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

Yellow Brick Road to the Impact Economy

I’m from San Francisco, not Kansas, but when I stepped off the elevator at the Lexington Avenue headquarters of Bloomberg LP, it felt like Oz. Around the soaring 6th floor atrium, no walls or receptionists guard the newsrooms. Senior executives hold meetings on a Big Pink Couch.  Billionaires like Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, visiting

Morgan Stanley Thinks Bigger…and Here Comes CalPERS

Morgan Stanley and the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) have taken important first steps to institutionalize a role for capital that, above and beyond maximizing financial returns, includes delivery of measurable, positive social and environmental benefits. The importance of the developments cannot be understated. Morgan Stanley is one of the largest wealth management companies

“Missing Middle” Capital for Social Enterprises in Mexico

Mexico faces a shortage of 7 million homes for families at the bottom of the income scale. Barely 2 percent of Mexican students have access to college loans. Rodrigo Villar sees these as opportunities as much as problems. Villar has just closed on the first $15 million (of a $20 million goal) for the launch

Adobe Capital: “Missing Middle” Investments in Mexico

Mexico faces a shortage of 7 million homes for families at the bottom of the income scale. Barely 2 percent of Mexican students have access to college loans. Rodrigo Villar sees these as opportunities as much as problems. Villar has just closed on the first $15 million (of a $20 million goal) for the launch

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