02/17/2018 Sproutel When Aaron Horowitz was a child, he had human-growth-hormone deficiency and was administered daily injections for five years in order to grow. It left a big enough impact for him to start a company called Sproutel, a company that collaborates with brands for better health. When Aflac, a supplemental insurance company in the US that has funded the Aflac Cancer Center in Atlanta, asked for a product to be a companion to children with cancer, they developed My Special Aflac Duck, a robot that interacted and responded intuitively. At the Consumer Electronics Show 2018, they won the Best Innovation in the Tech for a Better World category.
02/16/2018 PACE MD Digital health care technology leader MyTelemedicine has partnered with PACEMD, an international organization focused on supporting health initiatives in Latin America, to provide telehealth services to Spanish-speaking patients in the United States and Mexico.
02/16/2018 Wash Cycle Laundry Wash Cycle Laundry, a company founded in Philadelphia that has delivered millions of pounds of laundry and pioneered the bicycle laundry, wants to locate its Boston area operations in Chelsea.
02/15/2018 Tala Siroya began Tala in 2012 by lending out about $80,000 of her own money. She says she did it pretty much blindly just to collect data so she could begin to establish patterns that might predict creditworthiness. Her repayment rate was a fairly dismal 70%. But as her algorithms churned through loan after loan, that rate has increased to 92%, which is significantly better than a traditional bank using a traditional credit bureau like Equifax can achieve. Because her company makes credit available to people who could never hope to walk into a bank and get a loan, Siroya says that Tala is now the third most popular mobile app in Kenya behind Facebook and WhatsApp. Over the last year, the startup has deployed more than $100 million in loans.
02/11/2018 Ingressive Nigerian-American Maya Horgan Famodu is solving a big problem for Silicon Valley: Investors want to invest in Africa, but lack the know-how or local partners to help them get on the inside. Enter Famodu. She is the 26-year-old gatekeeper between tech investors and the Africa entrepreneur ecosystem.
02/11/2018 Saathi “One and a half years ago, I had written and registered a film based on the works of Arunachalam Muruganantham and Saathi biodegradable sanitary pads. I had registered the film on 5th of December 2016 from screen writer association and sent to Ryan Stephan (Karan Johar production’s creative head) and personally to Vikram Aditya Motwane. After ten days on 16th of December 2016, I heard the news that Twinkle Khanna revealed that her production is making a film based on his life, starring Akshay Kumar (sic).”
02/09/2018 Clean Decisions Will Avila employs 15 people full-time, all ex-convicts. Avila pays above minimum wage—an important move in the Washington, DC, area where he operates, as the cost of living is high and a person on a minimum wage might still need additional income—a dangerous temptation for an ex-con.
02/09/2018 Maternova Saving Mothers Announces Innovative Partnership With Maternova, Inc. to Advance Maternal Health
02/08/2018 Esoko The SMS-based eSoko system that has been implemented by Minagri. One of the greatest benefits of an eSoko (market price information system) is the cutting out of the middlemen and ensuring the farmer gets better prices as a result.
02/03/2018 Gham Power Gham Power has been selected as the finalist for the Frontier Innovators program.
02/02/2018 SOL VISTA SOL VISTA® 2017’s achievements include huge advancements in its Skywalk® SaaS platform and significant expansion of the platform’s subscriber base, which now boasts buildings in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and several Caribbean islands.
01/31/2018 Access Afya Pharmacies are often the first and only stop for Kenyans when they fall sick, but they are often unregulated and the advice given and drugs prescribed is of variable quality. Newsday’s Alan Kasujja visited an organisation which is trying to change that. ‘Access Afya’, runs three micro clinics and two pharmacies which service thirty thousand people in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
01/31/2018 Tala Today, the micro lender has serviced more than 4.5 million loans and has lent out Sh25 billion ($250 million) to its customers in Kenya, Tanzania, Philippines and Mexico. “Repayment rates are at 92 per cent with eight per cent accounting for the slow payers. Interestingly, 95 per cent of our clients are repeat customers,” said Ms Siroya, a graduate of Columbia University. Tala says when launching in a country, they rely on diverse cultural differences. “When we got started, we raised investor capital of $1.2 million (Sh120m),” she says of the venture that has employed 220 people, among them customer service, engineers and collectors. Plans are underway to introduce the service in West Africa in countries such as Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria as well as the southern part of the continent in South Africa.
01/30/2018 CSRHUB Cynthia Figge is a forerunner and thought leader in the corporate sustainability movement. Figge is CEO and Cofounder of CSRHub, the world’s largest database on ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance of 17,500+ companies that provides sustainability ratings and business intelligence to professionals, academics and API partners.
01/29/2018 Folia Water Folia Water has developed a water filtration system containing a single sheet of nano-silver filter paper, which can provide 50 liters of safe water at a retail price of 50 cents per sheet.
