📣 Fun(d) News - Q1
From Founder of the year to the future of energy

Just last month, we welcomed our 12th investment CanopyLAB into the Design to Improve Life Fund 1 portfolio. They joined a crew of diverse, impact-driven companies who continue to develop, grow and expand their solutions to improve life all around the world. We’re thrilled to share their achievements and recognition, and so once again, we’re bringing you some fun(d) news.

January was a big month for the farmtech Agribuddy. The company’s Founder Kengo Kitaura won Founder of the Year 2020 at the Global Startup Awards, the world’s largest independent startup ecosystem competition. “We were majorly able to advance towards our mission to improve economic condition and quality of life of farmers in these past 4 years,” said Kitaura after the win. “This award motivates us a lot and enhances our confidence to continue going further and further and expand our services across the globe.” Learn more about Kitaura and Agribuddy in this Q&A, we did last year.

In the last 3 months, what3words have continued to secure partnerships to expand their solution: Delivery services Royal Mail and Addison Lee, micro-mobility firm Lime, car manufacturer Tata Motors and consultancy firm Hitachi Solutions have jumped onboard the revolutionary idea of three-word addresses. To top it off, the company was also featured in the Financial Times.

And what3words wasn’t the only portfolio company gaining significant press over the winter. The story of Destácame’s alternative credit platform for citizens in Chile and Mexico was told on Accion, the non-profit committed to making the financial world inclusive. Weather forecasting solution Ignitia was mentioned in a Guardian article on the potential of agritech, and Ananas Anam, the company behind Piñatex, is part of The Global Market for Natural Fibers 2020-2030, which is now available at researchandmarket.com.

Two of our portfolio companies have seen their product gain more attention and even expand during the pandemic: Zipline and Ava. Zipline is asserting its role in the global vaccine program. In February, the company signed a deal with Nigeria’s Kaduna state and partnered with a Covid-19 vaccine supplier to ensure vaccine deliveries to remote areas. “These communities face great challenges. We can help health systems bypass infrastructure and supply chain challenges through instant delivery,” said CEO Keller Rinaudo in a press release.

In December, Ava’s work was covered in both Forbes and TechCrunch along with the announcement of a successful €3.7M seed round led by Initialized Capital and Khosla Ventures. With the money, Ava is hoping to double the size of their team, start marketing more and secure big customers. In the same month, they launched three new products: Closed Captions, Ava Scribe and unlimited captions for their free plan.

Lastly, the future’s looking bright for Seaborg Technologies. The nuclear energy company hit an important milestone when they got approved by the American Bureau of Shipping to go ahead with the development of their molten salt reactor and thereby future nuclear ships. This is an important step towards Seaborg’s goal to launch their first commercial “energyship” in 2025, which CTO Ask Løvenschall-Jensen talks about in one of our recent podcast episodes.