About Acumen



Neither the markets nor aid alone can solve the problems of poverty. More than two billion people around the world lack access to basic goods and services—from clean water and electricity to an education and the freedom to participate in the economy. We’re here to change that. Our vision is a world based on dignity, where every human being has the same opportunity. Rather than giving philanthropy away, we invest it in companies and change makers.

Our Story

Acumen was founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001 to use power of entrepreneurship to build a world where everyone had the opportunity to live with dignity. Our goal was to invest “Patient Capital” to bridge the gap between the efficiency and scale of market-based approaches and the social impact of pure philanthropy.

Our Founder

Acumen CEO and Founder, Jacqueline Novogratz’s work began in 1986 when she quit her job on Wall Street to help open Rwanda’s first microfinance institution, Duterimbere—an experience that inspired her to create Acumen. When she founded Acumen in 2001, few had heard of the words impact investing.

Our Partners

When we first began, our vision was to create a venture capital fund for the poor, supported by a global community of philanthropists and businesses willing to take a risk on a new approach to ending poverty. Acumen’s donors are also our partners, because our collaborative approach is to invest together in long-term change.


Pioneer Investments

We invest in early-stage companies whose products and services enable the poor to transform their lives. We also support our companies with the tools, networks, technical assistance and strategic guidance needed to succeed and scale into long-term solutions to poverty.

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Acumen Funds

We created Acumen Capital Partners to structure and manage funds that fill a critical gap that exists for social enterprises. An evolution of Acumen’s investment model, ACP supports established, high-potential companies to catalyze scalable solutions that deliver social and financial returns.

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Acumen Academy

Acumen Academy serves a community of social innovators and builders who are willing to embrace the challenge of solving the world’s toughest problems and provides the practical tools, practices and resources needed to create new solutions for an interdependent world.

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