Weekly Review – June 7th – June 11th


Every week at Invested Development, we scan the web for articles that relate to what we do and what we like. This week we are talking about a great analogy between angel investors and rock stars, another initiative by the Grameen Foundation, how solar panels are not “so green”, and some insights from the last World Economic Forum in May.

The title alone makes it obvious why we liked this article. The analogy with the rock star was pretty funny and well maintained throughout the article. It also helps emphasize the importance of Angels and illustrates how they give hope to entrepreneurs looking for funding. And best of all, it helps differentiate Angel Investors and VCs by comparing Angels to Prince (the artist, not the son of a King.)

This provides an interesting collection of articles illustrating the role of the Grameen Foundation in many fields and in the field of mobile technology in particular. It also introduces the Grameen Community Knowledge Worker. The role of the CKW is to “harness the power of the mobile phone, a technology that is oblivious to such bottlenecks and combines it with a network of human intermediaries that can be trained to fully leverage its capabilities for the benefit of the farmer.“ (If you want to read the 113 pages Pilot Report it’s here. Or you can just take our word for it.)

Proof that no good deed goes unpunished… at least not initially. Solar panels for sure help the environment by reducing our footprint but studies have shown that it lures insects and eventually kill them! How so? Well apparently the reflection that solar panels have on the sun’s light is similar to the one that water has, therefore insects are attracted to it and fly over without being able to leave. They eventually die of exhaustion. Luckily, they have figured out that “when white borders or grids of white stripes crisscross the panels, dividing the panel into smaller segments, the attractiveness was reduced by 10 to 26-fold.”

Very interesting insights from very interesting people on why we need to focus on innovation in Africa. The NextBillion’s Heather Fleming was at the World Economic Forum in Dar-Es-Salaam last May where the main rallying cry at the conference was that we should stop “thinking” about unleashing Africa’s potential and start building success stories to serve the poor. She interviewed Nick Moon, of Kickstart, who mentions that very little work is done for innovation in Africa and that design thinking should be applied systematically. Bruce McNamer of Technoserve wants to focus on entrepreneurship, provide better supply chain and also mentions that we are now building a middle-class (aka the biggest consumerist class of all.) Overall four interesting insights that make us want to read more about the conference.