We typically invest up to US$500,000 in young, growing companies as debt or equity. Though we fund all kinds of products and services, we are especially interested in:
- Disruptive technology and designs that drive economic and social advancement for the underserved.
- Models that prove the power of business to create both social and financial value.
- Companies and teams with the potential for scalable, catalytic impact.
- People who support our mission and can inspire others to transform the culture and ecosystem of startups.
You can be based anywhere, but we have the most to offer teams in Greater China or companies expanding to China.
Besides capital, we offer access to training, advisors, mentors, and a network of impact-focused investors, both in China and around the world. We’ve all been founders and have learned a lot through these experiences, so we can help you make your mistakes faster and more valuable. Success is a journey, not a destination.
One Earth Designs: design solutions for social, environmental, and fiscal longevity
Of the 3 billion people worldwide who rely on solid fuels for their domestic energy needs, nearly one third of them are in China. Burning solid fuels - often wood or coal - in poorly ventilated homes leads to indoor air pollution levels higher far in excess of accepted health standards. In addition to the health risks, women and girls often spend long hours every day collecting fuel.
Developed through direct collaboration with rural families, One Earth Design’s SolSource is a high-performance parabolic solar concentrator that harnesses the energy of the sun for outdoor cooking. One Earth Designs’ community partnerships are central to its company mission and solutions-oriented approach. They combine cutting-edge design and engineering processes with collaborative assessment and evaluation from the natural and social sciences. Their solutions aim to supply communities with the tools they need to shape short and long-term progress.
Vertige: environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing green roofs
Vertige China is the leading green roofing company in China and a pioneer in the field of green roofing technology. A green roof is simply a roof covered by a layer of vegetation (usually a variety of sedum). In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, such a roof provides numerous economic and environmental benefits, including decreasing heating and cooling costs, absorbing pollutants from the air, purifying the rain which passes through it, managing stormwater runoff, and greatly increasing the lifespan of the roof.
Micro Benefits: access to employee benefits for blue collar workers
China’s more than 300 million blue collar workers have an average salary of only approximately 2500 RMB (400 USD) per month. Inflation and a high cost of living mean that they are constantly in search of marginally better paying jobs, giving them a highly transient lifestyle. For employers, this results in average monthly turnover rates of more than 14%. With pressures to maximize the bottom line, employers struggle to provide competitive salaries and benefits that effectively increase employee retention and satisfaction. Skilled labor shortages further compound the effect of high turnover rates, resulting in high annual recruitment costs.
Micro Benefits seeks to improve the life quality of the highly mobile blue collar population and to alleviate the turnover pressures facing employers through a flexible employee benefits platform. They provide low income workers access to financial services, discounts for life necessities, and training programs. Using Micro Benefit’s wage deduction software, banks are able to offer low-risk but meaningful loans to blue collar workers.
Micro Benefits combines the purchasing power of the hundreds of thousands of blue collar workers and negotiates with service partners, including banks, insurance companies, merchants, and training facilities, on their behalf to offer previously unavailable products and service through their employers.
Demyst: using data to expand access to financial services
At least 20% of good applicants for financial services are misclassified due to sparse data, especially for youthful and emerging market segments. This represents a missed opportunity for both financial institutions to access new customers and potential customers to access financial services.
Through real-time consumer data aggregation and analytics, Demyst removes information asymmetries and helps qualified applicants access financial services while helping institutions grow and manage risks.
Epibone: Revolutionizing bone transplants with breakthrough cell technology
EpiBone is a revolutionary bone reconstruction company that allows patients to "grow their own bone", doing away with the complications of foreign body implantation. Their pioneering technology utilizes a scan of the patient’s bone defect and the patient’s own stem cells to construct and cultivate a defect-specific autologous-like bone graft. EpiBone is strategically positioned to provide a superior bone graft that will provide exact defect repair, a simplified surgical procedure, improved bone formation and regeneration, and shorter recovery times.
Lightsail: Developing breakthrough, high efficiency energy storage systems
Compressing air creates heat energy; until now, this source of energy was wasted. LightSail believes that a low-cost grid-scale energy storage solution holds the key to unlocking the true potential of increasingly competitive renewable energies, optimizing power grids, democratizing access to energy, and helping to make the world a safer and better place for future generations.
Lumni: flexible financing for students
Lumni brings together students and investors in a win-win partnership. Each student commits to pay a fixed percentage of income for 120 months after graduation, regardless of the sum paid to date. Under this design, students face little risk of overly burdensome debt payments, providing peace of mind for the debt-averse populations that are most in need of funding. The model allows individuals and institutions to invest in their community’s most valuable asset: the future of its youth. In exchange, students receive the flexible source of financing they need to complete their education and pursue their dreams. Lumni has financed nearly 2,000 students to date, nearly all from low or very low-income backgrounds where funding recipients are the first family members to attend college.
Ligandal: Realizing the full potential of gene-editing techniques
Ligandal has developed a first-in-class nanotechnology for the precise and high-efficiency delivery of nucleic acids (CRISPR, TALEN, and RNA) to specific cells and organelles without the limitations of viruses, enabling a new standard for genetic medicine. Permanent gene therapy using viruses cannot be repeatedly administered without the immune system clearing and responding to a virus, and many viral gene therapies carry oncogenic risks. Ligandal's non-viral technology circumvents these issues. Ligandal attains extremely high efficiencies with site-specific "remove-and-replace" and "insertion" mutations, including in the most difficult to transfect cell types.
Velo Labs: Developing smart electric bicycles to solve the urban transportation problems
Velo Labs is the developer of Skylock, the next generation of bike security and bike share network. With Skylock, you can unlock your bike with your smartphone, get an alert if someone is trying to steal your bike, send a text to your family if you're in an accident, and even share your bike with your trusted network.