Climate Finance | January 18, 2018

Trillions for Global Goals, robot nurses, solar in the Congo

The team at


Greetings, ImpactAlpha readers!

#Featured: 2030 Finance

Global goals, country plans: How Achim Steiner is making the global goals investable (video). The new chief of the UN Development Programme has representatives in 170 countries who can facilitate deals to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. “There are people all over the world sitting on enormous mountains of cash, wanting to invest and not finding the right opportunities,” Steiner says in a video interview with ImpactAlpha’s David Bank. “If we can incentivize these investments, we open up channels for enormous funding” for the global goals.

Steiner wants to do for the SDGs what he helped do for renewable energy in a decade as head of UN Environment. But whereas clean energy investments have grown to about $300 billion a year, Steiner wants ‘SDG investing’ to reach $2.5 trillion a year, and much more quickly. “The markets of tomorrow are defined by the SDGs,” he says, “markets for technology, for investment, for new business models.” The interview is the first in a series of videos produced by SOCAP, the Social Capital Markets conference.

Watch the interview with the UNDP’s Achim Steiner and read “Global goals, country plans,” by David Bank on ImpactAlpha.

Global goals, country plans: How Achim Steiner is making SDGs investable (video)

#Dealflow: Follow the Money

ParentPowered raises $2.7 million for parenting app. The company’s Ready4K app sends texts with learning tips to parents of young kids. The Belmont, Calif. company aims to create “an on-demand library for parenting tips,” EdSurge reports, and to expand fee-based services for institutions. Omidyar Network led the funding, which included the Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation.

Diligent Robotics snags $2.1 million for hospital bot. States face significant shortages of skilled nurses. Austin-based Diligent is building robots to handle menial hospital tasks and “help nurses make full use of their specialized skills,” says Diligent Robotics’s Andrea Thomaz. A pilot project will focus on acute care patients. Seed funding came from True Ventures, Pathbreaker Ventures, Boom Capital, and Next Coast Ventures.

Tata Trusts’ incubator gets $4.7 million for energy-startup lab. The objective of the Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship objective is to back high-risk startups that “no other investor will normally touch with a barge pole,” says founder Manoj Kumar. Funding for FISE’s Tata Smart Energy Incubation Center comes from Ratan Tata, former chairman of the Tata group of companies. It is the first of four startup labs planned by FISE, an impact venture fund and incubator. FISE has raised more than $9.4 million and seeded two dozen startups, Inc24 reports.

See all of ImpactAlpha’s recent #dealflow. Send deal tips and news to [email protected].

#Signals: Ahead of the Curve

For solar energy, follow the cell phone signal. Fewer than 14% of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have access to electricity; only seven other countries fare worse. Millions died in its nearly 10-year-long civil war, and deadly violence still afflicts parts of the country. Yet even the DRC is attracting energy companies committed to the 2030 goal of universal energy access. “We are looking for three things: customers without electricity, access to mobile money, and a good telecom signal,” says Mansoor Hamayun, CEO of BBOXX, a seller of solar mini-grids that recently launched operations in the country. The company is selling its solar-lighting products in rural parts of the DRC and has partnered with solar manufacturer Victron Energy to roll out larger-scale systems for cities. These systems will power shops or agriculture equipment using mobile money. Nearly one-quarter of people in the DRC regularly use mobile payments, making it attractive to pay-as-you-go solar companies like BBOXX. The company last year raised $5 million in debt funding to help 150,000 Rwandans finance BBOXX’s home solar products and systems.

Onward! Please send news and comments to [email protected]