Scott Anderson

Friday Roundup 7-8-11: The Wisdom of the Crowds (Funding)

We’ve been talking about the promise and, as some see it, the perils of Impact Investing this week and continuing through the month, the newly launched Big Idea Page.

Whether technically “impact” investing or not, the week saw several deals break for socially inclined enterprises, including FINO Ltd., an Indian technology solutions provider for banks, microfinance institutions and insurance companies. Blackstone Group will be investing $33 million in FINO. And as Reuters reported, India has seen 61 private equity buyouts worth $3.3 billion in the first half of the year, up 21.6 percent from the same period last year.

Additionally, Hub Ventures and Village Capital recently announced three social enterprises from the spring 2011 cohort of Hub Ventures. They were selected have been selected by their peers after making their pitches during the Hub Ventures Investor Day and will receive $75,000 each in seed funding. The trio of enterprises includes:

  • San + CO: Leveraging technology to convert human waste into electricity, the San+Co model provides sanitation solutions and off-grid electricity to urban poor living in the slums of India. San+Co’s ambitious plan includes providing sanitation to 1 million people in 5 years.
  • Cloud Currencies founded by Jon Underwood, the firm is web-based “cause marketing and open-loop loyalty marketing platform” designed to increases spending at local merchants. Consumers can register any credit or debit card and immediately earn donations for their favorite nonprofit and local currency credits for themselves every time they make a purchase at a participating local merchant. (Not a bad thing to carry in one’s wallet).
  • The Hoop Fund, founded by Patrick Donohue, uses crowd-funding to unlock investor-driven demand for fair trade and sustainable products. They liken it to a combination of Kiva + Groupon by harnessing their network of partnerships to combine deals on products that do some good with microloans to the farmers and artisans who make them; ergo, turning customers into investors with personal stories of impact.

Congrats to these firms!

Quick Hits

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs will be launching its fifth regional chapter in India. The Chapter will be led by Steering Committee members from Acumen Fund, Dalberg, Grassroots Business Fund, ShoreBank International, Technoserve, and Villgro. Villgro has assumed the chapter coordination role. To learn more about India Chapter, as well as ANDE chapters in other regions, check out the Chapter web page.

The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University unveiled a new website this week. It features a new Center at Work as well as an interactive map to track partnerships and projects.


“What are the greatest opportunities for achieving full financial inclusion around the world by the year 2020? What is standing in the way?”

The Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION asked those critical questions to 301 financial services providers, investors in microfinance and support organization representatives. If you’d like to find out some of the answers, they’re compiled in “Opportunities and Obstacles to Financial Inclusion” report, which will presented “talk show” style from 6:00-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday (July 12) at Orrick Herrington and Suttcliffe LLP – Columbia Center, 1152 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005. Host Elisabeth Rhyne, managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion, will lead a discussion about how different groups approach financial inclusion. Guest include Sergio Navajas, microfinance senior specialist, the Inter-American Development Bank; Tilman Ehrbeck, chief executive officer, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP); and Sharon D’ONofrio, interim executive director, The SEEP Network.

Space is limited, so RSVP to

In Case You Missed It … This Week on NextBillion

Striking a Balance: GIIN Leader On Impact Investment’s Role, Critics and Future by Rob Katz

How Social Entrepreneurs Are Doing More for the Environment Than Tree Huggers By Bryan Farris

The (Not So) Dangerous Promise of Impact Investing by Miguel Granier

8 Lessons for Creating an Impact Investing Fund by Erik Wallsten and Santiago Alvarez

Making the Global Ad Market Work for the BoP, One Bike at a Time by Grant Tudor

Social Enterprise
financial inclusion, impact investing, social enterprise