Investment Principles

When Acumen was founded in 2001, we set out to create a new kind of institution—one that would bridge the gap between the social impact of pure philanthropy and the efficiency and scale of markets. 

In the two decades since we introduced our patient capital approach, the impact investing sector has grown up around us to be worth more than $500 billion. What sets Acumen apart in this crowded landscape is its starting point. Where many of today’s impact investors start by focusing on financial returns and then look for impact as a secondary outcome, Acumen starts by focusing on the problems it aims to solve, finding the best entrepreneurs to solve them and investing the right kind of capital to support them. 

These 8 Investment Principles serve as Acumen’s commitment to use its capital where it is needed most, to unleash those nascent but promising innovations that other investors will not take the risk of supporting.

Principle 1

We use the power of investments to change systems and catalyze markets to provide choice and opportunity for people living in poverty.



Principle 2

We strive to understand the complex problems of poverty and structure our capital to enable innovative solutions.



Principle 3

We deploy patient capital to fill a funding gap in the capital markets (the pioneer gap), investing in early-stage, high-risk business models that are led by values-aligned entrepreneurs.



Principle 4

We accompany investees with strategic support and hold them and ourselves accountable to values, impact and business objectives.



Principle 5

We believe that impact must be measured and actively managed to create the change that we seek.




Principle 6

We define success based on all stakeholders and not just shareholders, prioritizing impact and long-term financial sustainability over financial returns.



Principle 7

We build partnerships that seek to catalyze systemic change.



Principle 8

We share our insights and lessons to accelerate the scaling or replication of entrepreneurial solutions to poverty.



Acumen is Changing the Way the World Tackles Poverty

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