Acumen Blog

Lean Data Goes Deeper

One of the most interesting questions we’re grappling with right now on the Impact team at Acumen is how to develop a more robust, rigorous, and transparent form of quantifying the social value our companies create. While I don’t believe we will ever fully understand all the social value created – and while there will always be room for debate and interpretation – I do think today we have the tools to get a lot closer to customers and hear how they value products. [Read More]

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Impact investing has captured the world’s imagination. Just six years after the Rockefeller Foundation coined the term, the sector is booming. An estimated 250 funds are actively raising capital in a market that the Global Impact Investing Network estimates at $25 billion. Giving Pledge members described impact investing as the “hottest topic” at their May 2012 meeting, and Prime Minister David Cameron extolled the potential of the sector at the most recent G8 summit.  Sir Ronald Cohen and HBS Professor William A. Sahlman describe impact investing as the new venture capital, implying that it will, in the next 5 to 10 years, make its way into mainstream financial portfolios, unlocking billions or trillions of dollars in new capital. [Read More]

Aristotelian Virtues

Recently, I had the pleasure of spending two days with Acumen’s class of 2014 Global Fellows.  These Fellows, a group of truly outstanding individuals from around the world who are committed to social change in the developing world, spend two months with Acumen training in New York before working for nine months with Acumen’s companies in India, Pakistan, East and West Africa.  While at their placements, they do things like run the sesame business for Gulu, a company serving more than 40,000 smallholder farmers in post-conflict Northern Uganda; or helping d.Light expand its solar lighting business in Nigeria. [Read More]