Technology and Business for Good

This week, our thoughts are with the victims of the Boston Marathon Explosions. As with all tragedies, we must soldier on with daily life. Here’s news from the week that serve as a reminder of the good things that are happening in the world as a result of technology and business.

Crowdsourcing Solar is a Bright and Powerful Idea” by RP Siegel on Triple Pundit
Financing continues to be the biggest barrier to … read more

Innovating to Meet Energy Demand

This week we’re featuring news on energy, including breakthroughs from innovators and commentary on how this type of innovation is needed to meet the growing energy demand in Africa.

A quiet breakthrough in geothermal power tech” by Katie Fehrenbacher on GigaOM
As we frequently mention on this blog, we like to keep tabs on innovation breakthroughs in renewable energy. Although we haven’t invested in a geothermal tech, we like to learn about those … read more

Weekly Review December 28 – January 4: Seed Stage Impact Investments and Acceleration

2013 is already shaping up to be a big year for seed stage impact investment. Read what industry leaders like Ross Baird of Village Capital and Kevin Jones of SOCAP are saying, and what opportunities social entrepreneurs can take advantage of this January.

Investing Early to Impact World-Changing Solutions” by Ross Baird, Village Capital Executive Director, on The Huffington Post
Ross Baird, executive director at our partner organization, Village Capital, discusses the … read more

Weekly Review June 9-15

Every week, we read dozens of articles on our favorite industry trends and relate to our investment thesis. We pick the most popular trend from the week and share the top articles along with our thoughts.

This week, we’re featuring news on financial innovation and impact investing.… read more

Weekly Review June 2-8

Every week, we share articles on an industry trend along with our thoughts.

We invest in alternative energy technologies for many reasons, one being their ability to provide safe and affordable energy to those beyond the reach of the grid. Check out news from this week that discusses bringing energy to those who are off-grid.… read more

Introducing the Impact Factoring Fund

Over the past few years, ID has worked to catalyze risk capital for underserved markets. To date, we have done this with direct investments from our BSP Fund, business co-creation through our BETA program, and deal syndication with fellow investors. Now, we are ready to announce our latest effort to support high-growth enterprises working in underserved markets.

The Impact Factoring Fund solves one of the most critical inhibitors to high-growth impact entrepreneurship. It levels … read more

Weekly Review May 19-25

Every week, we read dozens of articles on our favorite industry trends that relate to our investment thesis. We pick the most popular trend from the week and share the top articles along with our thoughts.

Articles and blog posts this week cover news on mobile technology in emerging markets.  We’re featuring news from iHub’s blog, MIT Technology Review, Business Daily Africa, and Mobile Payments Today. A common trend you’ll find in each article is … read more

Weekly Review February 26-March 3

An increase in  conferences, competitions, and accelerators is shifting the flow of human capital toward social enterprise. Last weekend, we attended the Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard where we saw evidence of support systems and networks developing to help and encourage social entrepreneurs. It is important to step back and appreciate the growth of the industry and this week we’re highlighting exciting examples of support for social enterprise in the news.… read more

Weekly Review February 5-11

This week, we read about growing entrepreneurial opportunities in our target investment markets: India, Africa, and Latin America. The movement of human and financial capital in (and out) of emerging markets is increasing steadily thanks to changing demographics and blossoming economies. This presents exciting opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs alike.… read more

Weekly Review December 25-31

It’s the last week of the year, and we are surrounded by reflections on 2011 and resolutions for 2012. Here at Invested Development we have both. Our main ambitions for 2012 are to open our third office in India and test some innovative investment structures tailored especially for the techies in Nairobi. While we are excited about the prospects in India, Africa has made the biggest leaps and grabbed the headlines this year, notably from
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Rich People, Nerds, and the Kenyan Context: Thoughts from the Nairobi Office Part 2

Editor’s Note: This post is the second installment in Sean Smith’s series on Rich People, Nerds, and the Kenyan Context. Click here if you missed Part 1.

The Rich People

The most important kind of Rich Person a startup hub can have is successful technology entrepreneurs that are looking to support new startups.  Often, this is subject to a chicken and egg dilemma. Without support, introductions, and investment from successful industry veterans it is a
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Rich People, Nerds, and the Kenyan Context: Thoughts from the Nairobi Office Part 1

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
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Weekly Review November 13 – 19

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
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Can Lagging Ethiopia Reach African Mobile Penetration Standards?

Adding 55M

Ethiopia is infamously lagging behind the African standard of mobile penetration rates. Currently, mobile penetration in Africa is around 50% and climbing, but Ethiopia’s mobile penetration is around 12%. The Government of Ethiopia, who controls the telecommunications industry in the country, has set some ambitious goals for the next five years to increase mobile penetration rates. While there are many benefits that come along with a mobile phone in the hands of the
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Weekly Review November 6-12

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,
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WANTED: The World’s Most Unreasonable Entrepreneurs

Convinced you have the entrepreneurial mettle to improve the lives of millions of people around the world? Accelerate your venture with mentorship from 50 seasoned entrepreneurs and practitioners, ranging from a Time Magazine Hero of the Planet, to the CTO of HP, to an entrepreneur who’s lifted over 19 million farmers out of poverty. In the process, form relationships with 20 impact funds including Invested Development and our friends Acumen Fund, Good Capital, read more

Good News in the Portfolio

As we wrote about in a recent post, Cents and Responsibility, investors have a responsibility to entrepreneurs. The Weekly Review prior to that post highlighted the close relationship an entrepreneur must have with the investor to enable productivity and progress. We live by our own words. We have a close relationship with each of our portfolio companies and stand by them on both the highest of highs and lowest of lows.  Although we don’t
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Weekly Review September 19-23


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

Cents and Responsibility


Every week we speak to entrepreneurs who are eagerly seeking financing for their start-ups. Despite the start-up moniker, many have been struggling for months and even years. They have probably passed up jobs, ended significant relationships, faced the ridicule of family and friends, and lost sleep over bills and bank accounts. They are, in a word, desperate.

It’s important for investors to recognize this. Look past the calm exterior, the confident pitch face, the … read more

Weekly Review September 12-16

Inevitably, Money creates power and with power comes great responsibility. Impact investors have the power to enable social enterprises to create change while developing solutions for underserved markets. Reflected in their mission statements, they also have the responsibility to work closely with social entrepreneurs to make this happen.  The following articles from this week review the different responsibilities investors and entrepreneurs have and ways they fulfill them.
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SOCAP11 was the inspiration for last week’s Weekly Review and the conference is finally here. The Invested Development team has had good experiences at SOCAP in the past, including our first introduction to social entrepreneur Femi Akinde and his company, SlimTrader, now an ID portfolio company. This year we’re hoping to meet new entrepreneurs and learn about their exciting new technological solutions to poverty. We’ll also be contributing to the conversation; you’ll find Invested
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Weekly Review August 29 – September 2

As usually is the case before a SOCAP conference, ID’s RSS reader is filled with news, thoughts, and opinions on impact investing, where “money meets meaning.” Here are some highlights that we found interesting, and watch for a post next week on why ID is attending SOCAP.

How I Did It:  EBay’s Founder on Innovating the Business Model on Social Change” by Pierre Omidyar via Harvard Business Review 
How do you facilitate high
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Weekly Review August 22-26

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.
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