LeapFrog Investments: Insuring Families’ Rise out of Poverty

Trend-spotting is one of the key attributes of impact investors, and LeapFrog Investments spotted a big one: rising demand from emerging middle-class families for insurance against risks that threaten to plunge them back into poverty. LeapFrog Investments is a private equity investor in companies providing financial services for individuals earning between $1.25 and $10 a

Bill Gates Makes an Impact Investment to Seed Base-of-the-Pyramid Startups in India

Bill Gates arguably ushered in the current golden age of philanthropy. Now the world’s richest man has endorsed another way to put money to work for good: impact investing. It’s safe to say Gates doesn’t need the market-rate returns expected from his new venture-capital investment in Unitus Seed Fund. His modest commitment closes a $20

Afripads: Keeping Girls in School Every Month

To get a chance, girls need education. But millions of girls in Africa skip up to one school day out of five. One reason: Many can’t afford or don’t have access to the sanitary products they need when they menstruate. At least partly as a result, drop-out rates climb sharply once girls reach puberty. In

Show Me the Deals: Impact Investors Look for Opportunities in Conservation Finance

Private equity fund managers are sitting on more than $1.5 billion in private capital that already has been raised for investments in sustainable agriculture and forestry, water quality, wildlife habitat and other conservation projects. They expect to raise more than $4 billion more in the next five years. In conservation finance, at least for the

D.light: An IPO at the Base of the Pyramid?

    Meeting the needs of emerging middle-class consumers in the developing world will spawn some very large businesses. D.light design, for one, has an ambitious goal: Reach 100 million people by 2020 with its inexpensive solar-powered lanterns. That could be dismissed as just another marketing claim if the company weren’t already more than one-quarter