Sister Padma outside of the LifeSpring Hospital

Serving at LifeSpring – with a spring in her step

Editor’s note: LifeSpring is a chain of maternity care hospitals, providing high quality healthcare for low-income mothers and children. Acumen Fund has invested $1.9 million in the company.

On a recent visit to Hyderabad, I got a chance to visit one of the twelve LifeSpring Hospitals.  I take about an hour to reach Bowenpally , where this Center is located. As I walk into the small but cheerfully bright building, I pass by a board which displays the prices of service – $90 (Rs 5000) for a normal delivery and a Caesarean section at $220 (Rs 12000), which in my mind was incredible considering the cheapest private chains in the vicinity were 30-50% more expensive.

Sister Padma outside of the LifeSpring Hospital

I’m greeted by Sister Padmavati. “I’m the head of C&M” she declares with pride in Hindi. “Clinical and Medical management,” she offers at my quizzical look.  “I am responsible for all the staff, visitors and patients. I keep the hospital spick-and-span.” She had joined the hospital three years ago, when the branch had been inaugurated and said that she loved her role and the company.

She then proceeds to show me around – we peek into one of the rooms and see the ultrasound. The Pediatric doctor says hello from her cabin. Padma then shows off the operation theater, where the duty doctors had delivered two babies early in the morning. An adjoining room is equipped with a high-tech baby warmer. “We are only missing an incubator compared to the big, private hospitals,” she says.

We then proceed to the wards where mothers lie with their new-born babies. Shalini looks exhausted but is beaming with pride – at forty, she has had her first baby, something she had long thought impossible. Her husband ran a cycle repair shop in the vicinity, and added that they were thrilled with how everything had proceeded. Meanwhile, the good Sister Padma is dispensing free tips to Shalini’s father on how to care for his ailing knees.

Ameena sleeps in an adjacent twin bed. She has just had her second child, her first delivery had been at another private hospital but one of their relatives had used LifeSpring and had recommended it strongly. As I talk to the mother, Padma pacifies her crying baby and adjusts Ameena’s IV drip.

As I leave the bright, happy pink corridors behind, I reflect on the numerous people like Padma who are so critical in making the wheels of social enterprises move. She asks me if I will report back to the CEO, Anant Sir about my visit. I promise to her that I will report back, not just to him but to a whole lot of others.


Payal Shah is a Business Development Manager in the India office.


Acumen Partners with AlphaSights to Better Access Global Expertise

In our work investing in social enterprises that deliver critical goods to the poor, there is a substantial amount of work to evaluate each investment opportunity. A critical part of the diligence process, particularly when it comes to emerging markets, is speaking with industry experts who can provide reliable information about sector trends, market dynamics and public policy – all of which affect our evaluation of potential investment opportunities. [Read More]


Our manifesto begins, “it starts by standing with the poor.” Yet for good reasons, the sector has found it challenging to measure which customers are actually being served through social impact investments – getting accurate data on incomes is notoriously difficult and the logistical challenge and cost of conducting surveys in person prohibitive. [Read More]

Questions for Aspiring Leaders

Bavidra Mohan, Acumen’s India Fellows Manager, attended this years Aspen IDEAS festival as a Scholar. The Scholarship program was established to invite guests from around the world to bring a diverse set of experiences, voices and perspectives to the rich conversations that take place at the IDEAS festival each year. [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]

10 Books We’re Reading This Summer

What are you reading? It is a common question here at Acumen, an organization full of avid readers constantly trading favorite book titles that discuss leadership, impact, development and branding. Here are 10 stellar books we’re reading this summer. These books and others provide a framework of thinking, a spark of new ideas, a platform for debate. So, what are you reading? [Read More]

How Acumen Brought Back my Fire

Eda is an East Africa Regional Fellow from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and Director of Halisi Trust, an organization that seeks to challenge the vices that plague society and encourage transformational development in Kenya’s youth. When Eda applied for the East Africa Fellows Program, she felt disillusioned and stuck. Below, Eda discusses how Acumen’s Regional Fellowship Program brought back her fire. Now, Eda has engaged nearly 6,000 people through outreach events and the Mkenya Halisi movement continues to grow. Acumen is currently accepting applications for the next class of East Africa Fellows. APPLY TODAY! [Read More]

Imagining the world as it could be

Christine Gitau is an East Africa Fellow and an enterprise coach at Craft Afrika, which provides business support services to craft entrepreneurs, enabling them build viable and thriving businesses in Kenya. At Acumen we often use the term “Moral Imagination” when talking about leadership. Christine wrote a reflection on how this concept has shifted her thinking. We could not be more proud of what she is building! [Read More]

How two Acumen Fellows are disrupting the education model in India

Whether its running youth soccer programs, providing vocational training services, or transforming the education system in India, Acumen India Fellows are driving real change in their communities.  Abbas Dadla and Abhilasha Sinha are India Fellows who are addressing the teacher shortage in India through the use of technology and peer collaboration. Find out what they are building below.  If you have grit, resilience and a commitment to creating change in your community in India, East Africa or Pakistan, we encourage you to apply for the Regional Fellowship Program! [Read More]

Meet Manjushree Patil, Founder of Aatman Academy

This month saw violent tragedies in Pakistan and Kenya, regions where Acumen works and which five classes of Acumen regional fellows call home. Among them there are dedicated teachers like Acumen India Fellow Manjushree Patil, crusaders against sex trafficking, builders of government, creators of liberating mobile medical technologies, and curators of slum sports programs. The need for strengthening the connections between those who are working for positive change against seemingly impossible odds has never been greater. We at Acumen have never been prouder to be the thread tying together these courageous individuals. Read more about Manjushree and how she is changing her community in India below! [Read More]