Press Releases

Acumen Fund Invests in Circ MedTech, Developer of Breakthrough Innovation in HIV Prevention

Capital to Support Scale Up of PrePex™, Non-Surgical Adult Male Circumcision Device

Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia and East Africa, today announced an investment in Circ MedTech, the developer of PrePex, a new and innovative device that facilitates the rapid scale-up of male circumcision (“MC”) as a means to stop the spread of HIV in high risk areas. The capital investment will help bolster Circ MedTech’s preparations for region-wide adoption of MC in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“For almost a decade, Acumen Fund has been investing patient capital in innovative enterprises that are leading their respective industries and improving the lives of millions of people around the world,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO, Acumen Fund. “Circ MedTech is one of these extraordinary businesses with the potential to decrease the rapid transmission of HIV in African countries where the disease has and continues to claim countless lives. By leveraging our capital, experience and global footprint, Circ MedTech will have the capacity to support broad implementation of this lifesaving device.”

In 2007, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (“UNAIDS”) began advocating MC as a preventive means of fighting HIV transmission after studies found that the procedure can reduce the lifetime risk of infection by between 50 and 71%. Campaigns for adult MC have thus been launched in numerous countries, including many Sub-Saharan nations, where over 22 million of the 33.4 million infected with HIV reside. Countries have struggled, however, with providing a safe, accessible and cost-effective procedure for adult MC. Surgical methods have been much less scalable, requiring surgeons or highly skilled medical cadres, surgery-type settings and expensive tools, materials and infrastructure, all difficult to access in rural areas where these services are most needed.

Founded in 2009, Circ MedTech is a for-profit social enterprise that developed PrePex, a disposable device for adult MC that empowers even minimally-skilled healthcare workers in resource-limited settings to safely and effectively perform the procedure. The procedure is completely bloodless and requires no injected anesthesia, no knives, no sutures and no sterile settings – a radical breakthrough in adult MC.

“We created the PrePex device to address the need for safe, simple, scalable and affordable male circumcision programs in Africa,” said Circ MedTech CEO Tzameret Fuerst. “Acumen Fund’s investment will enable us to create the supporting infrastructure to meet the demand of tens of millions of male circumcisions required over the next 3-5 years in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, helping to save countless lives.”

Elaborate studies conducted by the Government of Rwanda over the past year, based on the WHO’s suggested evaluation framework, have validated the safety, efficacy and supremacy of the device over surgical techniques. The PrePex device makes it possible for Rwandan health authorities to implement a nationwide, voluntary MC program capable of reaching 2 million men within 2 years. Scaled-up use of the PrePex device at that level would make Rwanda’s goal of cutting its HIV incidence rate in half attainable.

UNAIDS Chief Michel Sidibe, who witnessed how the device is used during a recent trip to a Rwandan hospital, says it heralds a revolution in the global fight against HIV.

The patent pending PrePex device utilizes a special elastic mechanism that stops the flow of blood to the unwanted skin. Within a week, the device, along with the necrotized skin, is easily and safely removed. Patients’ daily routines go uninterrupted during the whole procedure. The device is single-use and disposable, and has a CE Mark, clearing it for marketing in the European Union.


Warning: Fake internship post on WhatsApp in our name in East Africa

It has come to our attention that an anonymous source in the East Africa region is soliciting individuals over social media and WhatsApp to provide personal information to apply for an Acumen paid internship. THIS IS A SCAM. The false solicitation includes a link to a Google form asking for personal and sensitive information, which could easily be used for identity theft; you should NOT submit any information through the provided links over social media. PLEASE BE CAREFUL and if you have already submitted information, consider taking steps to protect your information and identity. If you are interested in Acumen, opportunities are posted on our website at, which is Acumen’s primary channel for recruiting. [Read More]

Solar Home Systems: Over-investment or overvaluation?

When you hear the term “unicorn,” you usually think of Silicon Valley. Your mind goes to companies like AirBnB and Snapchat, startups that seem to grow from zero to $1 billon overnight, not to social enterprises trying to bring energy to the poor. But we’re seeing a trend emerge in the off-grid sector, in which some young solar home system companies are being overvalued before they’ve had a chance to prove themselves. [Read More]

Skills Partnerships: Start with Listening

The relationship between the social sector and the corporate world is complex. Skills Partnerships have emerged as a way of engaging both sectors. This form of engagement may have started with activities like leveraging a corporation’s expansive workforce to build a house for the homeless or help underprivileged students with their resumes, but it has since evolved to include highly skilled workers sharing their expertise with all types of organizations. [Read More]


We are thrilled to announce Andrea Soros Colombel’s return to Acumen’s Board of Directors. Andrea played an integral role in the development of Acumen as a Founding Partner in 2001, then deepening her commitment by serving on the Board from 2005 to 2014. During that time, she helped shepherd a number of major projects at Acumen, including the inception of our portfolio of off-grid energy companies. Andrea has returned to the Board after three years and we welcome her thoughtful leadership and generous support. [Read More]

Models of High-Level Partnerships with Social Enterprises: Venture Partnerships

How can corporations and social enterprises partner to create a world that works for everyone? On April 4, 2017, Acumen hosted a workshop on high-impact partnerships for leading social enterprises, global corporations, and the organizations that work to link them as a part of the Skoll World Forum Ecosystem Events, to explore this question. Supported by EY, Sainsbury’s, Pfizer and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, the session explored three different kinds of partnerships: Skills, Channel and Venture. [Read More]

A Cleaner Path: Solar Energy’s Impact on Health

Imagine for a moment that the light used in your home was a poison. One that could damage your lungs, irritate your eyes, even impact the health of your unborn child. You’d think twice about flicking on that switch. Kerosene lamps—used by an estimated 290 million people across Africa—contribute to household air pollution. Such pollution is responsible for more deaths a year than tuberculosis, malaria and HIV combined. [Read More]

Acumen Hosts Workshop on Building High-Impact Partnerships at Skoll World Forum

Acumen, with support from EY, Sainsbury’s, Pfizer, and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, is hosting their second Beyond Dialogue workshop today as a part of the Skoll World Forum. The event, Beyond Dialogue: Three Models for High Impact Collaboration, will bring together leading global corporations, innovative social enterprises, experts and intermediaries to work together to uncover new knowledge and opportunities to partner. [Read More]