Seeding Startups at the Base of India’s Pyramid

A team of technology veterans has raised $8 million for one of the first funds making early-stage investments in companies meeting the basic needs of low-income customers at the base of India’s economic pyramid. The commitments, including from billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, will launch the Unitus Seed Fund, which is looking for startups providing

At 20, Investors’ Circle Gets Its Groove Back

Investor’s Circle, the 20-year-old network of mission-driven angel investors, has survived the long economic slowdown and a rough organizational patch and appears poised to have its best year since 2006. That’s good news for social ventures, for whom early-stage capital remains tough to obtain, despite the new conventional wisdom around impact investing that there’s somehow

‘Impact Alphas’ Stake Their Claim

Word on the Street: When pitching the big-money players, don’t lead with “impact.” Try “alpha” instead. That was the message from pension-fund advisors to leaders of the impact investing community who were gathered in San Francisco for the annual SOCAP conference. “If  you want a check, say, ‘We’re going to make you more money than

E+Co Avoids Liquidation — Barely — and Emerges Persistent

Millions of dollars in bad loans have driven E+Co, one of the pioneers of impact investing, effectively out of business, offering a cautionary tale for those seeking to provide financing for large numbers of small and growing businesses as a strategy to accelerate sustainable development in low-income countries. After months of difficult negotiations with its

E+Co Avoids Liquidation — Barely — and Emerges Persistent

Millions of dollars in bad loans have driven E+Co, one of the pioneers of impact investing, effectively out of business, offering a cautionary tale for those seeking to provide financing for large numbers of small and growing businesses as a strategy to accelerate sustainable development in low-income countries. After months of difficult negotiations with its

Acumen Fund’s Transparent Experiment

Can impact investing survive the disclosure of impact investment performance? Few impact funds publicly report the operating results of their portfolio companies — even on an aggregated, anonymized basis. To be sure, accurate valuations of social enterprises can be hard to pin down. But there’s also fear that showcasing the real numbers might snuff the