We are thrilled to announce that Better Ventures Fund II portfolio company UtilityAPI has been selected to receive a $760,000 grant from the US Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative. The program, which was designed to address the challenges to ubiquitous, affordable solar energy deployment, is highly competitive with hundreds of companies applying for a small number of funding slots. The capital will be used by UtilityAPI to build more data connections to utilities and further expand the geographical footprint of the company's API service. With the Paris climate talks in full swing, a big emphasis is on technologies such as UtilityAPI to drive adoption of renewable energy and ween our planet from fossil fuels.Read More
Each month, Better Ventures convenes top leaders in impact investing and entrepreneurship for a fireside chat, networking, and workshops geared towards early-stage companies. We held a PreSeed fireside chat with powerhouse social impact investor Nancy Pfund on October 29. The house was packed and Nancy delivered the goods.
Nancy is without a doubt one of the leading impact investors of our day, with blockbuster successes including Tesla, Solar City, Pandora, Revolution Foods and more. And she's an inspiration to entrepreneurs and investors alike, demonstrating every day that you can make money and do good on a very large scale.
It was a wide-ranging conversation covering her background, her portfolio, Oakland, gender and diversity in the technology industry, and where she's focusing the firm's new $400 million venture fund. Here are some of our favorite moments:Read More
We are delighted to announce our seed investment in K4Connect, a technology integration company that makes life simpler and healthier for seniors. K4's software platform seamlessly integrates disparate smart devices into a single responsive system, which transforms senior living facilities into smart homes. This automation technology not only makes life better for seniors but also provides valuable and actionable data to caregivers to improve the quality of care. Better Ventures Fund II participated in K4's $1.9 million Series Seed round, which included Sierra Ventures, Lowe's Companies, and Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners. We are excited to be working with Sierra Ventures again, which led LeadGenius' Series A round last year.Read More
Each month, Better Ventures convenes top leaders in impact investing and entrepreneurship for a fireside chat, networking, and workshops geared towards early-stage companies.
For our inaugural event, we couldn't have asked for a better guest speaker. Xavier Helgesen is the founder and CEO of solar-as-a-service startup Off Grid Electric, which has raised over $23M to bring clean energy to people throughout Africa, as well as the founder of Better World Books, an online used bookstore with over $70M in annual revenue. Along with his deep commitment to making the world a better place with scalable business models, his charming personality and great stories quickly won over the crowd.
A few key themes and highlights from the evening:Read More
We are thrilled to announce that Better Ventures Fund II has been approved for investment by ImpactAssets' Giving Fund, a donor advised fund with over $200 million of assets under management. ImpactAssets (IA) is a leading financial services firm dedicated to increasing the flow of capital into investments that deliver financial, social, and environmental returns. Through the Giving Fund’s Global Impact Ventures platform, clients have unique access to high-quality, vetted private equity and debt funds that are pursuing both financial returns and positive impact. Better Ventures has also been selected to join the IA50, an annual list of the leading impact investment firms across the globe. The bar is high for inclusion on both the Global Impact Ventures platform and the IA50, and we are honored to be among a short list of funds to make the cut.Read More
We are thrilled about the news that Better Ventures portfolio company Eko Devices has secured FDA approval to launch Eko Core, a Bluetooth enabled device that connects to a conventional stethoscope and wirelessly transmits heard sounds to a smartphone app (aka "Shazam for Heartbeats"). Eko Core has the potential to dramatically improve cardiac care by enabling clinicians to view heart sound waveform, save heart sounds to a patient's electronic medical record, and securely collaborate with a cardiologist. This both improves health outcomes by better identifying heart abnormalities and saves healthcare costs by reducing the number of unnecessary visits to cardiologists. Stanford University Department of Medicine will be the first institution to deploy the Eko Core, which is now available for purchase to millions of clinicians around the US.
We’re thrilled to announce a commitment of $1 million to back pre-seed stage technology companies based in Oakland and Berkeley that are pursing social and environmental outcomes. Through our Better Ventures PreSeed program and backed by our recently launched second fund, we will invest $100,000 in 10 pre-seed stage startups, with an emphasis on companies based in Oakland, CA and those started by UC Berkeley founders. PreSeed convenes thought leaders, networking, and resources to advance a thriving impact startup ecosystem in Oakland. Our next event is a fireside chat with serial impact entrepreneur Xavier Helgesen (founder of Off-Grid Electric and Better World Books) on September 29th at ImpactHub Oakland.Read More
We are pleased to announce our seed investment in BrightCurrent, a leading customer acquisition platform for residential solar and other clean energy solutions. The Oakland, CA-based company combines proprietary technology with a scalable fulfillment service to acquire residential customers below market rates at major retailers including Costco, Sears, Orchard Supply & Hardware, Ace and others. They originate solar sales, which are then sold to their customer base of top solar installation and finance partners such as SunRun, SunPower, and OneRoof Energy.
