Factor[e] Ventures recently co-hosted an Investor Forum in Nairobi, Kenya alongside EEP Africa and the Shell Foundation. The event brought together high-quality clean energy companies in Africa and key stakeholders in the impact investing space. We are confident that the conversations that took place, as well as the connections that were made, will result in positive outcomes in the future.
Factor[e] portfolio companies in attendance:
More details about the Investor Forum can be found here.
Recently Factor[e] and portfolio company S4S Technologies took on the challenge of redesigning their patented solar conduction dryer technology. The goal was to reduce production cost, simplify the manufacturing and assembly processes and add functionality to the technology in preparation for a substantial increase in production.
A solar conduction dryer (or SCD) is a solar-powered food dehydrator using natural conduction as a primary heat transfer mode and secondary modes of convection and radiation to reduce moisture content within agri-produce. This allows farmers ...
As early-stage impact investors, we at Factor[e] Ventures are often asked how we measure an investment’s impact. What are the metrics that we use? How can we determine if a venture is worthy of the limited risk capital available in the impact sector? Can an investment start out as high-impact and then stray from the mission? We’d like to argue that looking at metrics after the fact is likely the least effective way to answer these questions, and that, in fact, the best way to measure impact is to start by understanding an investor’s intention.
At our core, ...
Powering income generating appliances with high-penetration renewable energy systems is not straightforward. To tackle this challenge, we’re conducting a research effort to learn more about income generating appliances and their use in emerging markets.
Watch this short video to learn more about our work, or click here to view a PowerPoint slide deck about our findings :
In late 2017, we highlighted some of the challenges surrounding income-generating appliances in the blog post titled "The Problem with Productive Use Appliances". In 2018, we conducted primary ...
With the help of our portfolio company, Apollo Agriculture, we recently developed research methods to study the market potential for solar pumps among smallholder farmers in developing countries. The objective of this study was to provide both visual and quantitative representations of the potential for solar pump sales among Apollo Agriculture’s customer base.The methods we established can be applied to identify high potential solar irrigation markets around the world.
Irrigation of arable land has the potential to boost crop yield and enable cultivation of the same ...
Seth Silverman Principal and Director of Africa Operations at Factor[e] Ventures recently wrote the following excerpt and the full-length article titled In Defense of "Doing Too Much" first appearing in the Stanford Social Innovation Review:
"The story goes like this: An impact investor considers a new social venture’s grand vision and feels moved. The entrepreneur persuades the investor that the company is worthwhile, highlighting the novelty of its approach: new technology and a new method rooted in meeting customers where they are. The venture has demonstrated ...
Factor[e] Venture’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program seeks to empower East African entrepreneurs through support in the development of investable impact ventures by providing early-stage funding. This program is generously supported by Bohemian Impact Investments, LLC.
We are looking for a hard-working, creative, technically-savvy, passionate, and visionary East African entrepreneur committed to building a venture in partnership with Factor[e]. The EIR program extends over a period of 6 months. During that time, the EIR will be tasked to follow lean startup ...
In an earlier blog post, we indicated that powering income generating appliances with high-penetration renewable energy systems may not be straightforward. For example, higher-power appliances may strain or exceed the existing capabilities of a power system and have an unknown energy consumption profile. Determining the value proposition of an income-generating appliance to the owner/operator, a minigrid developer, or an appliance manufacture is somewhat difficult due to the lack of sector-specific information. Furthermore, we believe there is an opportunity to improve ...
Today, 2.4 billion people around the world lack access to improved sanitation services and over a billion lack access to electricity. These are often the very same people; dually deprived of the profound improvements to standard of living these basic services provide. As the global population rapidly urbanizes, the pressure for sanitation and energy infrastructure and services is rapidly outpacing the investment and construction capacity of local governments. The Stone Family Foundation and Factor[e] Ventures believe that the private sector can play a critical role in ...
Getting our hands dirty is fundamental to work at Factor[e]. We find immense benefit in, not only understanding the technical side of innovation but also in being truly informed on an area of interest in a way that would not be possible without a little elbow grease.
Recently, the Factor[e] Team took a field trip from our home office in Fort Collins to Denver, Colorado to inform our work around solar pumping for irrigation in the ag sector, rapid iteration and prototyping, and fecal sludge management using vacuum trucks. Each of these areas of study help to educate ...