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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

OPIC Loan to Kiva Supports Almost 100,000 Microloans to Developing Country Borrowers

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced Thursday at the Social Capital Markets conference that its financing to Kiva Microfunds has supported 98,137 microloans to 207,227 small business borrowers, across 30 countries. The majority of the borrowers – 81 percent – were women. This financing is helping alleviate poverty by enabling borrowers to start and grow their farms and businesses, access energy and educate their families.

OPIC in 2017 provided a $10 million loan to Kiva, to help the San Francisco nonprofit extend its impact and provide loans that otherwise would not have been fully funded. Skoll Foundation provided crucial philanthropic capital to the project.

Kiva was established as a platform to connect individuals lending as little as $25 with low-income entrepreneurs and students around the world who provide a description of their ventures and specify loan amounts needed. Almost one million Americans have participated so far by providing loans to entrepreneurs featured on the Kiva platform.

An OPIC-supported Kiva loan helped this mother of four in Honduras purchase ingredients for her food business.

“OPIC’s partnership with Kiva aligns closely with our mission to advance development goals in emerging markets, and with our 2X Women’s initiative,” said David Bohigian, OPIC Executive Vice President. “The success of this partnership illustrates the significant impact that can be achieved when different forms of capital are blended together.”

Kiva works with over 300 microfinance and social enterprise Field Partners who conduct due diligence on all borrowers. Because Kiva’s borrowers have an average 97 percent repayment rate, and amounts repaid to the OPIC matching loan fund are automatically lent out again, OPIC’s $10 million loan has to date deployed $26.4 million of funds to individual borrowers.

“Kiva and OPIC are both committed to improving lives. Kiva’s partnership with OPIC has helped us establish a new model for addressing poverty and empowering individuals around the world,” said Premal Shah, Kiva’s President & Co-Founder. “The effectiveness of the partnership illustrates that institutional development finance can mobilize more resources toward the challenges our platform addresses.”

“We saw a great opportunity to work with two trusted partners to test this innovative model for Kiva,” said Skoll Foundation Principal Tim Carlberg. “A strategic injection of grant capital from Skoll allowed Kiva to attract institutional investment and to build on their expertise in direct loan delivery to micro and small entrepreneurs.”


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Circulate Capital Announces US$90 Million in Expected Funding To Combat Ocean Plastic

PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company Intend to Join Forces To Incubate and Invest in Solutions in South and Southeast Asia

Press Release – New York City and Singapore, October 25, 2018Circulate Capital, the investment management firm dedicated to incubating and financing companies and infrastructure that prevent ocean plastic, today announced that it expects to receive US$90 million in funding for its strategy to combat ocean plastic from several of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods and chemical companies, including PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), the first investor; Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), Dow (NYSE: DWDP), Danone (EPA: BN), Unilever (NYSE: UN) and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO). Circulate Capital anticipates formalizing definitive agreements with these parties by early 2019.

Circulate Capital, its expected founding investors, and the Ocean Conservancy, a leading nonprofit environmental advocacy organization working to protect the world’s ocean, will hold a joint event during the Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia on October 29, where they will provide an overview of Circulate Capital’s unique investment model, which is designed to create the lasting systems change needed to address the ocean plastic crisis.

Circulate Capital’s mission is to demonstrate the investibility of the waste management and recycling sectors to attract the billions of dollars of institutional investment capital that are needed to scale integrated recycling and waste management companies and infrastructure across South and Southeast Asia, regions identified as contributing disproportionately to ocean plastic pollution primarily because they lack the critical waste infrastructure to manage the problem. Circulate Capital’s investment model seeks to mobilize institutional investment capital through financial structures that blend concessionary and philanthropic funds with market rate investment capital with a view to mitigating risk and demonstrating that investment in the resource recovery sector can ultimately provide attractive financial returns.

“We seek to catalyze systems change by removing capital as a barrier to critical waste and recycling infrastructure development, and today’s funding announcement is a huge step towards achieving this goal,” said Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital. “Institutional investors are unwilling to allocate to this sector because of a ’missing middle‘ — proven entities that demonstrate a track record of profitability and offer a robust pipeline of investment prospects. By partnering with the world’s leading corporations, many of which are direct competitors, we can leverage their patient capital and technical know-how to build on-ramps for institutional capital at scale over the longer-term.”

