The Problem with Productive Use Appliances

"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 course, we need appliances to make electricity meaningful. In emerging markets, ...

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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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No Wasted Opportunities: Factor[e] Presents Sistema Biobolsa

Factor[e] Ventures is excited to announce investment in a new portfolio company. Meet Alexander Eaton and Camilo Pagés – entrepreneurs with a cause. The pair founded Sistema Biobolsa, a growing firm on a mission to improve living conditions for small farmers around the world. “Globally, there are about 400 to 600 million small farmers who produce about 80 percent of the world's food,” explains Eaton, “and these farmers are vital to the social fabric of rural communities.” In fact, more than a quarter of the earth's population – fully 2 billion people by ...

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SparkMeter Ups Impact Potential Through Mobile Money Integration

Factor[e] portfolio company, SparkMeter, offers a metering solution to energy providers in underserved markets. We welcomed the company into our portfolio in mid 2014, impressed with the robustness and quality of data the low-cost meter collects, without the need for costly communications hardware. Now, SparkMeter has exponentially increased its impact potential by integrating an application program interface (API) that allows its software to accept payments through local Mobile Money apps. Energy providers can, using the company’s meters, accept payment from whatever ...

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Redavia Achieves Financial Milestone

Efforts to bring low-cost energy to some of Africa's poorest countries just got a major financial boost. Factor[e] Ventures portfolio firm, Redavia, recently secured a commitment of up to $5million US from InfraCo Africa to expand operations. Redavia is able to deliver solar energy to off-grid locations through its innovative use of converted shipping containers. Equipped with photovoltaic panels, backup batteries and low-voltage connection capabilities, they serve as portable solar farms that can be deployed and brought online in a matter of days. Redavia has been ...

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Preserving Produce: Factor[e] Presents ColdHubs

Factor[e] Ventures welcomes another promising company to its portfolio. ColdHubs founder Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu’s foray into the business of food preservation evolved from a simple observation on market day in his native Nigeria: At the end of the day, a lot of good food gets thrown away. Small-scale farmers selling their fruits and vegetables at market often toss anything they have not sold by closing time, because, after a day or two in the heat, produce is completely wilted or rotted. Some lose as much as 45 percent of what they grow this way. “Farmers’ ...

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FACTOR[e] Hosts New Portfolio Companies For Venture Bootcamp

FACTOR[e] recently welcomed our two new portfolio companies ColdHubs and Sistema Biobolsa to Fort Collins for our venture bootcamp, SmartLaunch.  Built from FACTOR[e]’s firsthand experience providing hands-on, “more than money” support to seed stage ventures, SmartLaunch is focused on critical aspects of technological, commercial, and organizational development. Like everything we do at FACTOR[e], every session is fully customized to each venture’s individual needs.  Of course, SmartLaunch is just the beginning, and we’re excited to work with both teams for ...

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