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Climate tech Startup Bio-Logical raises $1m Seed round: Kenya’s Agricultural Sector to Get a Boost from Bio-Logicals Landmark Biochar Carbon Removal Facility



Climate tech

Climate tech company Bio-Logical has raised a $1m seed round to scale up its operations in Kenya, facilitating its mission to build climate resilient communities of smallholder farmers around the world.

Smallholder farmers are facing a dire outlook with faltering harvests, increasingly extreme weather and skyrocketing fertiliser prices becoming increasingly common due to climate change. Bio-Logical addresses this challenge through a circular economy, transforming waste into biochar, a super material that sequesters carbon for millenia and regenerates degraded soil. Their biochar is then incorporated into an organic fertiliser which is distributed to smallholder farmers in the region, regenerating land, increasing crop drought resistance and boosting yields by over 50%.

“Bio-Logical was founded on the belief that Smallholder farmers should not suffer at the hands of a climate crisis they have played no part in. At present, soil degradation and changing weather patterns due to climate change is directly threatening the livelihoods of 500 million smallholder farmers around the world.” Rory Buckworth, Co-Founder

Utilising its innovative technology, Bio-Logical’s first site will be the largest biochar production facility in Africa. It will transform over 30,000 tonnes of agricultural waste a year into biochar, sequestering 25,000 tonnes of CO2. This process will generate carbon credits, the revenue from which will be used to subsidise its resilience building fertiliser for smallholder farmers, boosting yields and reducing fertiliser costs.

We believe carbon credits should do more than simply remove carbon from the atmosphere and instead should be used to build the resilience of climate vulnerable communities” Philip Hunter, Co-Founder

The funding round is led by the Steyn Group alongside Angel Investors Rob Konterman, Luke Calcott-Stevens and Jochem Wieringa. The round will go towards the development of Bio-Logical’s first Kenya site which will pave the way for its expansion throughout the region that will see the company scale to support 1 million smallholders and sequester 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030.


According to setscale, More than 50% of US Small Businesses are Unaware of Federal Government Contracts, Losing $84 Billion a Year in Valuable Deals



Setscale, a purchase order financing company, reports on small business financing, highlighting the lack of access to US government contracts

Setscale, the purchase order financing company, released today its first-ever report on US small business financing. The report surveyed US small business owners to better understand some of the financial barriers to small business ownership, including their awareness of federal government contracts for small businesses.

69% of US small businesses struggle with cash flow, preventing them from meeting the demand of government contracts.

More than half (52%) of all surveyed small business owners revealed that they aren’t aware of the specific contracts the US federal government awards to small businesses each year, missing out on approximately $84 billion* per year.

Government contracts are well-valued and often serve as a gateway to a steady source of income and small business growth. More than 70% (71%) of surveyed US small businesses say that they’re aware of lucrative and reliable government contracts, but more than half (52%) say they don’t know what specific contracts are available to them. And over a quarter of US small businesses (29%) are completely unaware that the federal government awards contracts to small businesses.

This report highlights that the federal government is investing in small businesses in record-high amounts, but business owners are still struggling to fill open government purchase orders. Almost 70% (69%) of US small businesses struggle with cash flow and working capital, preventing them from meeting the demand of a government contract. Many businesses pursue lines of credit from a bank or financial institution to fulfill purchase orders, but these are costly and hard to obtain. Alternative finance like purchase order financing can help these businesses secure and fulfill valuable government contracts.

Moreover, US small business owners say that a lack of cash flow and working capital prevents them from securing government contracts. At 22%, a lack of cash flow or capital is the second most popular reason that prevents US small business owners from securing a government contract. The most popular reason they aren’t securing government contracts is due to a lack of time and resources (25%).

“Our small business financing report sheds light on an issue that more than half of surveyed business owners know all too well – that even though the US federal government is awarding a record number of contracts to our small businesses, they’re still struggling financially to fulfill open purchase orders, potentially losing out on more than $80 billion each fiscal year,” comments Daniel Fine, Founder and CEO of Setscale.

“Government contracts are fierce competition for US small business owners for a reason. They’re reliable, well-valued, and often lead to steady sources of income. However, due to a lack of knowledge of the specific government contract awarding process, business owners are unsure if they can fulfill the government’s open purchase orders without pursuing a line of credit from a bank or financial institution,” elaborates Fine. “With interest rates at an all-time high, it’s an incredibly bad time to be a borrower. PO financing allows a small business to quickly bid on a contract, finance the full transaction, and scale operations to meet the size of the order.”