01/29/2018 Re-Nuble Re-Nuble will pitch its patent-pending process to transform food waste into chemical-free, organic nutrients for both soil-based and hydroponic cultivation.
01/25/2018 Fresh Coast Capital Fresh Coast Capital coordinates large-scale urban revitalization in U.S. cities. Comprising a team of community organizers, engineers, environmental scientists and finance professionals, the B Corporation develops projects such as green infrastructure for stormwater management.
01/25/2018 Komaza Komaza, Kenya’s largest commercial tree planter, works with smallholder farmers to plant and process trees for timber. Africa’s industrial wood demand will grow 500 percent in the next two decades, leading to more imports. Komaza aims to unlock the potential of sustainable small-scale wood farming.
01/22/2018 WeSpire The WeSpire platform is known as a market leader in corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs and is in implementation among customers like Unilever, Cox Enterprises, and MGM Resorts.
01/21/2018 Kuli Kuli Kuli Kuli, America’s leading brand of the green superfood moringa, is introducing the Organic Moringa Green Smoothie Mixes to its line of popular moringa products.
01/19/2018 LabourNet LabourNet, a Bengaluru-based social enterprise, has been roped in to expand Tata Trust and Google India-backed internet awareness program, ‘Internet Sathi’ in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana, said a top official of the company in Hyderabad on Friday.
01/19/2018 Runa The Brooklyn-based company, founded in 2009 by college roommates Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie, produces ready-to-drink iced teas and energy drinks made with guayusa, a plant traditionally used as a natural source of caffeine by indigenous groups in South America. Through its vertically aligned supply chain— in which it sources organic crops from Fair Trade Certified partner farms in Ecuador— Runa has made ethical business practices and sustainable farming a key part of its identity.
01/18/2018 Fresh Coast Capital Fresh Coast Capital recently raised $1.25 million in a grant and investment from the Kresge Foundation, and Land Life Company, the startup with the paper “cocoon” for planting trees, is in the middle of an investment round. But the report suggests that it’s an industry that most investors aren’t familiar with. For the startups to succeed, more capital is critical.
01/16/2018 First Access A Tanzania-based startup called First Access, for instance, uses mobile phone payment histories to build out credit scores.
01/13/2018 Sproutel Sproutel is a company that has been creating ‘companion robots’ for a few years.1 Their first robot is called ‘Jerry the Bear’ and was created to help children with type 1 diabetes better understand their disease and management. The children take care of Jerry, feeding him, checking his blood sugar, and giving him insulin. In many ways, it helps children understand why they need to do certain things. By taking care of Jerry, they can better take care of themselves.
01/12/2018 Farmland LP Farmland LP was formed in 2009 “to add value to farmland by converting it to organic, sustainable agriculture,” according the release. It manages more than 12,000 acres in Northern California and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. In 2015, the group purchased 6,000 acres in the Willamette Valley from Olsen Agricultural Enterprises, an entity controlled by a pioneer farming family.
01/12/2018 Sproutel Aflac, the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite in the United States, capped off a busy week at the Consumer Electronics Show® (CES) by accepting the Best of CES 2018 Award for Best Unexpected Product for My Special Aflac Duck, the company’s new social robot designed to help children coping with cancer. The smart companion was created by Sproutel, a research and development workshop focused on making health care playful.
01/11/2018 African Renewable Energy Distributors Launched in January 2013, ARED is focused primarily on women and disabled individuals, and shares revenues with the micro-franchisee. “We recruit, train and monitor the kiosk operators and we share the revenue on most of the services we provide on the kiosk,” chief executive officer Henri Nyakarundi (CEO) told Disrupt Africa.
01/11/2018 Fresh Coast Capital Fresh Coast Capital raises $1.25 million for green municipal water management. Chicago-based Fresh Coast Capital raised the money from the Kresge Foundation to help fill the projected $105 billion funding gap between now and 2025 in U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure. The money is for green water-management projects like rain gardens and bioswales and came as a $500,000 grant and a $750,000 program-related investment. Fresh Coast Capital launched in 2014 out of the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge with a pitch for revitalizing brownfields.
01/11/2018 Musana Carts Uganda’s Musana Carts aims to offer a path to a sustainable, reliable income through street vending. Each Musana Cart comes complete with an eco-friendly stove, light bulbs and phone chargers, all powered by a solar panel. The startup also provides access to finance, business and WASH training, as well as a business licence.
01/11/2018 WeSpire WeSpire is a 20-employee Boston firm that helps large companies run employee engagement programs. Customers pay an annual, per-employee subscription fee to access WeSpire’s library of app-like campaigns, including programs that encourage workers to reduce their carbon footprint or volunteer in the community. Employees log their actions and engage in friendly competition with co-workers — think “gamification” — and get recognition from employers in the form of online kudos.
