Water Sector Spotlight Deal: HydroMentia

Imagine a water treatment technology that costs less than traditional chemical treatment methods but which improves water quality by delivering low treatment levels using a natural and sustainable solution.

Our latest spotlight deal; HydroMentia; can do just that. The company delivers sustainable, commercial-scale water treatment using natural algae to remove high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater, surface water and other water bodies.

Algal blooms are a problem in the Gulf of Mexico and thousands of other water bodies across the world. Caused by increased nutrient levels in the water, these blooms can contaminate seafood, spread disease and lead to marine mammal and seabird deaths as well as extensive fish kills, according to the EPA. Now HydroMentia has found a way to turn the destructive characteristics of algae into a water treatment powerhouse by making a virtue of what these organisms do best: Recovering excess nutrients.

HydroMentia has spent several years perfecting their water treatment technology to harness nature’s power for nutrient pollution control by optimizing algae’s natural capabilities. With a growing reputation, the process has been described as “best in its class” for improving water quality at low treatment levels using sustainable attached algae systems.

The system is based on shallow, sloped pools in which contaminated water is passed over dense beds of attached algae. As they reproduce, the algae remove nitrogen and phosphorus (as well as CO2) from the water. The algal biomass is then recovered and processed to recover organic and inorganic by-products, a practice that maintains the algae in an accelerated growth phase. The algal biomass is then processed into marketable commodities such as soil-enhancing compost or livestock feed. The process is less expensive than more established chemical treatment methods and uses far less land areas than traditional treatment wetlands.

The Algal Turf Scrubber, one of the company’s leading products has been demonstrated at commercial and pilot scale from Florida to New York and from Chesapeake Bay to California. One county in Florida has successfully operated this product for several years, with a second system being installed in 2014. Other clients in the pipeline include a mining company and an environmentally responsible real estate development.

The company is well positioned to expand both within the US and globally due to their widely applicable solution to a growing challenge. In order to do that they are seeking 1 million to 5 million USD in investment and have their eyes set on the impact investing community.

At the moment HydroMentia is still looking for investors and collaborators, so if you would like to learn more about this deal, register with Maximpact today further explore their potential.

View more Maximpact water sector deals.

World Vision Projects Ready for Investment

Are you looking to put your investment dollars towards improving the lives of children and communities? If so, this recent addition to the Maximpact deal-listing portfolio may be of interest to you.

World Vision is an international humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organization currently seeking investment with its handful of different projects. The organization is dedicated to the sustained wellbeing of children, especially the most vulnerable. By working with families, communities, and partners World Vision is able to overcome poverty and injustice and ensure that children enjoy good health, are educated for life and are cared for, protected, and participating. Various project, many of which are currently listing with Maximpact focus on community development and help break the cycle of poverty.
Today, World Vision has an impact on nearly 100 countries worldwide. If their initiatives relate to the type of impact that that you would like to create, here is a list of different opportunities to get involved with:

Strengthening of Pakistan communities through recycling: This initiative includes two projects, one focused on raising awareness about economic value of recyclable material and activation of recycling plants and the other on the establishment of a recycling unit at tertiary educational institute to increase awareness and mobilize private sector interest and investment.

Resilience building for Lesotho communities affected by climate change: This project is focused on reducing drought vulnerability. The initiative will introduce relevant adaptive measures, approaches, and interventions, reducing climatic risks and securing livelihoods, food and income.

Improving watershed management and rural livelihood of Kilimanjaro: A project to restore and protect the existing watershed and build the capacity of local communities and institutions to better manage natural resources in an effort to increase nutrition and food security from improved agricultural productivity.

Peace building project for children of Kosovo: An ongoing award-winning project that contributes to the development of child-led structures for peace and promotes tolerance and inclusion in five different municipalities of Kosovo. Its next implementation phase expands the program into four more municipalities.

Ethiopian community-managed reforestation project: The 6000-hectare project is designed to combat the environmental degradation associated with the farming and grazing practices currently employed on the project area, while providing local communities with the economic benefits associated with the sale of carbon credits. The project involves participation of local smallholder farmers whose livelihoods consist largely of subsistence production of food crops or cash crops and animal husbandry.