“PepsiCo wants to help create, reimagine and realign the entire ecosystem that generates and remediates ocean plastic pollution,” said Dr. Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer. “We joined Circulate Capital as the very first funder because we share their inspired vision to develop a circular economy in which we can take old plastics and turn them into a new, reusable resource for future materials. It’s what consumers want, it’s the right thing to do for our planet and oceans, and it’s good for business.”

“P&G remains committed to doing our part to help stop the flow of plastic to the ocean and we know it will take partnerships and collaboration to make meaningful progress. We’re proud to join our fellow investors and the Circulate Capital team in working together to generate the innovation and investment needed to solve this critical global issue,” said Procter & Gamble Vice President of Global Sustainability, Virginie Helias.

“Circulate Capital’s initiative is important because it empowers local people in the regions most impacted by waste to develop actionable and scalable solutions within their communities,” said Diego Donoso, business president of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “There are many people with both the ideas and the resolve to tackle this waste challenge and Dow is proud to help provide the capital to make those ideas into solutions.”

“While we are working hard to ensure our packaging is designed to be circular, the reality is that it cannot be reused, recycled or composted without effective waste management systems in place,” said Katharina Stenholm, Chief of Cycles and Procurement Officer of Danone. “Financing is often a barrier for proper waste management infrastructure implementation, especially in countries where formal systems are absent or in development. Investing in Circulate Capital would perfectly fit our roadmap and would support our vision towards a fully circular system where our packaging is safely reused, recycled or composted and never becomes waste or pollution.”

“We’re proud to be taking a leading role in tackling packaging waste, but we can’t do this alone. Moving away from a linear ‘take-make-dispose’ model of consumption to one that is circular by design will require new business models, investment in innovation and the development of infrastructure,” said David Blanchard, Unilever’s Chief R&D Officer. “This collaboration with Circulate Capital and other partners is an important step in unlocking the investment required to accelerate and scale up meaningful solutions to prevent plastic waste.”

“At Coca-Cola, we believe that every package has a value and a life beyond its first use, which is why we are fundamentally reshaping our approach to packaging with a bold, ambitious goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030,” said Bea Perez, Coca-Cola SVP, Chief Communications, Public Affairs, Sustainability and Marketing Assets Officer. “Working with other partners and organizations, our global World Without Waste program aims to help create and implement effective collection and recycling infrastructures, so that empty bottles can have another life. Investing in Circulate Capital brings us all closer to the change needed to make plastic pollution a thing of the past. We believe it’s the right thing to do for our planet and our communities.”

“Ocean Conservancy has been tracking marine debris for more than three decades through our annual International Coastal Cleanup, and we have seen firsthand how plastic has made its way to the top of the list of materials polluting our beaches and waterways,” said Chever Voltmer, Plastics Initiative Director at Ocean Conservancy. “With an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year we need all hands on deck to solve this problem, including the private sector. That’s why we were so eager to work with Circulate Capital and corporate partners last year to launch an investment firm that would invest in much-needed waste management solutions; and we are so proud to join them in making this funding announcement.”

Circulate Capital’s strategy to prevent future ocean plastic reflects a uniquely comprehensive approach that goes beyond providing investment capital to entrepreneurs. Through The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital and SecondMuse, announced on September 20, 2018 at the G7 Oceans Partnership Summit in Halifax, Canada, Circulate Capital is also using philanthropic and public funds and technical assistance to support and develop public and nonprofit entities to implement new approaches and build capacity that can support large institutional capital commitments.

Kaplan added: “Circulate Capital’s innovative strategy addresses the critical gaps in capital needed – including investment, philanthropic and human capital – to create an ecosystem of innovation, investment, entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships to solve the problem. The model relies on partnering with local innovators who are implementing solutions on the ground in source communities, and on incentivizing a new generation of social entrepreneurs to build a fresh pipeline of potential projects.”

Our Ocean Conference Event Details

Circulate Capital and the Ocean Conservancy plan to host a side event at the Our Ocean Conference on October 29th, ‘Ocean Plastics: The Role of Catalytic Capital’ at 12:30pm. Rob Kaplan of Circulate Capital and Susan Ruffo, Managing Director, International Initiatives for the Ocean Conservancy, will discuss the importance of catalytic capital in solving the ocean plastic crisis. Expected founding investors including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company are planning to attend. Mr. Kaplan will also be joined by representatives from the Indonesian government and an Indonesian waste-management entrepreneur, as well as principals from SecondMuse and McKinsey.org, which are partners in the recently launched The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital and SecondMuse, a new initiative to accelerate solutions to ocean plastic waste by partnering with existing incubators to build ecosystems of waste management and recycling innovators.

