Many high-profile impact-focused fintech firms have been successful in raising Series A and B equity rounds, and many believe that form of capital can serve both growth and scale goals. But it can’t, says John Beckham, Chief Investment Officer at MicroVest Capital Management. Instead, he advocates more debt financing for fintechs that have proven their models. He explores why investors should embrace private debt as a key opportunity to turn a nascent marketplace for impact fintechs into a thriving one.
Quick Wins for Digital Agriculture: Why Digitizing Aggregation Centers is a Fast Path to Long-Term Impact for Smallholders
Discussion of digital agriculture innovation often focuses on buzzworthy technologies like the internet of things, artificial intelligence and blockchain. But though these technologies will eventually define the future of the sector, Ananth R Gudipati at the World Food Programme and Paul Kweheria at Mercy Corps say we should start with the basics – getting farmer organizations and SMEs to use digital tech to streamline their operations. They share insights from a digital platform developed by the Farm to Market Alliance that’s doing just that.
Sustainable Connectivity: How Biofuels Can Boost Mobile Access, Support Small Farmers – And Fight Climate Change
Mobile connectivity is sweeping through rural Africa and Asia – but it has a major drawback. It’s dependent on cellular towers that often rely either on diesel power, which has economic and ecological costs and limited availability, or solar panels, which require clear, sunny skies. Fortunately, another solution is emerging: bioenergy. John Garrity, Dennis Garrity and James Daniel at the Evergreening Global Alliance explore its positive impact on food security, grid infrastructure and global climate change.
Helping the Digital Revolution Reach the Corner Store: Piloting Mobile Solutions for Micro-Retailers
Across the developing world, there are millions of small-scale shopkeepers who want to build their businesses. But with no training in management skills, many often struggle to run their shops. Can digital tools help address this challenge? TechnoServe sought to answer that question by piloting a smartphone platform that worked with shopkeepers in Kenya to improve the operations of their stores. Alice Waweru explores the program’s benefits and limitations.
Thank you to everyone who voted in NextBillion's seventh annual Top Post of the Year contest. Here are the winners and their vote percentage totals as well as the complete results for this year's competition. Congratulations to the top three winning contributors for their articles, which both challenged and enlightened us. And Happy New Year to all of our readers.
- Agriculture, Education, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Finance, Health Care, Investing, NextBillion Originals, Technology, WASH