*In Fiscal Year 2022, the US federal government awarded $162.9B in federal contracting opportunities to small businesses. 52% of surveyed US small business owners reported that they aren’t aware of the specific contracts the US federal government awards to small businesses * $162.9B = $84B in lost opportunities.

Survey Methodology
Setscale designed and executed research for this report in collaboration with Censuswide. 251 US small business owners in companies with less than 50 employees (aged 18+) were surveyed online in October 2023. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

About Setscale
Setscale is a fintech startup solving the trade financing dilemma for small businesses. Small businesses frequently get purchase orders, but don’t have the money to fill them. Through its PO financing technology, Setscale finances the cost of those goods, allowing small businesses to focus on product and sales, enabling them to scale. Setscale is an ideal partner for SMBs, coming in where traditional financial institutions won’t, enabling SMB’s to finance their growth. Setscale funds supply. You meet demand.

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Monsha'at leads delegation of Saudi startups at Web Summit 2023



As part of its work to showcase the growth of the Kingdom’s SME sector, Monsha’at, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, took part in Web Summit 2023: one of the world’s leading technology conferences.

Held from 13 to 16 November 2023 — in Lisbon, Portugal — the event provided Monsha’at the opportunity to spotlight Saudi Arabia’s most innovative SMEs. The authority led a delegation of Saudi start-ups, calling attention to their success and contributions to the national economy. Moreover, the event provided a platform for industry leaders, including policymakers, heads of state, and tech CEOs and founders, to address global challenges.

Sami Al Hussaini, Governor of Monsha’at, said: “2023 has been a landmark year for Monsha’at and the Saudi SME sector, with the number of start-ups in the Kingdom growing to over 1.2 million. While we have made a great deal of progress, we can achieve more. Launching innovative partnerships with businesses and entities around the world is essential. Events such as Web Summit 2023 enable us to do that, immersing some of our leading start-ups in an energized environment conducive to collaboration, innovation and growth.”

Saudi Arabia’s start-up ecosystem is currently undergoing a period of rapid growth. Amid the continued expansion of its non-oil sector, the Kingdom achieved one of the highest economic growth rates in the world last year and has been recognized as one of the best-performing countries in terms of leveraging reforms to improve its business environment. In Q2 2023, the Kingdom led the region in VC funding and capital raised, accounting for 42% of MENA funding at a value of $446 million.

Among the Saudi start-ups participating in Web Summit 2023 were: Zid, Lendo, Nuqtah, Syarah, Asasat Advanced Systems, Wosul, Kabi, Master Works, resal, WhiteHelmet, Mustadem, and Tachyon.

Monsha’at’s participation at WebSummit follows its recent participation in other world-class conferences, including SWITCH Singapore, and ComeUp Korea, where it has helped connect some of the Kingdom’s leading start-ups with the international business and investment communities.

About Monsha’at:

Monsha’at was established in 2016 with the aim of regulating, supporting, developing, and sponsoring the SME sector in the Kingdom in accordance with global best practices, in order to increase the productivity of SMEs and their contribution to GDP.

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SynFutures Announces USD22M Series B and Launches V3 Perpetual Futures DEX with Proprietary Oyster AMM



  • Innovative Oyster AMM combines onchain order book and AMM to upgrade DeFi trading efficiency
  • Investors include Pantera Capital, SIG DT Investments, HashKey Capital; funds to support multi-chain expansion and new product development

SynFutures, a leading decentralized exchange for perpetual futures, today announced it has recently closed a Series B fundraising round of US$22 million, led by Pantera Capital, with participation from SIG DT Investments, a member of the Susquehanna International Group (SIG DTI) and HashKey Capital. This latest round brings the total funding SynFutures has raised to date to US$38 million.

The fundraising announcement comes alongside the launch of the decentralized exchange’s (DEX’s) new V3 platform for perpetual futures (“perps”). The upgrade features SynFutures’ proprietary Oyster automated market maker (Oyster AMM). Deployed fully on-chain, it combines the best of orderbook and AMM models in a single approach. Designed to enhance decentralized finance (DeFi) liquidity and capital efficiency, SynFutures V3 aims to compete head on with the crypto finance industry’s centralized exchanges (CEXs).