About Circulate Capital

Circulate Capital is an investment management firm dedicated to incubating and financing companies and infrastructure that prevent ocean plastic. We focus on the prevention of mismanaged plastic waste in countries located in South Asia and Southeast Asia, regions that contribute disproportionately to ocean plastic pollution primarily because they often lack the critical waste infrastructure to manage the problem. We were created in collaboration with Closed Loop Partners and Ocean Conservancy, and our founding investors are expected to include PepsiCo, the first investor; Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company. We are also supported by many other leading consumer product goods and chemical companies, intergovernmental organizations and associations including 3M, American Chemistry Council, Kimberly-Clark, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and the World Plastics Council.

About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. www.oceanconservancy.org


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13-Year-Old’s Candy Company Grabs Amazon’s #1 Spot Heading Into Halloween

Female’s Clean Teeth Candy Also Partnered with KROGER on Special Halloween Packaging in Store

Press Release – Walled Lake, Mich., October 24, 2018 – The 13-year-old female inventor of Zolli® Candy, The Clean Teeth Candy, saw her candy company surge to #1 on Amazon as the top seller of both sugar and sugar-free Suckers & Lollipops exactly one week before Halloween. Experts might suggest only a kid could make sugar-free the top seller during the busiest candy buying month of the year.

“Last year we were were #1 for sugar free lollipops on Amazon and this year we are #1 for both sugar and sugar free-absolutely incredible,” said Alina Morse, the company’s founder. “This might be surprising to most people but not to me. I just gave a TED Talk about this. Consumers are realizing there is way too much sugar in their diets but we still want to have treats. And with Zolli Candy, we are giving consumer what they want: guilt-free treats.”

The eighth grader is outselling major brands on Amazon including: YumEarth, Tootsie, Dum Dums, and Blow Pop. In 2017, Morse claimed the top spot for sugar free on Amazon but 2018 appears to be her record breaking year, securing the #1 sales position for both categories. Data from IRI Worldwide shows that over 80% of the candy category growth is from outside of the four largest manufactures (Mars, Mondelez, Grupo Bimbo and Nestle), and instead is coming from small and midsize companies like that of Morse’s. The reasoning shows that the category is starting to evolve, following the gum/mints category which is dominated by sugar-free, functional products. Morse’s Zolli Candy is on the forefront of a category providing growth for retailers, and healthier options for consumers.

Morse is also no slouch at brick-and-mortar. This Halloween, she partnered with Kroger®, America’s largest food retail chain, as part of the retailer’s Halloween candy popup display for the month of October. Kroger, which counts Morse as their youngest supplier, is selling her 25ct special limited edition Halloween-branded Zollipops® and Zaffi® Taffy products in a standalone POS display in the chain’s 2,769 stores.

In addition to Amazon and Kroger, Morse’s line is also sold at other major chains like Walmart, Whole Foods, and has expanded internationally after launching in 2015 when she was merely nine years old. Zolli Candy is a woman-owned and cause-based, giving away 1-MM this year alone through the “One Million Smiles” campaign, helping to fight America’s most chronic childhood disease – tooth decay.

In Sept., she delivered a TED Talk, “Why I eat candy to avoid Cavities,” and was the youngest person ever on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine (Sept. 2018): “Young Millionaires – Meet the next Generation of Leaders“. Media reports say she will clear $6 million at retail by Christmas.

To say Morse is changing minds and candy eating patters in advance of Halloween in an even bigger way this year, would be an understatement. To learn more about the healthy, after-you-eat-treat®, visit: http://ZolliCandy.com.


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ImpactAssets Builds Out Executive Leadership Team; Adds Trilli as Seasoned President and Chief Investment Officer, Promotes Freundlich to CEO

Margret Trilli brings strategic and executive leadership to extend organizational excellence and drive continued growth toward a multi-billion-dollar impact investing platform; founder Tim Freundlich promoted to Chief Executive Officer to lead business innovation and field-building; Gabe DiClerico named CFO to elevate finance administration capability.

Press Release – BETHESDA, MD October 24, 2018ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns, today announced the addition of Margret Trilli to its executive leadership team as President and Chief Investment Officer, effective immediately. In this role, Margret will apply her deep investment and business building experience, and passion for impact investing, to drive extensive and sustainable growth at ImpactAssets. Founder Tim Freundlich has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer and will spearhead critical initiatives to keep ImpactAssets on the leading edge of impact investing.

