The Brief | February 7, 2023

The Brief: The Liist of open impact funds, e-mobility in India, recycling robots, Europe’s green new deals, ethical hacking, corporate refugee responses

The team at


Greetings, Agents of Impact! The State of the Union is… an occasion for a drinking game (with cocktails or mocktails!). The ImpactAlpha team invites you to join us tonight at 9pm ET for a livechat on our #Agents-of-Impact Slack channel. We’ll take a sip for each mention of “green” or “renewable,” “inclusive,” “workers” and “bottom-up.” Pour another for “abundance,” “ownership” – and “impact.” Impress other Agents with your instant analysis and policy punditry.

Featured: Impact Fundraising

The Liist (February 2023): Creative and catalytic strategies from impact fund managers in Latin America, India and the U.S. From India to Ecuador to Central Appalachia in the U.S., impact fund managers recognize there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to plugging persistent capital gaps for inclusive, sustainable economies. Alternative finance and catalytic capital are the themes of this month’s Liist, in partnership with Realize Impact. “Venture capital is not a good fit for many impact companies,” explains the team at IMPAQTO Capital in Quito. The firm is using revenue-based finance to invest in high-impact enterprises in the Andean region. Other impact fund managers raising capital now:

  • Acceso Impact Fund. The women-led and gender-focused fund, domiciled in Panama, is meeting small businesses’ need for debt and revenue-based financing.
  • Aera VC. The Singapore-based sustainable deep tech venture fund will invest globally, including in emerging markets “where capital is severely required,” the firm says.
  • Climate Seeds Fund. The India-focused fund, which evolved out of the Climate Collective Foundation, aims to help promising startups transition out of accelerator programs with seed capital to advance their ideas.
  • FullCycle Climate Partners. The Los Angeles-based firm makes equity investments in companies whose technology is pre-commercialization; it also provides project financing to get facilities and early production rolling.
  • Invest Appalachia. The community-centric fund is leveraging catalytic capital from philanthropic institutions to boost investment in Central Appalachia.
  • Living Cities. The nonprofit collaborative’s third Catalyst Fund will seed emerging female fund managers and fund managers of color to support America’s “new majority.”
  • For more details and contact info, keep reading,The Liist (Feb. 2023): Creative and catalytic strategies from impact fund managers in Latin America, India and the U.S.,” by Jessica Pothering and Roodgally Senatus on ImpactAlpha. Learn about dozens of other funds in earlier editions of The Liist. Know an impact fund manager currently raising capital? Drop us an email or submit this form.

Dealflow: Smart Mobility

Bike Bazaar closes $30 million to finance e-scooters in India. The Pune-based company started out providing financing for the popular two-wheel vehicles in India. It used financing as a means to promote vehicle safety and sustainable management of used and damaged vehicles. With its Series D financing round, Bike Bazaar will ramp up electric scooter financing and expand into India’s second and third tier cities, as well as rural areas (for background, see, “Shift to electric rickshaws and motorcycles is drawing investors to emerging markets’ e-mobility opportunity“). German development bank DEG invested alongside Women World’s Banking, Elevar Equity and Faering Capital.

Recycleye snags $17 million for robots to sort recyclable waste. London-based Recycleye’s AI-powered robots scan and identify plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard waste from households and businesses at 60 frames per second. Each item is seen an average of 30 times, increasing the chances it is accurately identified. Recycleye launched in 2019 to meet the sorting needs of global waste management companies, which face labor shortages and high operational costs as demand grows for quality recycled materials. The company says its robots can operate 24/7, 365 days a year, and can each pick and sort at least 33,000 items over a 10-hour shift. Recycle’s robots have been retrofitted for integration in sorting facilities in Europe and the U.S.

  • Waste-to-value market. Only 8% of global waste recycled. The addressable market for recycled materials stands at $114 billion globally, Recycleye’s Victor Dewulf says, but has the potential to increase by 14 times when the cost of sorting is reduced. DCVC led the Series A round, with participation from Creator Fund, Atypical, Playfair Capital and others.
  • Check it out.

Dealflow overflow. Other investment news crossing our desks:

  • The government of Germany is rolling out a €1 billion investment fund for growth-stage for deeptech and climate tech startups. The announcement comes on the heels of France’s plans to invest €500 million in deeptech ventures tackling substantial scientific or engineering challenges.
  • Oikocredit provided $5 million in debt to Yellow, a pay-as-you-go solar provider based in Uganda, and offered a $2.6 million credit facility to MyCredit to provide low-cost small business loans in Kenya. 
  • Fintech venture Gwala raised an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding to provide Moroccan workers with access to earned wages before their monthly payday. 

Six Short Signals: What We’re Reading

🌐 Investing in refugees. Unilever, Citigroup, Inditex, BBVA and Starbucks topped the first-ever ranking of 50 high-performing global companies taking action to address the refugee crisis through economic integration. (Refugee Integration Insights)

🤝 Alt-ownership. Dozens of tools and resources are available for investors and founders looking to build employee-owned businesses, co-ops, steward ownership and other alternative ownership and governance structures. (Esme Verity, Considered Capital). 

🧑🏾‍🌾 Agtech adoption is up. Roughly half of farmers make digital purchases, according to a McKinsey study of 5,500 farmers across nine countries. Though digitization and sustainability practices are often linked, adoption of the latter is still below 50%. (Agfunder News)

🌱 Sustainability-first startups. How can founders make hardware without ruining the planet? Hint: Weave sustainability into the product design as early as possible. (Techcrunch)

Clean tech, clean air. Bronx residents that replaced their gas stoves with induction stoves showed a 35% decrease in nitrogen dioxide and a nearly 43% reduction in carbon monoxide. (The City)

📈 Applying economics to ESG. From how sustainability risk affects cash flows to ESG’s diminishing returns, 10 ways mainstream economics can help us better understand ESG. (Alex Edmans, London Business School)

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

Community Capital Management promotes Alyssa Greenspan to chief executive officer. She succeeds CCM founder Todd Cohen, who will transition to executive chairman. Amy Maness, ex- of Verizon Business, joins CCM as head of intermediary and business management… Paul Bodnar, ex- head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, joins Bezos Earth Fund… Gloria Mirrione, ex- of Korn Ferry, joins Acre as head of sustainable finance and impact investing in the Americas. 

Climate Policy Initiative seeks a climate finance senior analyst in London… Mercy Corp Ventures is looking for an investment fellow… The International Institute for Sustainable Development is hiring a remote strategic communications lead for the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance… Evidence Action has an opening for an Africa program manager… MEDA is looking for a finance officer in the Philippines… Sustainable Energy for All is recruiting a bilingual communications senior assistant in Vienna. 

Connect Humanity seeks a remote investment director or manager in West Virginia… The UNFCCC High Level Climate Champions is recruiting a Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation agenda lead and a Race to Zero campaign leadLuminate seeks an analyst for partner support… Impact Capital is hiring a chief financial officer in Brussels… Macquarie has an opening for a foundation coordinator in New York… Bamboo Capital Partners is looking for a valuation manager in Luxembourg. 

Additional Ventures is hiring a strategic climate initiatives director in Palo Alto, Calif… The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. has an opening for a remote senior environmental and social impact analyst… A to Z Impact is recruiting a remote summer investment associate… Seth Julyan and Beth Lipson of Opportunity Finance Network will join a webinar today at 2pm ET on the roots of community development financial institutions. 

Thank you for your impact.

– Feb. 7, 2023