In Defense of “Doing Too Much”

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 ...

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Entrepreneur in Residence – East Africa

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 ...

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Productive Use Appliance: Data Collection and Research

In an earlier blog post, we indicated that powering productive-use 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 the ...

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Looking for Sanitation Innovation? Urine Luck!

Sanitation Sprint - Factor[e] Ventures
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 ...

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Factor[e] Field Trip: Hands-On Look at Pump Applications

Keevac Industries
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 ...

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The Problem with Productive Use Appliances

*For an update on what we're doing in this area, please see this post.* "The minigrid business is challenging; no one has really quite figured it out yet. To boost average revenue per connection, we’re doing some thinking about productive use appliances." Lean in to any conversation in the energy access sector, and you’ve probably heard this sentence. What appliances are these? And how, exactly, does one appliance get the famed title of “productive”? Let’s step back for just one moment and remember that electricity by itself isn’t very helpful. Of ...

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Waste-to-Value Pilot for Livelihood Improvement in Gujarat

Woman cooking on Sistema Biobolsa’s biogas.
Waste-to-Value Pilot for Livelihood Improvement in Gujarat in Partnership with Tata Trusts and Factor[e] Ventures By: Ganesh Kaveeshwar Factor[e]’s Ventures’ portfolio company – Sistema Biobolsa with the help of Collectives for the Integrated Livelihoods Initiative (CInI – an initiative of Tata Trusts) and Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE) have piloted more than 50 biogas units for families in rural tribal areas of Gujarat, India. Factor[e] Ventures undertook several trips to the field for market feasibility study, installation ...

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A Simple Machine Changes Lives of Farmers in Rural Maharashtra!

By: Atreya Pal "Ten years ago, I could not even believe that I would be an entrepreneur, have my own factory, and help women in my village earn more and have better health," said Prabhavati. Previously a farm laborer earning a daily wage of 30 rupees a day (50 US cents), Prabhavati is now a ‘factory’ owner. She owns a piece of land where she has installed 40 solar dryers, where women from villages come and get their agricultural produce dried. Since dehydrated vegetables and fruits are preserved, it allows villagers to sell them to a wider and more lucrative ...

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Factor[e] Ventures and Crofarm Announces Partnership!

Factor[e] Ventures is excited to announce our first Indian investment with agriculture technology firm, Crofarm. According to data published by Ministry of Food Processing Industries, India’s annual agricultural losses exceed $14 billion, presenting a huge opportunity for intervention. Crofarm has created a model to address this nationwide problem with of a combination of smart logistics and a sophisticated technology platform that allows reduction of post-harvest losses by 30%, while maintaining fairness of price for both farmers and retailers. Through Crofarm’s ...

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Rural electrification: Time to get messy?

The story goes that Franklin D Roosevelt first took an interest in rural electrification while staying at a small cottage in Georgia, where he would get hydrotherapy treatment for his crippling polio. He was apparently unpleasantly surprised at being charged four times the rate per kWh as charged in New York. That was in 1925. Eleven years later he signed the Rural Electrification Act (REA), one of the key pieces of legislation in the New Deal, designed to lift America out of the Great Depression. The Act was born out of the recognition that full economic recovery ...

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