“We started ImpactAssets in 2010 as a catalyst for increasing flows of capital to the world’s greatest challenges,” said Freundlich. “Today, as we approach $500 million in donor advised funds and impact investments, our organization has matured and grown. Margret’s strategic leadership and investment experience will enable ImpactAssets to scale up and enhance our leading-edge impact investment offerings for individuals, advisors, corporations and other partners.”

Margret Trilli’s 25-year career includes executive leadership, investment and operating roles for large and small companies, including Barclays Global Investors/Blackrock and Charles Schwab. Her experience spans investment management, product management, strategy and planning, reengineering, turnarounds and business building.

She founded Intentional Capital, a boutique private equity firm serving custom direct investments to a select group of family offices, many of whom have fully developed impact investing strategies. Margret also serves on the boards and investment committees of three family offices. She graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business and holds a degree in Economics from University of California Santa Barbara.

Trilli, along with the senior team and board of ImpactAssets, will lead the expansion of the organization’s five-year strategy and focus on product and business development for the next phase of growth. The addition of the President role will allow Freundlich to focus on innovation for corporations, ultra-high net worth families, and other institutional partners.

“I am excited to join Tim and the amazing team at ImpactAssets as we build on the impressive foundation and enter a new phase of growth,” said Trilli. “ImpactAssets is so much more than a donor advised fund; it’s a massive impact investing platform positioned to catalyze billions toward great social impact. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of that!”

In addition, ImpactAssets announced the recent promotion of Gabe DiClerico to Chief Financial Officer. With over 15 years’ experience in impact investing, DiClerico has helped set up and implement organizational strategy, as well as financial and administrative processes since the inception of ImpactAssets.

“This is a coming of age moment for ImpactAssets – and also reflects the maturation of the greater impact investing story,” said Board Chair Charly Kleissner. “Our opportunity as an organization is so great – and the need for us to continue to lead still so critical – that this bolstering of executive leadership ensures ImpactAssets will remain at the forefront of an exciting and necessary transformation of the financial system.”

About ImpactAssets

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor advised fund (“The Giving Fund”) and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists, other asset owners and their wealth advisors advance social or environmental change through impact investment and philanthropy. The Giving Fund currently has nearly $500M in assets from more than 1,100 donor advised funds, working with 300 wealth advisors across 50 financial services firms.


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Wahed Raises $8MM In Series A Funding to Accelerate International Expansion

The world’s first Shariah-compliant Robo Advisor raises more than $8m in funding at a $100mm valuation to accelerate expansion into global markets

Press Release – New York, USA, October 24, 2018Wahed Invest (“Wahed”), a New York headquartered Robo Advisor, has raised an additional $8mm this year, at a $100mm valuation, to accelerate development of a global savings and investing solution. The digital investment company received this funding from existing investors including Boston-based Cue Ball Capital, and BECO Capital, a Middle Eastern VC. This brings its total funding to over $15 million since 2015.

Wahed revolutionized the industry with the first-ever halal digital investment advisor, allowing savers from all income brackets to invest in a globally diversified portfolio of ethically responsible stocks, Sukuk (Islamic bonds) and gold with as little as $100. Wahed became the largest Islamic Investment Advisor in the USA, by number of clients, in just one year after launch.

According to Founder and CEO Junaid Wahedna, “After our traction in the US and UK, we are actively looking to expand internationally to offer our product to the world. Wahed aspires to lead innovation in the growing Islamic Finance sector and provide a non-lending based savings solution to Muslims worldwide”

The platform will offer an efficient solution to the millions of practising Muslims who do not wish to custody their money with traditional banks. Currently, existing Islamic banks still function as lending institutions by using Shariah compliant lending structures. Wahedna said, “Our survey results show that 84% of respondents do not trust existing Islamic Banks as being truly Islamic. We want to offer a pure investment based savings solution that never touches on any lending components”.

Amir Farha, Managing Partner at BECO Capital said, “Junaid and his team at Wahed have continued to execute and build the global coverage of their offering in an extraordinary manner, giving access to a significant market that needs this service. The company is fast outpacing traditional incumbents and driving innovation in a sector that lags behind. We are very bullish on the vision and strategy that Wahed is pursuing both globally and in the MENA region”

Addressable Market

There are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world with a very large portion entering into the middle class in need of a savings solution. Wahed recently launched in the UK. “Our UK product, which we launched in August, saw over 1,000 registered users in the first month, which was more than twice the rate of adoption that we saw in the US,” said ad Kobeissi, Head of Marketing. As a next priority, Wahed plans on launching in the GCC and ASEAN markets. Muslim consumers here are a largely young and rapidly growing demographic. Wahedna adds, “Our aim is to ensure that everyone around the world has access to a Shariah compliant savings and investment platform, and this funding brings us one step closer to that goal.”

