LeapFrog is the world’s first investment fund to focus on the insurance needs of low-income and financially excluded people. Launched by President Clinton and hailed by The Wall Street Journal and Private Equity International, LeapFrog has opened a new frontier for social investment and microfinance. Andy founded LeapFrog in January 2007, inspired by his extensive experience enabling entrepreneurs in emerging markets, and then co-built the firm with a team of former CEOs and pioneers in emerging markets insurance. Andy is a former Managing Director of Ashoka, which has financed and connected 2000 social entrepreneurs in over 60 countries. He worked with both Grameen and BRAC, the world's largest microfinance institutions, to market their social ventures. He also co-founded Kuper Research, which designed The Daily Sun, now sub-Saharan Africa's largest newspaper, with 5 million daily readers. Born and raised in South Africa, Andy is a serial social entrepreneur and author of books including Democracy Beyond Borders (Oxford) and Global Responsibilities (Routledge). He holds a PhD from Cambridge, where he was supervised by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who first stimulated Andy’s interest in market-based solutions to poverty.
Topic: The Clinton Global Initiative.
Andrew Kuper: We owe a great deal to President [Bill] Clinton and to the Clinton Global Initiative. We labored in obscurity for 18 months where we created the entire infrastructure, the board, the team, the vision, the country entry strategies, all the pictures. And as a new team in a new area with a new idea, we were all about the substance but we certainly did not have any sort of global exposure, we didn’t have the kinds of global allies that President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative represented.
And what happened is that CGI has an amazing capacity to screen for some of the most exciting and innovative ideas out there both within companies and within organizations and CGI found us and within two weeks, they had basically decided to take us and to put us on a global stage. And what President Clinton did and his amazing team at CGI is they took us and in the finale special session of the Clinton Global Initiative of 2008 with President Clinton on stage alongside Tony Blair and several heads of states and regional head and the major CEO in front of a thousand people and a thousand press, they put us on that stage and President Clinton spoke about the importance of Leap Frog, how we plan to reach 25 million low income and financially excluding people, how we plan to do it profitably, how we plan to do it with quality and affordable products, how we plan to do it with amazing allies like law firms like Akin, Gump and [Wiley, Rhine] like actuarial firms like Quindiem, like microinsurance firms like the Microinsurance Center, they gave us a platform for telling the story and as a result we had a flood of interesting offers and opportunities and we’re eager to have more but to flood in, we had exposure to media like The Wall Street Journal, like Private Equity International that has really helped us to achieve our profit with purpose mission.
And CGI has subsequently developed a feature story on us and introduced us to all sort of good people, including Big Think, and the amazing work it does.
President Clinton, in so many cases, is a catalyst for profound change as he was in bringing the work of Yunis and Grameen to this country as he and Hillary Clinton have been in the insurance phase and here, the Clinton Global Initiative has helped launch the world’s first microinsurance fund and we believe it’s the beginning of getting hundreds of millions of people the insurance they need in the world’s least developed and immerging markets.
So I cannot understate the importance of what the Clinton Global Initiative has done for us and I know that there are many other entrepreneurs out there and companies and nonprofits and worthy multilaterals that feel the same way that this platform is really is unparalleled.
Recorded on: May 1, 2009