About: Acumen is a social venture fund that is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since 2001, Acumen has invested more than $88 million in 82 companies across South Asia, Latin America and Africa, all focused on delivering affordable healthcare, water, housing, agricultural inputs, education and energy to the poor. We are also working to build a global community of emerging leaders that believe in creating a more inclusive world through the tools of both business and philanthropy.
Average Investment Size : $1M ($200K-$2M)
Investment Period : 5-10 years
Website : acumen.org
Target Market: Base of the Pyramid (BoP) customers
Sector Focus: Health, Energy, Agriculture, Water, Housing and Education
Business Model (Proft/Not-for-Profit) : For-profit
Stage of Operation: Early-mid stage companies that are in the process of scaling. (We rarely invest in pure start-up companies.)
Other Criteria: 1) Potential for Significant Social Impact
2) Potential for Financial Sustainability
3) Potential to Achieve Scale
About: Ankur Capital is a micro fund that invests in start-up businesses that impact low-income communities in India. We back entrepreneurs who have inclusive models that can lead to transformations in these communities. We provide financial and technical support to create sustainable ventures.
Average Investment Size : Rs 25-50 lakhs
Investment Period : 5 years
Website : www.ankurcapital.com
Target Market: BOP
Sector Focus: Livelihoods, health and education
Business Model: For profit
Social Enterprise Size : Seed Stage
Stage of Operation: Have done some pilots
About: ennovent accelerates innovations creating a sustainable impact on low income people. We work with a global network of entrepreneurs, investors and experts to discover, finance and scale up the best innovations. We envision sustainable living for people at the base of the economic pyramid.
Average Investment Size : €50k seed investment and potential €250k follow-up
Investment Period : 5-7 years for each investment
Website : www.ennovent.com
Target Market: Underserved – rural or urban – markets in India
Sector Focus: Sector Agnostic including Energy, water, food, health or education
Business Model: Unique and innovative products, services or business models
Stage of Operation: Seed to early-stage startups – not idea stage
Other Criteria: 1) Use of Funds: Prototyping, marketing or scaling activities
2) Financial Instruments: Equity or quasi-equity instruments
3) Exit Options: Potential to exit after holding period
Villgro Innovations Foundation
About: Villgro’s mission is to enable innovative social enterprises to grow and impact the poor. Since the founding of Villgro 11 years ago, we have incubated around 64 innovation based enterprises and funded them with Rs 40 million. They have gone on to raise Rs 200 million in investments, a leverage of 5 times. The innovators have generated 3,803 direct jobs and touched over 5 million rural lives.
Average Investment Size : $60,000
Investment Period : 3-4 years
Website : www.villgro.org
Target Market: Base of the Pyramid
Sector Focus: Agriculture, Energy, Health and Education. Other sectors welcome.
Business Model: For- Profit
Stage of Operation: Seed stage, Start-up enterprises
Other Criteria: 1) Innovation in product or service
2) Viable business model
3) Ability to scale
Yunus Social Business Fund Mumbai
About: The Yunus Social Business Fund Mumbai was created by Prof Muhammad Yunus (Founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) to provide financial support to Social Businesses in India. A Social Business, according to Prof Yunus is a non dividend, non loss business solution to a social problem. It follows 7 principles:
- Business objective will be to overcome poverty, or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access, and environment) which threaten people and society; not profit maximization.
- Financial and economic sustainability.
- Investors get back their investment amount only. No dividend is given beyond investment money.
- When investment amount is paid back, company profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement.
- Environmentally conscious.
- Workforce gets market wage with better working conditions.
- …do it with joy.
Social Business in action: To hear Prof Yunus explain Social Business through the example of Grameen Danone, a joint venture between Danone and Prof Yunus to solve the problem of child malnutrition in Bangladesh, please click here. For more information on social business please click here
Average Investment Size : Rs 25 lakh
Investment Period: Flexible
Target Market: India
Other Criteria: 1. Must explicitly work with or benefit the poor
2. Must be self sustaining, ie: cover atleast operating costs
3. Must be “selfless”. The owner/ investor/ promoter of the Social Business must not take any dividend after return of principal. Employees, however, should get a market wage.
4. Must be environmentally conscious