We are thrilled to announce that Better Ventures Fund I portfolio company Eko Devices has raised a $2 million Series Seed round led by Founder.org. Stanford University's StartX Fund, former Health and Human Services adviser John Noonan, and the co-founders of music analytics company Shazam also participated in the round. This fresh round of capital will be used to fuel Eko’s clinical trials with the University of California San Francisco, achieve FDA clearance, and launch commercially. Eko Devices’ product (aka "Shazam for Heartbeats”) is a Bluetooth-powered attachment to an analog stethoscope that enables heart sounds to be recorded on a smartphone or tablet and analyzed in the cloud by specialists and a murmur detection algorithm.Read More
We are excited to announce that Better Ventures Fund I company UClass has been acquired by Renaissance Learning, a K-12 assessment and learning analytics company, which has a valuation of over $1 billion. The deal was officially announced last Thursday and covered by several media outlets including TechCruch. This is a big win for the UClass team, as they'll be joining forces with a formidable edtech industry giant that is backed by Hellman & Friedman and Google Capital and whose services are used by a third of UhS schools. The combined platform will now enable teachers to assess how students are doing and then quickly match them to resources in the UClass library, where content is tagged for compliance with Common Core standards. Currently UClass is used by hundreds of thousands of teachers and students in more than 5,000 schools with over 16 million pieces of learning content.Read More
We are thrilled to announce our seed investment in UtilityAPI, an enterprise software company that is accelerating the worldwide shift to renewable energy by making it easier and more cost effective to switch to solar. The company's API portal service enables solar companies to seamlessly connect to prospective customers' utility accounts and instantly download structured data that is used to better qualify leads and improve the likelihood of a sale. Accessing historic usage and billing data from utilities is a major customer acquisition pain point for solar companies, resulting in as much as a 30% loss in lead conversion.Read More
We are pleased to announce our seed investment in Augary, a company that saves lives by using computer vision and artificial intelligence to help fleets drive more safely while capturing valuable visual information about the world. The company's software uses smart phone cameras to help drivers detect common driving hazards including following distance, inadvertent lane changing, and exceeding posted speed limits. Vision-based safety is an effective way to detect risky driving behaviors and help prevent motor vehicle accidents, which cause 1.3M fatalities around the world each year.Read More
We welcome a world-class group of investors into our second fund, including Brad Feld (Foundry Group), Tina Ju (Kleiner Perkins China), Arno Harris (Recurrent Energy), John McAteer (Google), Charly and Lisa Kleissner (KL Felicitas), Jason Seats (TechStars), Libby Cook (Wild Oats), Abacus Wealth Partners, and many others.Read More
We are excited to report that Better Ventures portfolio company NBD Nano has closed a $5.2M Series A round of financing led by Phoenix Venture Partners, a leading venture firm in advanced materials innovations. Supply Chain Ventures and previous angel investors also participated in the round.Read More
Hub Ventures is hosting a Technology for Good Startup Weekend from 12/7-12/9 that will bring together startup enthusiasts for 54 hours to build technology solutions for big social and environmental challenges. The top teams will be fast tracked to the finalist round for the Spring 2013 cohort of Hub Ventures and will receive valuable perks including Facebook Ads credits. If you’re a tech for good entrepreneur looking for co-founders or want to join an existing startup team, this is the event for you!Read More
Eko Devices believes in one thing: we believe in harnessing the power of computer assisted diagnosis for healthcare. We believe that smartphones that can utilize the enormous potential of big data and cloud technologies can reduce the costs of healthcare and improve the outcomes of patients. We have developed a smartphone app and hardware component that help doctors diagnose hard-to-hear heart conditions using a standard stethoscope. Our technology can allow doctors around the world from the outback in Australia to the jungles in Indonesia the ability to better diagnose these conditions.Read More
We’ve got just 2 weeks to go in the program! This week, hear from Zach Warder-Gabaldon from AgGrow.
The global population will reach nine billion people by 2040. Industrial agriculture depletes soil for future use, introduces synthetic chemicals into food and water supplies, and with 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions, is the single largest contributor to climate change.Read More