Impact Startup Investing: January 2022 - KingsCrowd

February 28, 2022

Impact Startup Investing: January 2022

In our mission to democratize startup investing, we want to help investors find and finance impactful startup projects. KingsCrowd is introducing a new monthly Impact Investing article to share the most impactful online investment opportunities. To help you navigate impactful startup deals, we categorized deals based on their target industries. Additionally, we have highlighted our favorite startups participating in a more socially and environmentally conscious economy.

Impact investing deals reached a value of $2.3 trillion in 2020, representing 2% of global assets under management. Indeed, the effects of climate change and the COVID-19 crisis are increasing investor’s desire to make a positive contribution to the world through their capital. And opportunities are numerous. In January 2022 only, 20 companies with a positive social impact started raising online. Most of them operate in the food and agriculture, healthcare, and electric vehicles industries, which are large and growing enough to offer opportunities for positive financial returns. 

Happy Investing!

Top Companies

Seattle Gummy Company – Deal to Watch (Health & Medicine)

Children and older adults can struggle to swallow pills and tablets. Other patients often shorten their treatments due to the unpleasant taste of their medicines. To give an alternative solution to traditional oral medicine and improve patient’s drug adherence, Seattle Gummy Company delivers functional healthcare through gummies instead of pills. The gummies make medicine both efficient and appealing while improving patient compliance. Seattle Gummy Company has developed more than 10 gummy medicines and more than 16 functional gummy products in store. 

Parallel Flight Technologies – Neutral Deal (Environmental Disaster Response)

In 2021, there were 48,487 wildfires in the United States – a number constantly increasing due to climate change. While fires are harmful to the environment, they also destroy lives: 15 firefighters and 33 civilians were killed last year. To help fight wildfires, Parallel Flight Technologies has created a patent-pending drone technology that will allow drones to carry heavy loads for more than two hours. This technology will help in saving lives, property, and the environment. The innovative technology of Parallel Flight Technologies is called Parallel Hybrid Electric Multirotor (PHEM) and is funded by NASA, NSF, and USDA. 

GreenChoice (Food and Agriculture)

It is scientifically proven that eating a healthy, organic, and balanced diet can increase life expectancy by up to 10 years while reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes. But in most grocery stores, consumers have trouble differentiating healthy and sustainable products from those using greenwashing marketing. Some struggle to find products adapted to their diet and lose time analyzing products’ ingredients and origins. GreenChoice has developed a grocery marketplace that sells nutritious and sustainable food products and assigns them an independent nutritious score based on their health and environmental impact. The products on GreenChoice are climate-positive and suitable for conscious customers with dietary needs. GreenChoice has a database of more than 360,000 grocery products and more than 40,000 organic monthly users with 18% month-over-month growth. 

 

Other Companies

Food and Agriculture

AgWiki

Close to 10% of the world population is undernourished, and climate change and poor harvests are two of the many factors of the problem. AgWiki brings a solution to solve food problems socially. It is an online platform where farmers, agriculturists, ranchers, and those in the food industry all over the world can share and seek information while building relationships with their peers. AgWiki has three revenue streams, including user fees, partnerships, and online classes.

Tastes Markets

Consuming local food supports communities’ economies, reduces transportation-caused carbon emissions, and gives access to fresher and more nutritious products. However, local food is not always easily accessible and is sometimes expensive. To improve access to local food and reduce producers’ costs, Tastes Markets works on the business model of creating shelf spaces and leasing them to multiple local food brands. The concept works as ‘WeWork’ of grocery stores and leads to low inventory costs, labor costs, and operational costs. Tastes Markets has established an impressive proof of concept with 80% shelf spaces reserved with deposits by January 2022. 

Herb&Olive

Organic agriculture reduces the use of synthetic pesticides, known to endanger wildlife and natural ecosystems. To give consumers a choice of sustainable food, Herb & Olive makes special and organic extra virgin olive oil using the finest ingredients. The olive oil is available through the company’s website, online retail stores, and physical retail stores. Herb & Olive’s olive oil has been featured in The Dieline and GQ as well as many known Instagram accounts.

 

Electric Vehicles

SAM of USA 

The energy used for transportation is responsible for 29% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, a major cause of climate change. The use of electric vehicles is a clear way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. SAM of USA is making an all-electric, three-wheels urban vehicle that provides sustainable automotive mobility. It aims to revolutionize sustainable transportation with its innovative design, technology, and ease of use. SAM of Polska has already sold 300 SAM vehicles in Europe and plans to build on its success in the USA as SAM of USA.

Earth Rides

Ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft offer a practical and comfortable transportation solution. But by replacing private cars and public transportation, they produce 69% more pollution. Earth Rides reduces this pollution by offering a rideshare facility with a fleet of electric vehicles. It aims to provide access to clean technology and electric vehicle ownership for everyone – regardless of socioeconomic status. Earth Rides has the first-mover advantage in the electric rideshare space and reported a 205% increase in revenue in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter.

EvStructure

Electric vehicles appear to be one of the solutions to fight climate change, but the relatively low number of EV chargers available in the US might prevent the transition to widespread usage. EvStructure is addressing the need for electric vehicle charging stations by offering end-to-end electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country. The business plans, designs, builds, commissions, networks, and services electric vehicle infrastructure. EvStructure has more than $13 million of signed installation contracts to date and has installed more than 70,000 electric vehicle charging projects in public and private sectors.

