Innovative funding to scale
At Autodesk Foundation, one of our focus areas is to back technology-based solutions that increase Health and Resilience in low-resource, climate-vulnerable regions. In this part of our portfolio, we look for organizations that can demonstrate impact in the three domains of our Health and Resilience thesis: environmental protection, community health, and economic advancement.
Since 2017, the Autodesk Foundation has invested in Factor[e], a venture builder and impact investing firm that has invested in 23 high-impact technology companies to date in Africa and India. Think innovations such as e-motorbikes for urban Africa, bioenergy generation from wastewater, off-grid cold storage for the Global South. These innovative products and services provide resilient and economically viable ways to power and improve the lives of low- and middle-income communities and serve untapped markets.
As part of its incubation model, Factor[e] provides its portfolio companies with in-house product development to facilitate product and system design, development, and manufacturing while reducing costs, helping them scale faster with less risk and greater impact. Our innovative collaboration model has centered around investing in-house technical and design expertise at Factor[e], which rippled across its expanding portfolio. Together, the Autodesk Foundation and Factor[e] bring the power of Autodesk tools and expertise to nascent startups working in emerging markets that would otherwise have difficulty accessing such resources. Through our collaboration, 10 Factor[e] portfolio companies have used Autodesk software to design impact innovations serving individuals in India, Latin America, and Africa. This model has yielded more effective research and development, faster prototyping, and product development iterations that yield improved solutions for last-mile markets.
Factor[e]’s Venture Studio
We are proud to announce that we are expanding the Autodesk Foundation and Factor[e] relationship with a $1 million two-year grant to support Factor[e]’s launch of its new Venture Studio based in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission of the Venture Studio is to build high-impact energy, agriculture, water, and mobility ventures that address Sub-Saharan Africa’s greatest income inequality and climate challenges. The Venture Studio will work with entrepreneurial African and female co-founders who understand their customers and will house and integrate all tech incubation and startup support activities in Nairobi.
We envision that our capital and in-kind support will continue to catalyze Factor[e]’s incubation and post-investment capacity to advance local entrepreneurs and their innovations serving the world’s fastest-growing markets.