In order to ensure all products are Halal and in accordance with Islamic principles, Wahed has a full-time Ethical Review Board. All securities undergo a rigorous screening process in which Wahed’s investment management partners and ethical scholars work together to tailor portfolios to provide attractive investment returns. This means the following are screened: excess debt, tobacco, alcohol, firearms, gambling, adult entertainment, impure foodstock and usurious institutions.

For more information about Wahed, please visit wahedinvest.com


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Students Invited to Take a Peek into the Future of Mobility

– Toyota and Discovery Education Hosts Virtual Field Trip on Cars of the Future: Artificial Intelligence and Automated Vehicles –

– Immersive Educational Experience to Explore STEM Concepts set for Oct. 30 –

Press Release – Plano, Texas and Silver Spring, Md. (Tuesday, October 23, 2018) – Rather than take a bus on a field trip, this October, Toyota and Discovery Education will bring the latest in automotive technology to students in their classrooms. Toyota Research Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan is opening its doors to middle and high school students nationwide through a free Virtual Field Trip. The live event, Cars of the Future: Artificial Intelligence and Automated Vehicles, will explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts through an in-class activity. Students will see how TRI is using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics to develop smarter automated vehicles. To assist teachers, an educator guide for the Virtual Field Trip is available for download.

“Toyota is working on cutting-edge AI research, and we are excited to show students how we are applying that to vehicle automation and robotics to ignite their passion in STEM,” said Ryan Eustice, senior vice president of Automated Driving, Toyota Research Institute.

Students will also get an insiders’ tour of the University of Michigan’s Mcity, the one of a kind urban test facility where industry, government and academia come together to improve transportation, safety, sustainability and accessibility for the benefit of society.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools in Ann Arbor, Michigan are one of hundreds of school districts across the U.S. expected to participate in the Virtual Field Trip.

“Students will be able to see how the curriculum and hands-on skills we practice daily are implemented into the technological world around them; specifically, in the real-world work at Toyota,” explains Tom Pachera, Ann Arbor Public Schools STEAM Coordinator.

The Virtual Field Trip is the part of Toyota’s TeenDrive365 initiative, which offers a range of content, tools and resources designed specifically for educators, teens and parents. Available at no cost to classrooms nationwide, these resources include: standards-aligned lesson plans for grades 9-12; activities that teach appropriate behaviors for young drivers and passengers.

“The TeenDrive365 ‘Cars of the Future’ Virtual Field Trip will unlock the potential of innovation in classrooms across the country and help students explore the progression of vehicles from present through far in the future,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Discovery Education.

Event Details:

What: Cars of the Future: Artificial Intelligence and Automated Vehicles

When: Oct. 30 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time

How: Register by clicking here or visit http://teendrive365inschool.com/educators/field-trip and download materials.

Viewers nationwide are encouraged to engage in the virtual premiere using #TD365VFT via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


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K4Connect Closes $12 Million Series B Round of Funding Led by AXA Venture Partners

Global venture fund backed by financial and insurance powerhouse AXA invests in senior living’s most advanced technology solutions company

Press Release – Raleigh, N.C. – (October 23, 2018)K4Connect, a mission-centered technology company that creates solutions that serve and empower older adults and individuals living with disabilities, announced today a $12 million Series B round of funding led by AXA Venture Partners. This latest round brings the funding total to over $22 million and will be used to further develop the Company’s K4Community solution and underlying Fusion platform/OS technologies. K4Connect will also use the proceeds to expand its customer base, which already includes over 13,000 residents across dozens of senior living communities from Florida to California, as well as to accelerate its partnerships across a spectrum of consumer and senior living-specific companies. The funding follows a year of record growth for K4Connect, which tripled its revenues and expanded its team by 40%.

K4Connect’s first product, K4Community, is specifically designed to serve the residents, staff and operators of senior living communities. Integrating the latest in smart home, smart wellness and smart living technologies into a single easy-to-use system, K4Community makes any senior living community a truly Smart Community. K4Community brings together a plethora of advanced device, application and service technologies, making them accessible through both touch and voice technologies. In addition to being a ground-breaking amenity for senior community residents, K4Community also provides community staff and operators with the tools and data to provide the best in care and hospitality, as well as drive a measurable ROI through operational efficiencies and lowered costs.

