Shaffi Mather, founder and CEO of Dial 1298 for Ambulance, and David Kuria, founder and CEO of Ecotact, speak at the 2009 Investor Gathering in NYC. Acumen Fund Partner Peter Cain moderates.
Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund, uses entrepreneurial approaches to tackle problems associated with poverty. Established in 2001 by Jacqueline Novogratz, Acumen Fund has pioneered the use of market-based approaches to bringing critical goods and services to low-income people. Working with innovative entrepreneurs in impoverished regions throughout the world, the businesses that Acumen supports focus on water, health, housing, energy, and agriculture.
Through its work Acumen Fund seeks to prove that small amounts of philanthropic capital, invested with large doses of business savvy, can establish sustainable and thriving enterprises. Acumen believes that poor people seek dignity, not dependence, and their global team -- with offices in four countries -- work to enable people to solve their own problems instead of providing them with aid. The key is patient capital. Acumen Fund uses philanthropic capital to make disciplined investments -- loans not grants -- that yield both financial and social returns.
With over twenty-five investments throughout Pakistan, India, and East Africa, and many more in the pipeline, Acumen believes that using entrepreneurial and market-based approaches to poverty, they will work to finally solve the problem of poverty.
Stuart Davidson has been involved in investing in
early stage companies for the past 17 years. He is a managing director of Labrador Ventures. He also
directs the Phalarope Foundation, which focuses
on enterprise development, and is a trustee of
the Cancer Research Institute. He is a member of
Acumen Fund's Board of Directors.
David Kuria is Founder and CEO of Ecotact, which builds and operates high-quality, public, pay-per-use toilet and shower facilities on public land in urban centers.
He was a winner of the Africa Regional Social Entrepreneur of the year 2009.
Shaffi Mather is a social entrepreneur and lawyer. He is a co-founder of Dial 1298 for Ambulance, Mumbai's first private 24/7 ambulance service.
Employing a cross-subsidy pricing model, 1298 operates with sliding scale fees for services, facilitating access for all, including those unable to pay.