Acumen Blog


Shaiza Rizavi Joins Acumen’s Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce that Shaiza Rizavi has joined Acumen’s Board of Directors. Shaiza became a Partner at Acumen after reading The Blue Sweater and recognizing that “Jacqueline had an idea large enough to disrupt poverty.” She has been a hugely valuable member of our community over many years, sharing her insights and ideas, joining a trip to East Africa to visit our investee companies, mentoring a team through our +Acumen course in Karachi, and participating on Fellows selection panels. You can watch this short video of Shaiza at our Investor Gathering this past year, discussing her experiences and impressions of Acumen.

Shaiza is drawn to disruptive companies and ideas which she believes can change people’s lives and build capital when well executed. She is a partner at Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co., a growth equity brokerage firm committed to giving the small investor who possesses long-term patience and fortitude an opportunity to create wealth. She looks forward to bringing her skill set to support Acumen.


Shaiza and Saira visiting chili farmers on the 2013 Board and Advisors trip to East Africa

While a student at Vanderbilt University, Rizavi worked in Mexico raising awareness of best sanitation practices.  After graduating, she worked in Southeast Asia analyzing opportunities for global replication of successful youth development programs and then went on to obtain an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Rizavi remains active at Columbia Business School where she serves on the Advisory Board of the Social Enterprise Program and on the Columbia Alumni Arts League.  She sits on the Board of Trustees of the Calhoun School, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the American Museum of Natural History and is a member of the Economic Club of New York. Rizavi lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband and four children.

We are excited to welcome her as the newest member to Acumen’s Board.


Shaiza presenting to our community at the 2013 Investor Gathering on what it means to be an Acumen Partner



On a cold January afternoon in 2012, at Dow’s headquarters in Midland, Michigan, I sat at a large conference table with representatives from across Dow’s venture fund, foundation, sustainability team, and human resources department. This was the first meeting of its kind that I had attended with one of our corporate partners. I was unwittingly part of an emerging shift in how social change organizations and corporations are working together. A shift towards partnerships that align business growth objectives with social and environmental imperatives. [Read More]

Robert (Bob) Collymore of Safaricom Limited Joins Acumen’s Board Of Directors

Acumen announced today that Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom Limited, will join its Board of Directors. Collymore, who has been at the helm of the Kenyan communications company since 2010, previously sat on the Advisory Council of the nonprofit social venture fund founded by Jacqueline Novogratz. He has more than 30 years in the telecommunications sector working in Africa as well as Asia and Europe. [Read More]