01/10/2018 Kuli Kuli Nestled in downtown Oakland, California, sustainable food and agriculture startup Kuli Kuli has roots more than 7,000 miles away. Founder Lisa Curtis was introduced to the moringa tree while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small town in Niger. A vegetarian whose local diet consisted mainly of millet and rice, Curtis was able to curb her malnourishment, a lack of protein and key vitamins by adding moringa to her daily regime. Her health turnaround sparked an interest in introducing the benefit of the moringa plant to North American eaters.
01/08/2018 Sproutel Sproutel’s “My Special Aflac Duck” has been recognized as the winner of the prestigious Tech for a Better World Innovation Award at CES 2018.
01/04/2018 Uncommon Cacao Uncommon Cacao (UC) began in 2010, with a goal of growing high-quality, sustainably produced cocoa bound to export to quality-focused brands overseas. After successfully launching in Belize, UC has expanded to Guatemala. In both countries, UC is revolutionizing local economies by linking small indigenous producers with the specialized cocoa industry.+
01/04/2018 Up Top Acres D.C.-based Up Top Acres, which got its start planting rooftop farms in the D.C. area in 2014, is preparing for its biggest project yet: a 17,000-square-foot rooftop farm at North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose mixed-used development
01/02/2018 Teysha The story behind the name of shoe company Teysha was inspired by an indigenous Caddo word that roughly translates to “friend and ally” and that’s what the team behind the brand has become for Latin American artisans.
01/01/2018 Goods That Matter Located in Mid-City, the Goods That Matter shop invites customers in with the gentle aroma of its soaps, candles and fragrances. But passersby might not suspect this cozy shop on the streetcar line is also a groundbreaking business venture. Tippy Tippens, the enterprising CEO of Goods That Matter, took a unique bar of soap and turned it into an entire company – the first of its kind in Louisiana.
12/26/2017 LabourNet LabourNet has brought about a visible change in the lives of these women through its programmes of skill development and micro-entrepreneurship.
12/23/2017 Kuli Kuli Lisa Curtis is the Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli. Kuli Kuli is the first company to sell moringa food products in the US. Moringa is a green superfood that is more nutritious than kale and provides a complete plant protein, similar to quinoa. Lisa began working on Kuli Kuli while in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. Through Kuli Kuli’s moringa supply chain, the company has planted over 1 million moringa trees, created 1,000 sustainable livelihoods and has put over $1.5M back into the hands of rural farmers across Africa and India.
12/22/2017 PulpWorks Although 2015 VisionSF nominee PulpWorks continues to make a name for itself in the world of biodegradable packaging, Co-Founder and CEO Paul Tasner has found a new, unlikely platform as of late. Since he was featured in the VisionSF spotlight last year, Tasner has had the opportunity to tell his powerful story via a TEDTalks video and residency. Since his video was posted in October, it has garnered over 1.2 million views – and Tasner’s message is clear: it is never too late to reinvent yourself.
12/21/2017 Access Afya In light of the gap left by formal healthcare systems and in an effort to cater to the largely underserved population of Nairobi’s informal areas, Access Afya is a chain of three clinics located in the capital’s largest slums. “Free healthcare in Kenyan slums is typically very poor quality, while quality healthcare is too expensive,” founder of Access Afya, Melissa Menke, says. “These Kenyans are faced with a choice – get poor quality, free healthcare; do nothing at all; or wait for long periods to get subsidized healthcare. No one should have to make this choice.”
12/21/2017 Koe Koe Tech More than 100,000 people have turned to an app designed by Koe Koe Tech in Myanmar aimed at tackling some of Asia’s worst maternal mortality rates. Since 2015, Maymay has offered services from a pregnancy advice hotline to chat groups for mothers-to-be.
12/19/2017 MilkCrate Morgan Berman, founder and CEO of Milkcrate, an app that connect users with sustainable businesses.
12/04/2017 Mille Collines Two 21-year-old fashion students, Inés Mille and Marc Collines, left the hallowed hallways of fashion in Barcelona and with just $9,000 in their pockets, traveled all the way to East Africa to set up shop in little-known Kigali in Rwanda, which at the time was building itself – a fully-fledged fashion industry was not yet on its radar.
12/03/2017 LabourNet LabourNet works among the youth in urban and rural India, has been in the field for the past 10 years, focussing on RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), and bridging skill gaps in education and entrepreneurship, especially in medium, small and micro enterprises.
11/14/2017 Misfit Juicery Established in 2014, Misfit is a product range of cold-pressed juice made from scraps of vegetables and fruits that otherwise go to waste because they are not the right size, shape, or color that, as Misfit says, don’t fit the “high aesthetic standards for produce that is retailed in the US.” They calculate that over 20 billion pounds of fruits and veggies go unharvested or unsold every year in the U.S., so a fraction of that is going into their juices, made in Washington DC and sold in various retail locations in Washington and New York, including Whole Foods. Recently, Misfit introduced a new identity and packaging designed by Brooklyn, NY-based Gander.