You might think that a lack of investment is the biggest problem facing off-grid energy companies. But as Leslie Labruto and Sarah Bieber at Acumen point out, in an industry that's seen over $1.4 billion invested since 2012, with only $50 million returned to investors, the lack of exits is an equally serious challenge. They discuss a new Acumen report that demonstrates how the shortage of exits is holding the sector back, and what can be done to address it.
Turning Impact Measurement on its Head: A Q&A with 60 Decibels Co-Founders Sasha Dichter and Tom Adams
How should a social business measure its impact? The sector has always struggled to answer that question, leaving many enterprises and investors without useful data about the impact of their work. Acumen is addressing this issue by spinning out a standalone social enterprise called 60 Decibels, which leverages mobile technology to quickly and easily acquire impact data from low-income customers and beneficiaries. Co-founders Sasha Dichter and Tom Adams discuss its innovative model, and the potential it offers to investors, enterprises and the people they serve.
Why Africa’s Energy Sector Needs Transparency: A Q&A with the Head of KawiSafi Ventures, Acumen’s for-Profit Energy Fund
While investing patient capital into for-profit firms has been Acumen’s MO for decades now, the organization itself has remained a non-profit. But in April, Acumen announced that it was doing something it hadn't done before: creating a commercial investment fund. Called KawiSafi Ventures, the for-profit fund has lined up $70 million to boost clean energy firms – and therefore clean energy access – in East Africa. Managing Director Amar Inamdar explores the fund's focus on scalable businesses, and why debt and equity need to start playing nice with one another in the sector.
Press Release: Acumen Launches 60 Decibels to Make Lean Data an Impact Measurement Standard for Impact Investing
The new entity, supported by lead investor Ceniarth, makes customer-centric impact measurement accessible to all, helping social sector organizations listen to those who matter most
- Impact Assessment
Press release: Acumen Announces Nearly $70 Million Close of For-Profit Off-Grid Energy Fund through its subsidiary Acumen Capital Partners
KawiSafi aims to deliver clean, affordable energy to 10 million people, at least half of whom live in poverty, and displace more than one million tons of carbon dioxide in the next 10 years, to address energy poverty and help avert the current climate crisis. To date, KawiSafi has invested $21 million to impact 4.3 million people and avert 360 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
More than 40 million Americans live below the poverty line, and a majority live paycheck to paycheck. That's why, after nearly two decades and over $110 million of impact investments in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Acumen has expanded its focus to include the United States. Amon Anderson and Sarah Willis discuss how Acumen America, through its financial inclusion portfolio supported by MetLife Foundation, aims to build a future where low-income Americans enjoy stability, protection and prosperity.
- Acumen, banking, digital payments, education, financial inclusion, financial innovation, financial services, fintech, impact investing, investment fund, MetLife Foundation, mobile finance, mobile money, mobile phones, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, social impact, sustainability, technology
EarnUp announced its partnership with the nonprofit global venture fund, Acumen. EarnUp is the first recipient of Acumen's financial-inclusion investment under the Acumen America portfolio. For more information visit www.earnup.com.
- North America
For the last ten years, Acumen has been investing in off-grid energy companies in the developing world. In its new Energy Impact Report, the impact investing nonprofit talked directly to thousands of customers about their experiences - good and bad - with these companies’ energy products. Acumen's Kat Harrison discusses the survey's revealing results.