Improvement of health workforce in Kenya: Kenya faces a decline in the numbers of health workers in the public service. There are approximately 18 doctors for every 100,000 people with around 128 nurses per 100,000. The project will focus on distribution of the health workers and effective human resources planning, staff orientations, job descriptions and management in the health sector.

All of the deals mentioned above are currently seeking partners and investment of $25.000 to $5 million.

For more information about World Vision deals and projects and ways to get in touch please login to Maximpact.com and visit the deal section.

View other Maximpact spotlight deals.

 

World Vision’s global development areas of focus.

[Image credit: Courtesy of World Vision]

PLAYA VIVA: READY FOR INVESTMENT

Huts at Playa Viva restortPlaya Viva ticks all the boxes for a great holiday destination: a luxurious boutique hotel in an idyllic tropical location with wonderful food and a pristine beach. It]s so good Elle magazine chose it as one of the world’s top Conscious Getaways for 2013.

But what makes Playa Viva more than just a nice place to stay is the commitment to sustainability and regeneration that underpins every aspect of its operation. Playa Viva’s goal is to “make a significant impact in creating a better local economy and a better ecosystem and still have a great business endeavor”. From its architecture to its energy use to its interactions with the local community, Playa Viva is designed to bring maximum benefit to guests, locals and the wild environment that surrounds it; while functioning as a profitable resort.Photo of man standing on a balcony overlooking the sea

Playa Viva takes its regenerative mission very seriously. It recently became a certified GIIRS member and carried out work on tracking the hotel’s impact on its local supply chain; right down to the man who supplies them with popsicles.

Now Playa Viva is looking to expand. It’s seeking further investment to take its revolutionary approach to tourism to a new level. To find out more, login to www.maximpact.com and view Playa Viva’s deal listing.

SPOTLIGHT DEAL: CSRHUB

CSRHUB-CV-AI-10

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has plenty in common with impact investing. (See The Impact Investing-CSR Opportunity for more) Now CSRHub, a tool that provides CSR sustainability ratings for companies, is listed on Maximpact in a bid to attract the funds it needs to grow to scale.

MEETING THE DEMAND FOR RELIABLE CSR INFORMATION

Founders Cynthia Figge, Bahar Gidwani and Stephen Filler identified a need for an affordable, accessible and reliable source of CSR information and sustainability ratings. Calls for greater transparency were growing as employees, investors, government, researchers and CSR professionals demanded more insight into the effectiveness of CSR programs. Yet good quality information was difficult to come by. Data was scattered across a range of agencies and licensing was expensive. No comprehensive resource for CSR information existed; until now.

CSRHub is a powerful research tool that aggregates CSR data from more than 400 data sources. It brings together information from companies, rating agencies, socially responsible investing analyst firms, NGOs, social benefit groups, governments, publications and crowd- and social network-based sources. From this raw material, CSRHub’s founders have created a global database of CSR activity including unbiased sustainability ratings of over 15,000 companies.

The only tool with this scope, CSRHub provides vital information for researchers, CSR managers, journalists, social activists and others. “We brought together the best data we could obtain from many sources, aggregated it and normalized it to remove bias,” explains co-founder Cynthia Figge. “Some of our sources had never allowed anyone else to use their data in this way. We’re the only ones in the world who have ever looked at all this data together and made meaning of it.”

LOOKING FOR IMPACT INVESTORS

CSRHub has attracted raves from CSR professionals and sustainability advocates for its usability and the quality of its data. It drew the support of angel investors early on, but the founders have always believed that impact investors were a natural fit for CSRHub’s business ambitions.

The company practices what it preaches when it comes to a commitment to social benefit, too. CSRHub is a registered B Corp as well as an advocate for better standards and more transparent sustainability reporting in the CSR sector. Says Figge, “We’re specifically looking for investors who are interested in a profitable company aligned with commitment to solving social problems and changing the world.”

