelTen identifies sources that meet their energy needs and handles contract negotiation. The company says it has handled more than $1 billion in renewable energy contracts from the more than 1,000 solar and wind projects in its marketplace, including a 146-megawatt deal for Starbucks to power 3,000 of its retail stores. LevelTen raised $20.5 million in Series B funding led by Prelude Ventures with backing from three corporate venture funds: Exelon’s Constellation Technology Ventures, Equinor Energy Ventures and Total VenturesMore.

Dealflow overflow.

  • Chilean vegan foodtech venture NotCo launches in Argentina, following an earlier $30 million investment from London’s The Craftory and Jeff Bezos’venture fund.
  • Software company Swiftly secures $10 million, joining a growing group of startups working with city government to improve transit services.
  • Colombia-based Platzi raises $6 million to expand its tech training school to Brazil and Spain.
  • Hyderabad-based Recykal secures $2 million for its platform that improves waste recycling by connecting businesses and consumers to waste management and recycling facilities.

Signals: Ahead of the Curve

Investors call for smart subsidies to scale mini-grids. Rural electricity has often required subsidy. The self-sufficient electricity grids known as mini-grids are no different, say a dozen impact investors with $2 billion under management. Investors including Acumen, Blue Haven Initiative, and Ceniarth, as well as Engie Powercorner, Responsability and KawiSafi Ventures are calling on donors and governments to provide results-based financing to subsidize rural connections that could provide access to 450 million people, mostly in Africa, by 2030. “We are ready to be the private capital needed to invest alongside those subsidies,” wrote the group in a public position paper. “And we believe those subsidies will decline over time as the business model and technology continues to improve with scale, just as they did for wind and solar.” Share this post.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Soros Economic Development Fund is hiring an investment principal to lead its gender lens portfolio… New Forests seeks an associate director of investments in Sydney and an associate director of investor relations in San Francisco… Businesses located in Opportunity Zones are encouraged to apply to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, which recognizes innovative accelerators, including incubators, co-working startup communities and other similar models.

June 11, 2019.