August 2

Rob Katz

Transitions in the NextBillion Team: Rob Katz and Acumen Fund

Over the past 5-plus years, I’ve written hundreds of NextBillion blog posts, news articles, research pieces – and edited hundreds more. Yet, despite my writing experience, I’m finding it rather difficult to put the right words on paper today as I seek to let you – the NextBillion community – know about some important transitions on site.

To wit, I’ll just get to it: Today, I’ll officially transition from my role as a Managing Editor on NextBillion to that of a Staff Writer. This transition comes as Acumen Fund, my employer, transitions from its role as a Managing Partner to that of an Associate Partner.

It’s hard to believe that a small group of us started just 5 years back, as our Advisor (and NextBillion co-founder) Al Hammond recently noted. In those short 5 years, “base of the pyramid” has become a mainstream term, and hundreds of companies, investors, researchers and non-profits have oriented themselves towards market-based approaches to poverty.

Personally, it has been a privilege to come to work every day and focus on I’ve been lucky to have had a front row seat from which to witness the incredible growth of the BoP movement.

Fortunately, it’s not as if I’m going far – I will remain a Staff Writer, after all! As I step down from a day-to-day management role, I am confident that NextBillion is in good hands. The Managing Partners – World Resources Institute and William Davidson Institute – are committed to the BoP sector. Managing Editor Francisco Noguera is staying on board. And the William Davidson Institute is now hiring for a full-time Managing Editor, whose sole responsibility will be the management of NextBillion. (Check it out if you’re interested, and pass it along to friends who might be!)

On a more personal note, I will shortly relocate to India, to work out of Acumen Fund’s office in Hyderabad. From India, I will continue to lead Acumen’s knowledge work: searching for, synthesizing and sharing insights across Acumen’s portfolio of companies serving BoP markets. You’ll undoubtedly hear more about it here, on NextBillion – especially as I have more time to write once the editing responsibilities fall away!

It’s been a great run as a member of the NextBillion management team. Thanks to you – the NextBillion readers and commenters – for making it feel that way.