Since Google first invested in the Acumen Fund I have followed their work and, specifically, Jacqueline Novogratz. Here are some of my notes from NPR’s Krista Tippets interview with her (go here to listen for yourself).
+ strong moral and spiritual core
+ investors returns come in social change, not money
+ “the ethics of aid”
+ gates foundation; hedge funds; philanthropic venture capital
What is the Acumen Fund?
+ invests in for-profit projects and brings services to those who earn less than $4 per day
+ far more important to be interested in the world than an interesting person
+ helped make first microfinance organization in rawanda
What is patient capitalism?
+ Patient Capitalism –> capitalism gave no time for entrepreneurs to innovate
What is the biggest issue with patient capitalism?
+ the biggest issue is talent –> need to provide lots of management assistance
What is an example of a project?
Water Health International
+ the initiative comes from an entrepreneur
+ uv filtration system for purifying water
+ 600K dollars in filtration system
+ Many say it is unethical to make money off of poor
+ ankur shah (mckinsey consultant and architect background)
+ no banks would loan to the entrepreneur in each of the people
+ make loan and provide management assistance on a local level
+ markets can act as listening devices
What is the magic?
+ Sharpened financial edges with spiritual undertones
+ Financial returns vs. social returns
+ Believe people want to be inspired
+ Believe people need to start rounding their actions in spirituality and if we do not realize that we are all connected
+ hard headed with soft heart
+ facebook is a materialization of our need and desire to be connected; however, fundamentally, we are already connected
+ Chief Economic
+ Finance/investment (speaking of faith)
+ Patrick gelbardsmith
+ aid for free and investment
+ expecting returns to come in social returns
How does the work change investors?
+ how smart the poorest people in the world are
+ the explosion of potential
+ any returns that the fund gets put back into the acumen fund
+ the money is highly leveraged money
+ the return is in social change
How does Jacqueline find sustenance?
+ never feels successful
+ ask deeper and deeper questions
+ the joy that she gets from the interactions and helps her feel connected across the spectrum to rich and poor
+ suffering does not burn her out
+ she sees positives
+ what is exhausting is the lack of caring
+ going to a new universe
+ she could not remember feeling so alive
+ where you see the best and worse
+ being much closer to the human experience
+ we hide death; where animals are grown; veneer is stripped;
+ the best and worst of the human condition
+ do we want other people in the world to be developed like we are
+ to not give tools seems paternalistic
+ must give choice
What is the fellows program?
+ trained talent
+ 600 applicants from a ll over the world
+ groundswell in business schools that are using patient capitalOther Interesting Links:
+ Recommended Reading
by J. Novogratz for all Acumen Fund Fellows