Small logo Subscribe to leading news on impact investing. Learn More
The Brief Originals Dealflow Signals The Impact Alpha Impact Voices Podcasts Agents of Impact Open
What's Next Measure Better Investing in Racial Equity Beyond Aid Beyond Trade-offs Impact en las Americas New Revivalists Women Rising in India Operation Impact
Smarter Money Women Rising 2030 Finance Locavesting Inclusive Economy Regeneration Impact Tech New Power Geographies
Slack Conference Calls Events Contribute
The Archive ImpactSpace The Accelerator Selection Tool Network Map
About Us FAQ Calendar Pricing and Payment Policy Privacy Policy Terms of Service Agreement Contact Us
Industry News Impact Management Good Business Personal Finance Faith and investing Billionaires
Gender Lens Investing Women Rising in India
SDGs Climate Finance Clean Energy Innovative Finance Full Stack Capital Long-termism
Opportunity Zones Investing in place
Entrepreneurship Return on Inclusion Good Jobs Inclusive Fintech Creative economy Housing New Schooled Well Being People on the Move
Conservation Finance Farmer Finance Financing Fish
Blockchain/AI/IoT Urban Tech Food Tech Inclusive Fintech
Human Rights Democracy and Peace News and Information
Africa Asia Europe Latin America Middle East Oceania/Australia China Canada India United Kingdom United States Growth Markets
Subscribe
Features
Series
Themes
Community
Data
Subscribe Log In
More

Water-tech: PRIME Coalition seeds Anfiro’s desalination solution



With high capital costs and long product-development cycles, early-stage climate solutions have had a hard time securing funding from venture capitalists.

The PRIME Coalition, a non-profit cleantech intermediary, lines up deals for philanthropic partners who can deploy flexible grants and program-related investments. Such flexible capital can de-risk early stage technologies, and help startups get ready to take on more traditional institutional investors. PRIME is looking to secure $20 million to $40 million by the end of next year.

PRIME’s sixth investment is its first in water technology. Two billion people depend on drinking water sources that are contaminated. By 2025, half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas.

Water tech

Anfiro, a Cambridge, Mass. startup, has created an energy efficient, low-cost method of purifying and desalinating water. Anfiro’s water desalination tech “was interesting because it’s not an expensive process and it’s commercially practical to fabricate,” PRIME’s Matthew Nordan told ImpactAlpha.

PRIME’s syndicate of donor-advised funds, foundations, and family offices led the water startup’s $1.1 million seed financing.

Can this philanthropic investment model help close climate innovation’s “valley of death”?

Anfiro’s water desalination tech uses “nano-membranes” that are built to the size and shape of pure water molecules, uses less energy and can filter water up to 10 times faster than reverse osmosis — the current standard for water purification and desalination. Reverse osmosis is expensive because it is energy intensive.

PRIME vetted 2,189 climate tech startups last year, narrowing them down to a cohort of six to submit to its philanthropic partners for investment. (Three have been announced so far, including Anfiro.)

Norden says he was struck by Anfiro’s innovation in a sector that doesn’t see a lot of new technology development, in spite of the need. “The sector is highly conservative, so there is not a lot of successful tech,” he says, adding that most of the new technology he sees are focused on making “better” reverse osmosis membranes.

To back Anfiro, PRIME worked with the Ellis Family Fund at The Boston Foundation, the Casey & Family Foundation, Incite Labs, Saunders Hotel Group, Autodesk Foundation, the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, Blue Haven Initiative, and two anonymous individuals. Anfiro also received investment from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Foundry Fund at Purdue University. The startup’s technology is licensed from Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame.

PRIME is now moving towards a fund model to accelerate the investment process. “It’s less of an actual [fund] raise than formalizing existing partnerships,” Nordan says. PRIME is looking to secure $20 million to $40 million by the end of next year. The U.S. Department of Energy issued PRIME a grant to cover the fund’s setup costs.

Climate investors look beyond renewables as Bonn gets down to business

De-risking

Climate solutions already represent a $1 trillion market globally. But that could be scaled up six-fold with smart policy solutions and blended finance mechanisms that level the playing field for climate-smart investments. As world leaders gather for the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany, models and mechanisms for mobilizing private capital for climate solutions are high on the agenda.

That trillion dollars could be scaled up six-fold with smart policy solutions and blended finance mechanisms that level the playing field for low-carbon investments, according to the International Finance Corp.

You might also like...