“We’re honored to have an organization such as AXA Venture Partners lead our latest round of funding. We have been extremely fortunate to have a set of investor advocates who not only wholly support our mission, but also bring significant strategic value,” said F. Scott Moody, Chief Member Advocate, Co-founder and CEO of K4Connect. “Very few companies understand the health and insurance markets, both nationally and globally, as well as AXA. Their support will allow us to not only grow in the United States, but expand internationally as well. We look forward to working with them to expand the market for our first product, K4Community, as well as other planned products.”

Core to K4Connect’s success is its patented Fusion platform/OS, a multi-modal software platform that acts as an enterprise-wide “operating system” that provides a secure and reliable edge-cloud hybrid architecture. Employing an open and modular design, Fusion allows for the integration of virtually any device (home or wellness), service or application into a single cohesive system. In addition to K4Community, future products that will take advantage of the Company’s Fusion technologies include K4Home, designed for older adults living in their own homes, and K4HomeCare, designed for care agencies.

“The health and well-being of the world’s aging population is a key focus for us,” said Manish Agarwal, a General Partner with AXA Venture Partners. “We’ve looked at a number of impressive technologies designed specifically for older adults over the years, yet K4Connect is the first company we’ve seen that can bring all these disparate technologies together into a single solution, not only for the senior living community operators, but also for the residents and their families. We’re excited about partnering with the K4Connect team, including all their prior investor advocates, to find new ways to bring the Company’s current and future solutions to the one billion people they hope to serve around the world.”

Joining AXA Venture Partners, the venture fund backed by the world’s second largest financial services company, are Intel Capital, Intel’s strategic investment organization, which led the Series A round, and Sierra Ventures, a premier Silicon Valley-based venture firm, which led K4Connect’s Seed Round of funding. Previous investors that also joined this round include: Stonehenge Growth Equity, Revolution Ventures’ Rise of the Rest Fund, Traverse Venture Partners, Better Ventures and RGAx, LLC, a subsidiary of Reinsurance Group of America.

Dr. Agarwal will join K4Connect’s board of directors, working alongside Dr. Ben Yu from Sierra Ventures, Dave Johnson from Intel Capital, Steve Lux from Stonehenge Growth Equity, Terri Novak, the former COO of Kisco Senior Living, and Scott Moody.

To learn more about K4Connect, please visit: www.k4connect.com.

About K4Connect

K4Connect is a mission-centered technology company creating connected-life solutions that serve and empower older adults and individuals living with disabilities, and those that support them. K4Connect’s products encourage simpler, healthier and happier lives by integrating the latest technologies, enabling more independent and healthier lives, while fostering social connection. The Company’s first product, K4Community, is specifically designed for the residents, staff and operators of senior living communities and currently serves thousands across the U.S. For more information, please visit www.k4connect.com.

About AXA Venture Partners

AXA Venture Partners (AVP) is a venture capital fund backed by AXA, the leading global insurer and asset manager. AVP manages $450 million, including $275 million direct investment fund and $175 million fund investment vehicle. AVP invests across stages in enterprise software, fintech, consumer technologies and digital health, as well as other technologies relevant to insurance and asset management. With offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong, AVP invests globally. More information can be found at www.axavp.com.

Source: https://www.k4connect.com/


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Fast-tracking a Zero Waste Economy: More Governments and Business Leaders Commit to Circular Economy Action

  • Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates join over 50 leaders committed to circular economy impact by joining the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE).
  • PACE is fast-tracking circular economy solutions to pressing environmental challenges, from electronic waste to plastic pollution
  • The announcement comes as a major circular economy summit gets underway hosted by the Government of Japan and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra – Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions is a key focus
  • Nearly 90 billion tonnes of materials were extracted globally in 2017, with only a fraction cycled back into the economy, resulting in pollution and wasting about $4.5 trillion in recoverable resources.

Press Release – Geneva and Tokyo, 22 October 2018 – Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates have committed to joining a major global initiative to redesign the global “take-make-dispose” economy into a more circular one. They join over 50 government and business leaders who are part of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), which was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos (see press conference here and the list of members here).

