The markets alone cannot solve the problems of poverty; nor are charity and aid enough to tackle the challenges faced by over two-thirds of the world’s population living in poverty. Patient capital is a third way that seeks to bridge the gap between the efficiency and scale of market-based approaches and the social impact of pure philanthropy.
For Acumen, patient capital is understood as a debt or equity investment in an early-stage enterprise providing low-income consumers with access to healthcare, water, housing, alternative energy, or agricultural inputs. Our typical commitments of patient capital for an enterprise range from $250,000 to $3,000,000 in equity or debt with payback or exit in roughly seven to ten years.
The patient capital Acumen provides is accompanied by a wide range of management support services nurturing the company to scale. Our aim in investing patient capital is not to seek high returns, but rather to jump-start the creation of enterprises that improve the ability of the poor to live with dignity.