“On CEXs and in most traditional financial markets, derivatives trading eclipses spot market volumes by three to five times. Yet for DeFi, a huge gap remains for derivatives. To address that gap, and thereby improve the overall health of the DeFi trading environment, our V3 platform is designed to enhance trading efficiency, especially by concentrating liquidity. Our hope is that V3 proves a tipping point, and our Oyster AMM empowers both professional and retail traders to access DeFi derivatives trading at a mass scale,” said Rachel Lin, Co-founder and CEO of SynFutures. “The name “Oyster AMM” reflects the completely permissionless listing of futures trading pairs on SynFutures DEX, as well as the ‘pearls’ that appear on a liquidity curve with limit orders, as is the case with our model.”

V3 Bridges the DeFi Derivatives Gap as Crypto Winter Set to Defrost in 2024

SynFutures is launching its V3, with the mainnet launch set for Q4 2023, in the anticipation that various market forces – including the upcoming Bitcoin halving, accelerating traditional finance (TradFi) participation in Web3, and the coming end of the Fed’s tightening cycle – will thaw the current crypto winter in 2024.

Demand for DeFi services and adoption has seen significant growth since FTX’s implosion last year, as investors are placing greater value on transparency and self-custody. But market efficiency, especially capital efficiency, has remained a major challenge for DeFi. While DeFi platforms including UNISWAP have introduced concentrated liquidity models for spot trading, SynFutures V3 extends such support to the DeFi perpetual futures market through the specially-designed Oyster AMM.

What is Oyster AMM?

Specifically tailored for perpetual futures, Oyster AMM enables permissionless listing of any trading pairs, encompassing major crypto assets, altcoins, NFTs and indices in 30 seconds, all while ensuring two-sided liquidity, where users can provide just a single token of a trading pair, as was the case with SynFutures V1 and V2.

To boost liquidity, the Oyster AMM presents an innovative market making paradigm by seamlessly integrating concentrated liquidity and on chain order book in a single model, offering a unified liquidity system tailored to active traders and passive liquidity providers. The model facilitates liquidity concentration within specific price ranges and incorporates leverage for automated market makers, as well as introduces an order book system deployed fully on chain. This ensures security and robustness by eliminating dependence on centralized administrators and mitigating vulnerabilities across on-off chain systems.

“The SynFutures team is seasoned in both traditional finance best practices and pioneering blockchain innovation. And this latest upgrade sets a new bar for efficiency in DeFi trading, thanks to the integrated model combining AMM with an on-chain order book, in an innovative approach that’s tailored to derivatives,” said Paul Veradittakit, Managing Partner at Pantera Capital.

“As more TradFi players chart a course into digital assets, SynFutures is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between traditional and decentralized finance. We are impressed with the team’s long-term vision and robust product roadmap, which we see as foundational for traditional institutions to deepen their engagement in the growing digital asset ecosystem,” said Vir Anand, Investor for SIG DT Investments, a member of the Susquehanna International Group.

“We’ve been backers of SynFutures since day zero, and from that moment on Rachel Lin, Yizhou Cao, and their team have been relentlessly driving to today’s achievement — a derivatives market with such a high level of permissionless market creation that it transforms DeFi itself,” said Adam Goldberg, co-founder of Standard Crypto, which led SynFutures’ Seed round at the end of 2020.

Since launching its V1 beta in October 2021, SynFutures’ DEX has achieved US$22 billion in cumulative trading volume to date. The fresh capital injection from the new and returning investors will be used to drive product development, starting with the V3 mainnet rollout, as well as future ecosystem and multi-chain expansion.

About SynFutures

SynFutures is a next-generation Web3.0 decentralized derivatives infrastructure that creates an open and trustless derivatives market by enabling trading on anything with a price feed anytime. SynFutures democratizes the derivatives market by employing an Amazon-like business model, giving users the tools to freely trade any assets and list arbitrary futures contracts within seconds.

Deployed on multiple blockchains, SynFutures is currently the largest derivatives exchange on Polygon and is among the top three most actively used decentralized derivatives exchanges. Backers include Tier 1 Web3 institutional investors Pantera Capital, Polychain Capital, Susquehanna International Group (SIG), Hashkey Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Standard Crypto, and Framework Ventures, and team members have extensive experience at global financial institutions, fintech companies, and blockchain technology companies such as Alipay, Bitmain, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Matrixport, and Nomura Securities.

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