PACE includes the heads of some of the world’s largest companies such as Royal Philips and Unilever; senior representatives from the governments of Indonesia, Nigeria, the People’s Republic of China and Rwanda; and heads of organizations, including the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, World Resources Institute, Global Environment Facility, UN Environment and World Bank.

All are committed to efforts that cut waste and pollution and fast-tracking circular economy solutions in which products and materials are redesigned, recovered and reused to reduce environmental impacts. Extending the life of products creates new business opportunities and revenue streams, while minimizing the environmental impact of mining, resource extraction, refining and manufacture.

Japan’s commitment comes as the second World Circular Economy Forum – hosted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and Finnish innovation fund Sitra – gets underway in Yokohama, Japan.

Japan is one of the most resource-efficient economies globally, and has recently launched its 4th Fundamental Plan for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society a new public-private Plastics Smart campaign. The Netherlands government aims to achieve circularity by 2050 and halve the use of primary resources by 2030 and Denmark launched its Circular Economy Strategy and a related National Action Plan on Plastics. The UAE is committed to shaping strategic action to advance the circular economy.

To date, PACE, which is hosted and facilitated by the World Economic Forum, has catalysed major projects and collaborations to advance the circular economy, including the Global Plastics Action Partnership, which was launched in collaboration with the Friends of Ocean Action at the Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York. PACE is also focused on waste from electronics. In 2016, 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste was generated, equivalent to the weight of 4,500 Eiffel Towers. E-waste contains a number of toxic substances that can cause great harm to health. At the same time, the UN estimates that some 55 Billion Euro worth of secondary raw materials lays idle in e-waste.

Antonia Gawel, Head of the Circular Economy Initiative, World Economic Forum, said: “We have the knowledge, power and technologies to drive circular economy action. We just need to act more quickly and build partnerships to scale solutions. The Fourth Industrial Revolution offers great opportunities in this area – which is why PACE is excited to explore its potential with an expanding group of partners.”

Frans van Houten, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Philips, and PACE Co-Chair, said: “A circular economy is essential if we are to achieve global economic growth whilst stopping unsustainable resource consumption. Large corporations, SMEs and governments must collaborate to transform supply chains and the modern consumption economy. Philips is pleased to partner with private and public sector organizations through PACE enabling large-scale projects with firm commitments and decisive action.”

Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF), and PACE Co-Chair, said: “It is a real pleasure for me to welcome a growing network of governments to PACE. The world urgently needs to move to a more Circular Economy, and PACE is a strong platform that brings together a broad coalition of stakeholders to accelerate action.”

Yoshiaki Harada, Minster of Environment, Japan, said: “We all have a common view on realizing a circular economy on a global scale by networking and accumulating knowledge and experience of public and private entities around the world. The Ministry of the Environment of Japan has decided to participate in PACE, and share our knowledge and experience globally. As part of our contribution to PACE, we would like to provide information on excellent actions, experiences and technologies of Japan’s public and private entities registered in our “Plastics Smart” Campaign.”


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siggi’s Awards Grant to Winner of Siggi Supports Entrepreneurs Contest

Registered Dietitian Fallon Bader wins grant to launch pop-up nutrition and cooking classes on local farms

Press Release – New York, NY (October 22, 2018) – siggi’s, the maker of Icelandic yogurt with simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar, announced the winner of the annual Siggi Supports Entrepreneurs contest. Fallon Bader, RDN, LD, of Albuquerque, New Mexico will receive a $5,000 grant to help support her initiative, The Sprouting Kitchen – an innovative nutrition and cooking class pop-up on local farms.

The Siggi Supports Entrepreneurs contest started after the founder of siggi’s dairy, Siggi Hilmarsson, noticed the entrepreneurial spirit of many registered dietitians who follow their passions and help support accessible healthy eating habits in their communities.

“This contest is our way of giving back to a community whose goals align with those of our brand – helping people choose real foods without a lot of added sugar,” said Hilmarsson. “Each year we receive increasingly inspiring submissions and though it’s so difficult to select one, we at siggi’s are honored to help bring Fallon’s idea to life.”

Bader was motivated to start this program when she saw a need for engagement to encourage healthy eating. The program’s core objective is to help individuals create a deeper connection with their food to inspire healthy eating habits. The program involves meeting local farmers, harvesting what’s fresh, cooking a simple recipe and enjoying a meal as a group with nutrition education throughout the events.

