Weekly Review – August 1st – August 7th


We missed last week, so this weeks Weekly Review has a few more stories then usual. In case you are new to the blog, 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 clean water and mobile money.
This is a quick illustration of the many risks that remain for great ideas trying to become great ventures. We all too often fall in love with a concept, product or design only to loose focus on it’s implementation. For start-ups the risk to scale quickly can lead to botched implementation, high-costs, poor results and worst of all, disproof-of-concept. Another important topic mentioned, there is never one solution. Entrepreneurs and investors should continue supporting innovative twists, despite a few high profile competitors grabbing dollars and headlines.
Affordable clean water is a huge issue and a real opportunity for a creative social entrepreneur to go big while dramatically improving the lives of the world’s most needy. This article (the title alone) illustrates just how big a need it is and the next article highlights some unexpected solutions.
Just to highlight the pandemic that clean water is becoming; a Houston based company, S2C Global Systems has created a for-profit business that will ship bulk drinking water from Alaska to India. For anyone who is familiar with water’s more annoying qualities (it is heavy, hard to contain and evaporates at relatively low temperatures), this is a real eye-opener.
A look at how the Solar For All competition entrants are getting capital, but they are really missing the mark. Promethean Power, a third-place winner, got seed capital from very traditional sources like Quarcus Trust and one of Invested Development’s Angel Investors as well as ID partner First Light Ventures. We are certain they are not the only ones tapping for-profit investors.
This is a nice collection of videos from the Tech @ State event this past week in D.C. This particular collection of videos is from the Mobile Money panel featuring Ben Lyons (Frontline SMS: Credit & Kopo Kopo) and Raul Hinojosa (Transfercel), two entrepreneurs that ID is very familiar with.
The title says it all. This nifty video created by CGAP explains just how the M-PESA system works. It is the most successful mobile money platform in the world for a reason… to bad that it won’t work in many countries due to regulations prohibiting telecoms from acting like banks.
Literacy is becoming a key issue in the evolution of mobile banking. Unlike traditional banking (where clients can interact verbally), mobile banking requires that a user be literate (at least semi-literate). This is not a prerequisite for mobile phone use and many of the Worlds 4+ billion mobile phone users are indeed illiterate, especially when we look at the 1.25 billion unbanked mobile users.

Guido and the LavAmp team are also Unreasonable Fellows. We had an opportunity to meet the team on a recent trip to Boulder. The technology still needs some tweaking, but it has tremendous potential as an affordable diagnostic tool for both humans and animals.