A TOOL FOR THE IMPACT SECTOR?

CSRHub may ultimately prove a valuable tool for the impact sector itself. Its data to date focuses on the CSR areas of employees, environment, community and government, some of which can provide insight into a company’s social or environmental impact. Additionally, the founders are also looking into the possibility of incorporating more impact information into the CSRHub database. They recently carried out a process of mapping the CSRHub schema to the assessment schema for Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS). “The results were compelling,” says Figge.

Though it’s too early to tell if incorporating this data is practical, the implications for the impact sector could be profound. Imagine a world where investors could call up reliable impact ratings for any company in seconds. Such transparency could galvanize the sector and revolutionize the way we all do business.

For more information about CSRHub and its investment needs, login to Maximpact. For more on CSR and impact investing, see The Impact Investing-CSR Opportunity.

View other Maximpact spotlight deals.

CSRHUB WIDGET

Spotlight Deal: LightUp Africa

light-up-africa 302x302Lack of electricity is a barrier to development for millions of people around the world. Without an affordable source of electric light students can’t study, craftspeople can’t produce goods and businesses are limited in when and how they can operate. The electricity shortage is particularly acute for people living in rural areas, many of whom are forced to walk hours simply to charge the mobile phones that provide vital links to networks and services.

Light Up Africa (LUA) is a for-profit company with a mission to bring reliable, affordable electricity to the developing world, starting with Kenya. The brainchild of founder Alan Hurt, an engineering student from Northern Illinois University, its first product is the Zoom Box, a portable device for harnessing the kinetic energy from everyday activities and storing it in a battery. This small and highly adaptable generator can capture and keep energy from the movement of cattle and livestock, bicycles, scooters, motorcycles and even fishing boats. It can create energy when attached to children walking to school or women fetching water; or even people dancing.

headshot of Alan Hurt

“When was the last time you had to go without electricity for a day? Now imagine going one day,one month or your entire life without access to electricity. That is how life is for 85% of Kenyans, over 500,000,000 Africans and 1.5 billion people around the world.” Light Up Africa founder Alan Hurt

Given the appeal of this simple, clever idea, Light Up Africa has a kinetic energy all its own. In little more than a year what began as a gleam in Hurt’s eye was developed by him and three fellow students into a proposal for the first-ever Social Venture Business Plan competition held by the NIU College of Business. They won, carrying away $10,000 and an introduction to experts for further advice. Further developments have lead to LUA’s selection as one of only 200 semifinalists of the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, a competition that attracted some 1700 submissions.

Maximpact.com caught up with Alan Hurt during a recent trip to Kenyan and spoke to him about Light Up Africa’s plans for the future:

“We’ve come a long way in less than a year,” said Hurt.” Within this time, we’ve made some significant changes to not only our business model, but also to the product itself. We decided that as a company investing in Africa, we had to stop talking and start listening more. We met with individuals, families, and entrepreneurs. And we learned that, while a stand alone product that brings access to electricity wouldn’t change the world, a platform would.

So we went back to the drawing board and designed not only a product, but also a platform that combines the mobile with the immobile and energizes consumers into entrepreneurs. We designed a way to capture and store energy from what Kenyans are already doing everyday: moving. In this way we effectively create an energy currency in a mobile market.

During this discovery process, we applied for highly selective fellowships and business accelerators like The Impact Engine, Starting Bloc, Global Engagement Summit, and Think Impact and got accepted. Most importantly, we’ve raised over $35,000 in less then a year while growing our relationships with those on the ground who understand the market and climate the most.

In the next six months we will finish product development, then manufacture and launch our second pilot program in western Kenya. We are really excited to share what we’ve learned with the world.”

Shine On: Solar Deals Light Up Maximpact


By Marta Maretich @maximpactdotcom

Sun energy has enjoyed favored status with governments and investors for years. Today however prices for solar products are falling and capital is harder to come by, encouraging many solar companies to change strategy and seek finance from new sources; notably from impact investors.