 

African Small Business Support

Africa EatsFounder Profile

Close to half of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa lives under the poverty line. Countless efforts have been made through nonprofits to fight hunger and give better access to healthcare to this part of the world. Unfortunately, nonprofits are not sustainable solutions as they constantly rely on foreign donations. Africa Eats is a for-profit organization tackling hunger and poverty in Africa. The Africa Eats platform has 27 vetted and trained companies that are processors, aggregators, and distributors of food. The portfolio companies of Africa Eats generated aggregate revenues of $9.8 million in 2020, up 61% year-over-year since 2014.

Aladdin 

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are key to Africa’s economic development but lack access to financing solutions. The growth of SMBs could help the continent to become less dependent on foreign support and improve living conditions. Based in Nigeria, Aladdin is Africa’s first ecosystem bank for freelancers and small business owners. The Aladdin app helps support the daily hustle of freelancers, individuals, and small business owners and gives them the financial tools they need. The app also aggregates all the solutions that individuals need with its APIs, SDKs, and mini-programs via partnerships. Aladdin has more than 40,000 users and has been revenue positive in its first six months. 

 

Health & Medicine

Corvidane

The build up of fats and cholesterol in blood vessels obstructs blood flow and is responsible for a major percentage of heart attacks and strokes. Corvidane is developing a novel drug, Corvida, based on the ability of Omega-7 and Omega-9 to fluidify the lipids in the body. This drug will help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis). 

First Person Solutions

COVID-19 symptoms include fatigue, headaches, and shortness of breath. Two years into the COVID pandemic, few options are available to relieve patients from symptoms. First Person Solutions developed a spray solution, FirstSignal, to treat the symptoms of COVID-19 and other viruses. The safe and effective formula of FirstSignal uses herbs recommended by the Ministry of AYUSH and improves molecular signaling disrupted by the viruses. First Person Solutions is led by an experienced team of pharmaceutical and biotech personnel and plans to expand soon to a large number of countries. 

FreMon Scientific

Blood can be refrigerated for up to 42 days, but it needs to be warmed for 30 minutes before being transferred to patients. This time increases the use of energy in hospitals and pre-warmed blood is often wasted. FreMon Scientific has developed, patented, and commercialized a faster technology for warming and thawing blood products. The device is called ZipThaw202 with ZipSleeve and helps clinicians and lab technicians in plasma thawing. FreMon Scientific’s product is FDA cleared, certified under the American Association of Blood Banks, and sold in more than 14 countries and territories. 

Proof in Recovery

Substance abuse has disastrous effects on physical and mental health. For those trying to quit, the path is often long and relapses are common. Medical assistance is key to a successful rehab. Proof in Recovery is developing digital therapeutics that will help improve treatment and recovery for substance abuse patients. The technology platform of Proof in Recovery can also be used for remote patient monitoring to provide clinicians with the data to make informed care decisions.

 

Environmental Disaster Response

BaggetBot by Brigade Automation Corporation

Floods have disastrous consequences on lives and properties. They often can only be predicted a few days in advance. While sandbags help protect goods and homes against inundations, preparing them requires time and energy. BaggetBot by Brigade Automation Corporation has developed a mobile robotic machine that rapidly produces sand and gravel bags to prepare communities against natural disasters. The business has a working prototype and patents in the US and China. BaggetBot’s technology and design increases its productivity by 40% to 60% over existing technologies. 

 

Education

Arbol

The United States has some of the best but also some of the most expensive universities in the world. Unfortunately, many students from low-income families cannot afford college, preventing them from getting a chance to move up the social class ladder. Arbol has developed a crowdfunding platform for low-income college students. The platform makes education affordable and equitable and allows low-income students to receive an education despite their financial and social challenges. The students get to raise funds, expand their network, and access the community on Arbol. 

 

Reforestation

Undesert

One of the leading causes of global warming is the excessive level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. While carbon emissions can be reduced, carbon dioxide can also be captured. Forests have the potential to absorb carbon dioxide and can help in stopping, or even reversing, global warming. Undesert has developed a patented water desalination technology that will help to reforest desert areas. The technology operates on 100% solar energy and helps to convert saline water to distilled water and dry salt. Undesert is already operating commercially and has had proven operations in the UAE for two years. 

 

Recycling

Weapon X

Only 9% of all plastic waste is recycled every year. The rest is either incinerated, dumped in landfills, or put into the environment.  When it is abandoned in nature, plastic endangers ecosystems and human health. Weapon X created patent-pending plastic recycling technology to help recyclers combine and re-form different types of plastics into chips and create new recyclable products. Weapon X has established partnerships with local and regional recycling plant owners to increase the amount of recycled plastic and limit waste.


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About: Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

Léa is passionate about impact investing and sustainability. Prior to KingsCrowd, she worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, helping to select the most promising entrepreneurs. She also led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. In her free-time, she volunteers to help entrepreneurs in Cameroon, Brazil and Colombia. Léa holds a degree in Anthropology from France and is currently enrolled in the UC Davis MBA program.

View Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau's articles

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