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Investing as a Means: 20 years of Patient Capital

Woman farmer tending to crop field in Colombia

For 20 years, Acumen has invested Patient Capital into social enterprises that serve the needs of people living in poverty. In this report, we share what has worked, what has not, and where we are headed next.

  • Report
  • All Problems
  • All Regions
  • 2021

Can Patient Capital tackle problems of poverty?

For twenty years, Acumen has been deploying Patient Capital, investment funds that are backed by philanthropy and invested in companies tackling problems of poverty, characterized by flexible time horizons and targets for returning capital, and prioritizing impact. Between 2001 and 2020, Acumen deployed $115 million of Patient Capital into 123 companies that have collectively impacted 381 million people. In this report, we share what we’ve learned: the challenges and successes of building and shaping markets for people who are low-income, the opportunities and limitations of using Patient Capital in a venture capital model, and the financial returns we expect.

Featured Course: Acumen’s Patient Capital Lessons from 20 Years of Impact Investing