Maximpact has always hosted a wide variety of solar deals. Today’s deals reflect key trends in the solar sector including a new focus on deployment of existing technologies, diversifying services to support other parts of the solar supply chain and offering sustainable energy solutions for off-grid users in emerging markets.

Deal D00084: This company manufactures patented solar roofing tiles and insulating tiles for the residential market. Its solar tiles are attractive and easy to integrate with modern home design; and they can reduce the costs of residential solar by 50%-100%. The company has recently refined its products to meet the building code for the US Net Zero Energy requirements coming in by 2020. Its current focus is expanding to meet market demand set to increase five-fold over the next seven years.


Deal D000344: This company is poised to capitalize on the growing use of solar energy systems in challenging environments where snow and dust can reduce the effectiveness of solar panels and surfaces. It has perfected a technology that makes panels self-cleaning: electro-sonic waves repel sand and dust while heat elements melt snow. Integration of the technology into solar energy systems can restore energy efficiency by up to 40% in tough climates. It conserves water and saves on cleaning costs, too.


Deal D000307: This social enterprise is tackling the problem of fuel poverty by providing affordable renewable energy solutions for the UK social housing sector. Taking advantage of dipping costs in the sector, it makes a range of energy technologies available to the domestic market: solar PV, renewable heat, including biomass and ground pump technologies, and for the first time fuel cell CHP. Acting as a bridge between investors and projects, it promotes the uptake of all these technologies by identifying technical solutions and arranging financing.


Deal D000135: This company has developed a portable solar generator that eliminates the need for fossil fuel generators it even comes with a convenient handle and wheels, like a carry-on bag. Their product is powerful enough to run laptops, appliances, power tools and other vital equipment without the need for expensive infrastructure. It can provide reliable energy in a range of challenging environments and circumstances including emergency situations and power outages, making it a valuable tool for customers in emerging markets.


Deal D000011: This social enterprise has a mission to provide access to energy for low income Africans. It has developed an effective model for selling and distributing high-quality modular solar PV home systems to off-grid users in East Africa. The business works through local franchise networks and offers an end-user credit facility that makes renewable energy affordable for its clients. Having developed a model that works on the ground, it is poised to scale up, bringing its sustainable approach to other parts of Africa.


Deal D000353: A solar plant developer for Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, this company offers a full range of services to cover every stage of the plant development process: site identification, choosing technologies, organizing permits, licensing, construction contracts, construction management and arrangement of debt and equity. The business already has a portfolio of 2.2GW of projects across a number of countries using a range of solar technologies including CSP Tower and PV. It’s looking to expand to meet the growing demand for solar power across the world.

For more information on any of these deals register or log in to Maximpact.com.

View other Maximpact spotlight deals.

Cleantech Cleans Up: EcoBasalt and MetalloTek

EcoBasalt and MetalloTek are two companies giving cleantech a new polish. Both young companies use high tech materials to create products that clean the planet; and both are seeking investment on Maximpact.com.

EcoBasalt Ltd develops sustainable nanomaterials from natural, inorganic basalt (volcanic) rock fibers. After years of research, the founders have come up with a unique process that produces super thin basalt fibers that are highly absorbent of oil. EcoBasalt’s premier product, SB-1, is a unique basalt fiber system engineered for use in oil spills.

SB-1 is a winning package on several levels. It absorbs oil more quickly and efficiently than competing products, saving time and money in the wake of an oil disaster.

Large amounts of oil can be removed using SB-1, then reclaimed from the fiber, avoiding both waste and post-cleanup disposal costs. SB-1 can be recycled into asphalt and concrete for road building. All this means it has applications for oil spill response teams, governments, oil and gas industry bodies, marine salvage companies and more.

Metallo Tek is a startup company with a similar cleansing mission. It was formed to commercialise a patented soil remediation technology developed by the University of Queensland in Australia. Its flexible, cost-effective approach uses metal binding particles in conjunction with metal tolerant native plants (metallophytes) to remediate polluted sites resulting from mining or other industrial activities.

