The Brief | July 31, 2018

Summer listening, corporate energy venturing, Capria’s network effects

The team at


Greetings, ImpactAlpha readers!

Featured: Returns on Investment

Summer Listening: Binge on ImpactAlpha top five podcasts of 2018. We love all our podcast listeners, but we really love one who goes by Jdags on iTunes. “On a long drive home last night, I queued up Returns on Investment’s first podcast with Nancy Pfund and found the discussion pointed, engaging and informative,” Jdags wrote a couple months ago. “Ended up plowing through eight more episodes before returning home.”

Jdag’s sheer endurance makes us think more listeners might want to binge-listen to ImpactAlpha’s podcast series, now on its 65th episode. We suggest you start with five and go from there. So we’re counting down the top five Returns on Investment podcast titles in the first half of 2018. Bonus: here’s the interview with DBL Partners’ Nancy Pfund that kicked it all off back in 2015.

Discover and binge-listen to, “ImpactAlpha’s top five podcasts of 2018.” You can subscribe to ImpactAlpha’s Returns on Investment on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Dealflow: Follow the Money

ENGIE venture fund acquires stake in HomeBiogas. HomeBiogas makes small-scale biodigesters for middle and high-income households and for families and communities that otherwise rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking. ENGIE is an active corporate venture investor; its 13% equity investment in HomeBiogas fits into the French energy company’s growing portfolio of small-scale clean energy companies serving emerging markets. Here’s more.

Aye Finance brings on MicroVest and Triple Jump as debt investors. The Gurgaon-based small business lender has supported 60,000 small businesses in India with 8.5 billion rupees ($123.7 million) in loans since launching in 2014. Bethesda, Md.-based MicroVest and Amsterdam-based Triple Jump are backing Aye Finance’s expansion with $10 million in debt capital. Read on.

SunCulture secures backing from EDF Group. The Nairobi-based startup makes solar-powered irrigation pumps and systems, which it sells on credit to small-scale farmers. The French utility EDF Group is making its third investment in an African off-grid solar startup and its first in the agriculture space. Dig in.

Signals: Ahead of the Curve

Capria seeks ‘network effects’ in emerging-market small-business investing. Other investors may be running away from early-stage investments in emerging markets (See yesterday’s “Emerging-markets impact investors turn away from small businesses, at their peril.”) Capria is running toward them. The Capria network now includes 16 local impact funds that make sub-$1 million investments in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The International Finance Corp., the investment arm of the World Bank, has committed $13 million in Capria Fund, which invests in both the fund managers and their funds.

  • Growing network. Among the new funds that have recently joined the network are Adobe Capital and Capital Invent in Mexico; KAP, a fintech investor based in Mauritius; Prismapar Capital, an education investor in Latin America; and Terra Global Capital, an agriculture investor in Colombia.
  • Network fund. Capria is rolling its $5.2 million accelerator fund into what it expects to be a $100 million network fund. The earlier fund took stakes in the general partnerships of 15 of the 16 members of the network and helped them “warehouse” early deals to build their portfolios. Capria’s Will Poole said the fund’s first close, expected next month, will let the fund make investments of up to $5 million in the partner funds.

“As investors continue to migrate to later-stage because their traditional investment models are struggling, they will encounter new struggles including more investor competition, fewer deals, and inflated valuations,” Capria’s Dave Richards told ImpactAlpha in an email exchange. “Capria’s ‘network fund’ model is equipping local investment teams to be more efficient and effective in investing in earlier stage deals where there is little investor competition and a lot more deals to choose between.”

Read, “Capria seeks ‘network effects’ in emerging-market small-business investing,” by David Bank on ImpactAlpha.

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

The Global Development Incubator is hiring a manager for its China portfolio and other positions… Access Ventures is recruiting an operations principal in Louisville, Kentucky… Mission Investors Exchange is hosting the Mission Investing Institute in Oakland, Calif. on Sept. 11 through Sept. 13 for staff from foundations, family offices, or other philanthropic asset owners who are new to impact investing.

— July 31, 2018.