Acumen Blog

Acumen Fund at Stockholm World Water Week

I was recently invited (with full sponsorship from UN Habitat) to speak on a panel at Stockholm World Water Week. This is the world’s largest annual water conference and I was there to discuss the value of market-based approaches to water and sanitation funding for small towns. The planners of the session wanted to foster a debate and encouraged speakers to take on their opposing roles in earnest. Goaded on by facilitator Dominic Waughrey of the World Economic Forum, we each took polarized positions and provided concrete examples of failures and opportunities of the various forms of financing. With a little humor and expert facilitation, each of us went further than we may have planned in pointing out the inconsistencies and gaps in each others’ arguments. [Read More]

Conserving water, one small-scale farmer at a time

A New York Times article this week highlights the concerning scarcity of water that the world faces, noting water conservation strategies in agriculture as an innovative solution. Acumen Fund investment, IDE India, is focused one exactly this issue, developing useful and affordable water storage and irrigation technologies for small-scale farmers.  We believe that organizations such as IDE India will help to minimize the adverse impacts of these increasing water deficits on low-income populations. [Read More]

IAVI: accelerating the search for an HIV/AIDS vaccine

Acumen Fund Advisory Council Member, Dr. Seth Berkley is President and founder of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).  IAVI is a global non-profit organization focused on accelerating the search for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. Their biennial flagship publication, AIDS Vaccine Blueprint 2006: Actions to Strengthen Global Research and Development, was released last week at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Toronto.  We are proud to know Seth and his team. [Read More]

Calling for creative partnerships

Acumen Fund and IDEO have developed a partnership over the last two years to explore how Acumen Fund’s focus on using entrepreneurial approaches to address the problems of poverty, coupled with IDEO’s human-centered approach to design, could create synergy and help both organizations achieve their broader goals. [Read More]

The power of the internet, the reach of the cellphone

Voxiva, one of our health investments, was recently profiled in this Wall Street Journal article. The company, which offers disease surveillance and disease management platforms for national or regional health systems, is building a brand around technology that uses SMS messaging for real time data collection and dissemination (“the power of the internet with the reach of the cellphone” as their management team likes to say). [Read More]

Ringing the NASDAQ bell from India

Infosys is celebrating its 25th anniversary – a long journey from their beginnings with 250 dollars and a single room. To mark the occasion, they rang the NASDAQ opening bell on Monday, becoming the first company to do so from India. As Infosys CEO – and Acumen Fund partner – Nandan Nilekani says, “This event is yet another example of how the world is becoming flat.” [Read More]