Metallo Tek has already attracted kudos for its environmentally friendly in situ soil treatment technology. It won the 2011 Australian Mining Prospect Awards in the category Excellence in Environmental Management and was a finalist in the Australian Innovation Challenge for environmental innovations in 2011. Now it wants to make its technology widely available, giving more mining countries access to an affordable, effective means of remediation and providing mining companies and governments a better way to clean up the mess their activities leave behind.

Both MetalloTek and EcoBasalt are listing on Maximpact today. For more information register or login.

View other Maximpact spotlight deals.

Equitable Origin: An Eco-label for Fossil Fuels

 

post-featured-frog

Imagine a Fair Trade-style eco-label for fossil fuels. A glance at the logo tells customers buying this fuel – or products made from it – that it’s produced using the highest environmental standards and in a way that helps rather than harms local communities. This is the idea behind Equitable Origin, the first and only independent certification and certification trading system for oil and gas production. It’s now seeking impact investment on the Maximpact deal site.”

The buzz in cleantech circles may be about renewable energy, but fossil fuels are set to be the world’s main energy source for decades to come. Demand is projected to rise 7% by 2020 and 28% by 2035 due to industrialization of countries such as China and India. And not only will the environment suffer from this increased push for production, so will many indigenous communities. Some 60% of the world’s proven oil reserves are located in emerging economies; countries that lack national standards for responsible production or the incentives to enforce them­.

David Poritz, Equitable Origin founder and co-President saw the impact of these problems first-hand. He spent a decade working with indigenous peoples in Ecuador, a nation rich in fossil fuels where local communities struggle to protect themselves and their lands from the negative consequences of extraction. Through this experience, he began to see an urgent need for a market-based mechanism to incentivize oil and gas companies to operate with the highest levels of social and environmental performance.

Equitable Origin Logo

Poritz developed the Equitable Origin system through extensive consultation with the oil and gas industry, NGOs, indigenous communities and governmental agencies. The result is the EO100 Standard, a comprehensive standard for oil and gas exploration and production as well as a certificate trading system and ecolable program.

The EO100 Standard provides metrics and performance targets that address the social and environmental impacts of oil and gas production. It rates a company on six principles: corporate governance and accountability, human rights and social impact, fair labor, indigenous rights, climate change and environment, and project life-cycle management. Companies that score above a certain minimum level of performance and in these areas are granted certification.

Certification can then be converted into tradeable certificates that can be bought by consumer-facing brands wanting to green their supply chain and offer a choice to support responsible production. The Equitable Origin logo can be attached to products made from certified fuels, rewarding oil and gas industry for applying the highest standards of environmental and cultural care to their work while allowing customers to support better production practices with their choices.

Equitable Origin has built an impressive cross-sector team around this idea including experienced petroleum industry professionals and environmental, sustainability and stakeholder involvement experts. It is now seeking investment to scale its operations into more markets in oil-producing countries including Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Mexico.

Pyrum Innovations: Transforming Waste into Value

Thermolysis. You may not have heard of this process yet, but if the team at Pyrum Innovations have their way, you may soon find yourself using the valuable raw materials or the oil, gas and electricity it produces. Pyrum Innovations has perfected an industrial process that uses thermolysis; the thermal dismantling of substances under oxygen shortage; to turn recycled polymer waste into a variety of commercially useful substances including oil and gas. With a prestigious green innovation award and two rounds of financing already under its belt, the German company is now moving into a third round of financing; and it’s listing its latest deal on Maximpact.com.

Pyrum Innovations started with the ambition to find breakthrough solutions to recycling polymer waste, the waste from used tires, bituminous roof insulation, weather stripping, various kinds of packaging and many other common items. Currently 50% of this waste is burned while the rest is buried in landfill. Both disposal methods carry an ecological cost; and they represent a missed opportunity to recapture the valuable polymers locked in the disused products.

Pyrum’s solution is a revolutionary recycling unit that uses pyrolysis, a type of thermolysis, to process polymer waste. These modular self-contained units are able to handle up to 5000 tons of waste per annum. With no moving parts, the units are transportable and easily installed on industrial premises. They can be scaled up, used in series, or downsized to meet a range of capacity needs. Best of all, they are energy self-sufficient, and can be engineered to generate a range of products including rubber flour, soot, coke, activated charcoal, oil, gas, electricity and heat.

