Friday
October 15
2010

Francisco Noguera

Friday Roundup – 10/15/10: New Links in the Patient Capital Curve

USAID’s Rajiv Shah delivered the closing keynote last Friday at the Columbia Business School, and before he started I thought I knew exactly what he was going to say. He had spoken at the ANDE Conference just a few days before, and Heather’s post had given me an excellent summary of his remarks. It turned the speech was quite different and loaded with a remarkable announcement: the launch of USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures Program and unveiling of the first group of grantees of the initiative.

USAID is but one of two major players that recently joined the “patient capital curve”; as Rob reported, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla also announced the creation of a new fund focused on innovations that serve the poor, building on the proceeds of his very profitable investment in SKS Microfinance a few years back. In sum, two new players have joined the space and bring with them unprecedented capacity for leverage; their investments and results can unlock unprecedented resources looking for game-changing innovations in the developing world.

These two anouncements also strengthen different parts of the “patient capital curve”. If the first round of grants is any indicationz for the future, USAID’s DIV Program will focus primarily on early stage “high-risk, high-return” ventures. Khosla’s investment profile remains to be seen, but it will likely target ventures that are at a relatively more mature stage. As both initiatives show results, the formation of additional parts of the chain is to be expected; perhaps a BoP private equity fund will be the fundamental consolidation event for this vibrant industry.

Elsewhere on the Web

Today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s focus is water. Next week we’ll run a 4-part series on community scale water solutions; until then, here’s a list of ten previous NextBillion posts that have focused on enterprise solutions to water-related challenges.

  1. Innovative Approaches to Access: NGOs Explore Opportunities in Water

  2. Net Impact 2009: Enabling Access to Clean Water – Top Down Vs. Bottom Up Approaches

  3. A Preliminary Benchmark for Community Scale Water Treatment

  4. Tata Launches Low Cost Water Filter

  5. Silicon Valley VC Firms Tap Energy, Water as World’s “Largest Markets”

  6. Social Entrepreneurs from GSBI 2008: Meet Tendai Mawunga from Pump Aid, Zimbabwe and Malawi

  7. Using Microfinance to Bring Safe Drinking Water to Rural India

  8. Water and Sanitation Discussions at the Clinton Global Initiative
  9. Utilities at the Base of the Pyramid

  10. Major Investments Open New Markets for Water Services

Lastly, Social Edge is running a great discussion on microfranchising, co-moderated by NextBillion friend and ally David Lehr. We’re still Chime in! Our latest on Microfranchising is here, in case you missed it:

Micro Franchising eBook

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