October 11, 2023 – New York, NY – Acumen’s community has surpassed 500 million lives impacted as of December 2022, a momentous milestone that demonstrates significant progress on its mission to solve problems of poverty. The total number – 501.2 million lives – stems from $154 million invested in 167 early-stage, social enterprises working in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States.
Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen invests Patient Capital, a type of philanthropic capital it pioneered, in companies creating sustainable solutions that enable people living in poverty to live better lives. On average, Acumen sees a 91 cent return for every dollar invested, showcasing the ability of Patient Capital to prioritize impact in a financially sustainable way. Over the span of two decades, this capital, plus access to expertise and post-investment support, has helped dozens of companies grow exponentially year-on-year.
“A half a billion people impacted is the result of the hard work of our community – entrepreneurs and their teams, partners, co-investors, customers, and Acumen’s team of committed, curious individuals who show up and bring their best selves to serve the world,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen. “I am in awe of this community. Half a billion lives – that’s a number that matters.”
In 2022 alone, Acumen investees positively impacted 50.6 million lives. This marks the second-most successful year – in impact terms – since the organization’s founding (the first being 51.7 million lives impacted in 2014) and an 11.6% increase from the year prior. Furthermore, beginning in 2022, Acumen committed to measuring jobs created and greenhouse gas emissions, and building 2X compliance into all of its investments – a leading benchmark for gender-lens investing. Last year, 73% of investees met at least one of the 2X gender inclusivity benchmarks, a 16% increase over the prior year. They also created 273,931 jobs, improved 74,849 jobs, and avoided 6.5 million tons of carbon emissions.
In Acumen’s portfolio, the company that has impacted the most lives is d.light, a solar energy solutions company operating across Kenya, India, China, and the United States. Since Acumen’s investment in 2008 – one year after the company’s founding – d.light has gone on to provide more than 150 million people with affordable, quality-verified, solar lighting, and entertainment solutions. Other impactful companies of which Acumen is still an active investor include Ziqitza, an emergency services company based in India which has provided urgent medical response care to 42 million people, and LabourNet, a workforce development company that has provided vocational education and training to 10 million workers in India’s informal sector.
Acumen defines “lives impacted” as individuals gaining access to a product or service. For example, in agriculture, where Acumen has cumulatively impacted 37 million lives, this could represent a smallholder farmer selling their produce to a company. In energy, where Acumen has cumulatively impacted 190 million lives, this could represent the number of households who have gained access to a solar home system.
This more robust approach to impact measurement builds upon Acumen’s pre-existing work in Lean Data, which measures impact through the customer lens. In 2019, 60 Decibels was launched to make Lean Data a global standard for impact measurement.
For more information on the community that underpinned this significant achievement, visit Acumen’s Half a Billion Lives campaign page: It’s The We That Counts.
Brand Communications, Acumen
[email protected] | 731.437.0004
Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest Patient Capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $154 million in 167 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. In 2015, Acumen was named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies. Learn more at www.acumen.org and on Twitter @Acumen.