Scalable:

  • – Pilot plant for tires – 300 tons/annum
  • – Industrial plant – 5000 tons/annum
  • – Partners can make 2 units of 5000 tons/annum per month
  • – Plans to extend capacity to 8-10 units per month

Pyrum’s exciting work on polymer recycling hasn’t gone unappreciated: in 2012, it won best innovation of the year in Germany and was named “green champion”. Its two early financing rounds attracted funds from angel investors and the European Union as well as garnering matching funds from industrial partners.

Along the way, Pyrum has established relationships with a range of industries, many of whom have a direct interest in the success of the technology. The young company has collaborated with variety of potential clients in the development stages, including tire manufacturers, bitumen producers, aluminum producers and EPDM (a type of synthetic rubber) producers. Pyrum has also forged supportive relationships in other sectors, for example drawing talent and expertise from universities and engineering companies. This widespread interest is one indication of the potential value of their product in a range of sectors and applications.

There’s a buzz around Pyrum. Yet the question remains: Is there market potential in its innovative approach to polymer recycling? With demand for sustainable and green manufacturing processes continuing to grow globally, the answer is yes.

Take used tires as just one example: currently Europe alone generates 3 million tons of used tires; worldwide that figure increases to 13.5 million tons per annum. Pyrum’s pyrolytic recycling units offer a practical alterative to burning or burying this mountain of waste; a proposition that will be attractive to both industry and government. By capturing just 10% of this market, the company could achieve a cumulated turnover of around 4 billion euros. At the same time it could reduce pollution and CO2 emissions, generate useful raw materials and create a beneficial impact for the planet and its inhabitants.

In the fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin turned straw into gold. Now Pyrum Innovations possesses the technology that turns polymer waste into gold of a different sort. For more information, see their deal on Maximpact.com.

View other Maximpact spotlight deals.

Spotlight Deal: Wello WaterWheel

spotlight deal wello waterwheel

The case of the Wello WaterWheel, now listed on Maximpact’s Intermediary Portal, shows how fast a good idea can catch on, attracting enthusiastic users, collaborators and investors from an early stage.

WaterWheel is an innovative water delivery system that provides a way for people to transport large amounts of drinking water with much less effort. Rather than lugging heavy containers by hand, users push the WaterWheel’s 50 liter barrel in front of them using a convenient handle. The device was designed through an immersive, human-centered design process involving target users and experts in the field. The result is a robust, adaptable system that makes it easier for people, especially women and children, to convey needed water cleanly and efficiently, even over rough terrain.

The WaterWheel is designed to deliver more than water. By giving people easier access to potable water the device frees up valuable time, removes barriers that prevent children from going to school and empowers women to engage in more productive activities. The WaterWheel is also a potential income-generating tool for its target users, giving them a way to help lift their families out of poverty.

After nine months of extensive research and field testing,the latest model of the WaterWheel is now in production. Wasting no time in its efforts to get this technology into the hands of the people who need it, Wello is currently busy raising funding to deliver its technology on a broader scale. Investors have been quick to recognize the WaterWheel’s impact potential, both in social and financial terms: Wello is now just short of meeting its fundraising goals; yet it is still looking for funding to unlock a secured matching grant.

Wello is also using its Maximpact listing to reach out to collaborators. “We’re in the process of building Wello’s board right now,” says founder and CEO Cynthia Koenig. “We’d love to hear from people with expertise in the following fields: legal, finance and accounting, advertising and marketing, mechanical and industrial engineering, fundraising, and working with large international NGOs and other institutions. I’m also looking for business mentor who can provide high-level advice and guidance as we expand.”

For more information about Wello and the WaterWheel, please login to Maximpact.com and visit the deal section. You must be registered with Maximpact to view this information. Go to site.

For more information about WELLO, please login to Maximpact.com and visit the deal section.

View other Maximpact spotlight deals.