“After my dietetic internship, I became a FoodCorps service member where I used school gardens to teach students about nutrition and cooking. This is where I realized being outside, planting seeds, and watching food grow was crucial in motivating kids to eat healthy foods,” said Bader. “I’m thrilled to be the winner of this year’s Siggi Supports Entrepreneurs program, and I’m looking forward to expanding The Sprouting Kitchen to more farms to get people outside where nourishing food is growing all around us.”

Now in its third year, the Siggi Supports Entrepreneurs contest generated a record-high number of submissions in 2018. With a 12 percent increase in contest entries, awareness continues to rise and gain momentum among entrepreneurial registered dietitians and nutritionists across the country. Each contest submission included an overview of the program idea, an estimated budget and a personal statement about why the contest resonated with the applicant.

As part of siggi’s ongoing commitment to dietitians and the health and wellness community, the company also launched its siggi’s sessions online education program in early 2018, offering opportunities for registered dietitians and nutritionists to secure continuing educational credits by viewing free educational webinars and attending in-person sessions. All of siggi’s sessions are made available on-demand in the siggi’s sessions portal, a dedicated resource that houses on-demand educational materials and free webinars on the latest research and hot topics facing the industry. For more information or to request access to siggi’s sessions, visit www.siggisdairy.com/sessions.

About siggi’s

siggi’s dairy began in 2004 when Siggi Hilmarsson felt homesick for a staple of his childhood diet, skyr, a thick, creamy, high-protein yogurt from his native Iceland. The yogurts he found on shelves in the U.S. were much too sweet and artificial tasting for his liking. His mother sent him a recipe, and with that, he began making skyr in his small New York City kitchen. Today, siggi’s dairy makes rather delicious yogurt products with simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar. True to Icelandic tradition, siggi’s products do not contain any artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors or colors, and they are made with milk from family farms that do not use growth hormones such as rBST. For more information about siggi’s Icelandic strained yogurts and to find store locations, visit www.siggis.com.


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Advisors See Increased Interest In Responsible Investing

ESG investing could drive new business for advisors

Press Release – BOSTON, October 22, 2018 – Responsible Investing continues to be a key area of focus for financial advisors according to the latest Eaton Vance Advisor Top-of-Mind Index (ATOMIX) survey of more than 600 advisors, with nearly eight out of 10 (79%) reporting they incorporate Responsible Investing into their practices. Of those, 44% said it is an important part of their practices, up from 31% in Q2 2018. Thirty-five percent reported increased interest from clients and 60% said Responsible Investing is an ongoing topic of discussion.

“Responsible Investing strategies allow advisors to take a more holistic approach to wealth management with their clients,” said Anthony Eames, director of responsible investing strategy at Calvert Research and Management. “As Responsible Investing gains in popularity, there’s increased dialogue between advisors and their clients.”

More than half (56%) of advisors said Responsible Investing is driving new business to their practices, yet only 35% classified themselves as “very well-informed” about Responsible Investing.

“We are working to bridge this information gap by offering advisors enhanced tools and educational programs,” said Mr. Eames. “Offering a full suite of Responsible Investing solutions can be a key differentiator for advisors trying to deepen and expand their client relationships.”

Research powers Responsible Investing

Advisors recognize the value of both qualitative and quantitative research behind Responsible Investing products. Eighty-seven percent said a robust research program is important to Environmental Social Governance (ESG) analysis, but 67% said it is difficult for investors to obtain measurable quantitative sustainability data from companies. Moreover, 54% admitted they don’t understand the connection between ESG performance and financial performance.

Jessica Milano, director of ESG research for Calvert Research and Management, argues there is a direct correlation between a company’s financial performance and its commitment to its customers, workers and the broader community it serves.

“Financial materiality is the key to effective, impactful ESG research,” said Ms. Milano. “Calvert’s proprietary research process leverages multiple data sources to capture and analyze ESG factors that drive company financial performance over the long term.

“Data show that firms that optimize their ESG practices tend to be rewarded for their efforts, along with their shareholders,” continued Ms. Milano.

Material and measurable results are also critical; 93% of advisors said demonstrating the impact of ESG investments is important to them and their clients. Taking an active role factors into Responsible Investing outcomes, with 82% of advisors stating it is important to engage with company leadership to drive positive business and ESG outcomes.

“It’s important to recognize that not all ESG strategies are created equal,” said Mr. Eames. “Our investment strategies follow the Four Pillars of Responsible Investing – performance, research, engagement and impact – which empower investors to seek competitive returns with portfolios that reflect their values and help drive measurable, positive change.”


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