Skip to content
Personal Growth

Venture Capital Wants to Save the World

The venture capital firm Acumen Fund proposes market-based solutions to aid the world's poor rather than giving out free money. Its businesses are successful but do they help communities?

What’s the Latest Development?


The venture capital firm Acumen Fund sponsors entrepreneurs that help poor communities, often in far flung rural outposts. In Pakistan, for example, the Fund has invested heavily in the National Rural Support Programme Bank, allowing it to take deposits for the first time. “Since April 10,000 farmers have deposited $7 million in the bank, which of course has resulted in yet more loans.” The Acumen Fund measures the success of its investing against what could have been done by giving out free money.

What’s the Big Idea?

Can a kind version of capitalism make progress against hunger, poverty and ill-health? One difference is that venture capitalists can offset losses by having successes, much the way Google invests in everything under the sun. A Manhattan-based non-profit, whose goal is to improve philanthropic venture capitalism, says the technique is getting results: Based on 463 organizations from 58 countries last year, a report claims 23,355 jobs were created that generated $1.4 billion in revenue by serving nearly 8 million people.


Related

Psychologist debunks 8 myths of mass scale

Collective illusions — false assumptions about society that many people share — have existed for thousands of years in many different ways. Today, because of social media and modern technology, […]
32 min
with

Up Next

Slow Down, You Think Too Fast.

Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, author of the new book Thinking, Fast and Slow, knows more than most about how people make decisions. And we often make them badly. As a rule, Kahneman would advise people to slow down their decision-making whenever possible.