Acumen Blog

Happy New Year!

As we start 2007, I’ve been reflecting on the past year, which was one of transformation for Acumen Fund. We have grown to nearly thirty people – with country offices and country teams and fellows working directly with our investments – who share a deep belief for making meaningful, tangible change in the world.  [Read More]

The link between malaria and AIDS

An editorial in The New York Times this week has it right in the last line – the world needs to focus on improving health systems and not just undertake one-off approaches to curbing diseases. The disastrous interaction of malaria and HIV causes more infections, sickness and death. I’ve just returned from Eastern and Southern Africa where we visited enterprises concerned with both diseases. I’ll post some excerpts from my journal in the coming weeks, but wanted to flag this important finding – and hope that our conclusion is to think more broadly about what it will take to deliver high quality and affordable health products and services to the poor. [Read More]

The “new Rockefeller”

Congratulations to Judith Rodin and The Rockefeller Foundation, a founding partner who provided seed capital to launch Acumen Fund. This article in The Economist highlights Dr. Rodin’s unrelenting approach to building on the best of Rockefeller history and re-inventing it to mirror the new realities of a global and interconnected economy. We’re proud to be associated with Rockefeller Foundation and are excited to see this new conversation taking place the world over. [Read More]

Opening access to healthcare to poor consumers in India

It was an incredible experience being at the opening of the first Sanjeevani store last Tuesday. The store and clinic looked wonderful (clean and simple), felt nice and cool in the warm Mumbai afternoon (the CEO of Medicine Shoppe India, Viraj Gandhi, made a note for me to thank Jacqueline for insisting on having the stores air conditioned), the Vision Shoppe had a long line for testing (I bought my first pair of prescription glasses after being tested as mildly myopic), and the line for the public clinic spilled out into the streets. I have also never seen Viraj as excited—he was just giddy about the possibilities that this new format holds for serving the poor. It also didn’t hurt that the Director of International Operations from Medicine Shoppe in the US was there at the launch. They were one of many partners that had cautioned Viraj about trying to enter the poor and rural markets, but seemed to be pleased with the launch yesterday. [Read More]

Asia’s humanitarian youth

At the Acumen Fund Pakistan office, we’ve had a lot of discussions about the fact that AF has a lot of young, driven people behind it who are committed to making a difference. This is noticeable in Pakistan even in terms of the inspirational individuals with whom we work – from Roshaneh Zafar at Kashf to Jawad Aslam at Saiban. Given the above, I found this article in Newsweek International to be really interesting, especially as it notes that this social consciousness is increasingly becoming a common phenomenon in Asia – which I personally hope translates into more people engaging in entrepreneurial approaches to poverty. [Read More]

Call for Fellows Class of 2008

I’ve spoken previously about the need to build an “entrepreneurial bench” of top talent with strong financial and operational skills as well as the moral imagination to build appropriate enterprises with local stakeholders. Launching the Acumen Fund Fellows Program has been our effort to identify and develop some of the world’s next generation of leaders. [Read More]

Drishtee leads Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India ranking

Congratulations to Acumen Fund investee Satyan Mishra, CEO of Drishtee, for being identified as India’s fastest-growing high-tech company. We are proud to be working with Drishtee, which is building a network of telecenters across India based on a franchise model that delivers an array of services and information. Through Satyan, we’ve learned the power of piggybacking on distribution systems. We’ve also been struck by the company’s approach to identifying entrepreneurs by holding competitions around sales drives before a franchise is awarded. We believe that Drishtee is one of Acumen Fund’s strongest business models for serving the rural poor and look forward to learning more and to working more closely with Satyan and his team. [Read More]

Jacqueline Novogratz at Asia Society

On November 30, Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz will be speaking at the Asia Society in New York. She will be participating in a panel discussion, along with philanthropist Abraham George, on the topic of social entrepreneurship in India. The discussion will be kicked off by UN Undersecretary Shashi Tharoor and moderated by Dan Gross of The New York Times. For more information, click here. [Read More]