Editor’s Note: This is the last post in Sean Smith’s series from the Nairobi office. Catch up on anything you missed by clicking the links below. 

The Kenyan Context 

These groups of Rich People and Nerds are slowly beginning to identify each other.  They are slowly feeling each other out and gaining a better understanding read more
Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of Sean Smith’s series on Rich People, Nerds, and the Kenyan Context. Be sure to catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them. 


The Nerds

The Rich People are only relevant and useful if there are large numbers of “Nerds” that are hacking away at new technologies and scheming how to launch the next big thing. One of the most remarkable things about … read more

Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a series from Sean Smith, who recently moved to Nairobi, Kenya to open Invested Development’s East African office. 

Having recently moved to Kenya to establish ID’s first international office, I am often asked by friends, family, and colleagues a simple question, “Why Nairobi?” My answer is often just as simple, “Because Nairobi is positioning itself to become the Silicon Valley of Africa.”  What isn’t so simple … read more
For Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re following the discussion in various media outlets around the flow of capital to early stage startups. Most agree that entrepreneurship is a necessary tool for development and we’re happy to see that capital is beginning to flow to places where it’s needed.
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund is continuing to promote the flow of private … read more

This is the third installment in our series on mobile transaction systems and their contribution to the fight against poverty. First, we introduced this series with an overview of mobile penetration rates and the mobile phone’s power for impact. Then, last week, we highlighted the first transaction system– mobile money – and the benefits such transactions offer to users. This week, we will look at the different ways mobile phones facilitate exchanges of information … read more

A cornerstone of our philosophy is to combine the efficiency of the free market with the heart of the social sector. Private investment and entrepreneurship will create sustainable development in emerging markets.

Ennovent’s Sustainable Enterprise Fund announced yesterday that it invested in Barefoot Power. Barefoot provides renewable energy and lighting to off-grid or under electrified communities in India. Co-investors include Insitor, … read more

This week, we’re stepping back and looking at the explosive developments in the ICT industry and their effects in emerging markets.  In case you missed it, check out our ongoing series on how mobile transactions systems can fight poverty, Part 1 and Part 2.
Image Courtesy of SlimTrader
Ethio Telecom launches credit transfer service” Press Release from Ethio Telecom
Ethiopia is infamous for its lagging mobile penetration rates. The Government-led telecom released ambitious … read more

Last week we introduced this series that will highlight the different ways mobile phones can combat poverty. This week, we will discuss the first example of a poverty-fighting mobile transaction system. Mobile money transfer services provide financial inclusion benefits for the unbanked, and are the most heralded impact of mobile penetration.

Mobile Money Transactions

Perhaps the most well-known mobile transaction systems that engage the base of the pyramid are mobile money transactions. The various flavors read more

Several exciting headlines this week point to the adoption of clean tech as a affordable and scalable solution to the world’s energy problems.

New Technology Could Double Solar Cell Efficiency” by RP Siegel on Triple Pundit
Although installed costs of solar photovoltaics have declined by over 43 percent since 1998, many who rely on fossil fuels are still reluctant to make the change to solar. Now, through advancement in the research and development … read more

The ID team spends a lot of time discussing and studying the mobile technology industry. The driving force behind our focus on mobile technology in emerging markets has been the explosive growth of mobile phone penetration rates and the potential for mobile transaction systems to reduce poverty.

Our most popular post on this blog is “Mobile Phones at the Base of the Pyramid: Accessibility and Affordability” published in June 2010. In that post, … read more

Last week we spoke to the impact that mobile technology can have for development. For the same reasons, our other investment focus is alternative energy. While alternative energy is traditionally expensive, many social entrepreneurs are creating clever financing models that deliver clean energy at an affordable price. The following articles detail why and how alternative energy can create such a significant impact at the BoP in emerging markets.

Could a Pay-as-You-Go Model Convince People read more


Banks and mobile network operators are working in an environment that is constantly evolving with the addition of new competitors, new regulations (or lack thereof), and new markets. The mobile payments world in emerging markets is experiencing explosive growth and widespread support, as evidenced in the following articles.

First universal mobile payments platform goes live” on Mobile Money Africa
Luup is now providing universal mobile payment systems through a combination of Microsoft … read more

Developing countries tend to have high export rates of their most valuable resource:  people. However, many changes on the ground in Africa are encouraging entrepreneurs to stay and create businesses and better lives for themselves at home. A successful entrepreneur in the developing world is no longer a rarity. In fact, entrepreneurs are finding great success in Africa in ways that also have the potential to have a significant impact.

At ID, we often discuss the benefits of mobile phones for those at the Base-of-the-Pyramid. Access to mobile phones is proven to increase financial inclusion and accessibility to basic goods and service. This Weekly Review examines the benefits of mobile phones specifically for migrant workers.

Forty million Indonesians do not have access to formal financial services. This lack of financial inclusion stunts growth and … read more

Tomorrow, South Sudan becomes the newest country with their declaration of independence. At ID, the newfound independence sparked a conversation. We discussed social enterprise in post-conflict areas, and found that social enterprise will be and has been effective in South Sudan and throughout other conflicted areas in the world.

Recently, we’ve watched public uprisings unfold in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya over … read more


This Weekly Review focuses on the economic and social opportunities in renewable energy and clean technology, especially within emerging markets to better the lives of the world’s poorest citizens.
SELCO solar panels in India at Simpa Site Visit
We know that there’s a certain connection between mobile technology and alternative energy, which is why they … read more

>Every week at ID we scan the web for articles that relate to what we do and what we like. This week we read a lot about the use of and mobile technology for the development of emerging markets.

Image via NextBillion.net

New Resource: CGAP Launches Branchless Banking Database” Next Billion’s Interview with Mark Pickens, CGAP
Mark Pickens is a Microfinance Specialist at The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP). The … read more


Every week at Invested Development we scan the web for articles that relate to what we do and what we like. This week we read a lot about… well, we read a lot.  

Greetings from Davos, Switzerland” by Neal Keny-Guyer
This week the World Economic Forum is meeting for the annual discussion of the world’s economy in Davos, Switzerland. There are a lot of issues on the agenda this year, but read more