Acumen Fund India Director Varun Sahni speaks at the 2009 Investor Gathering in NYC.
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.
Varun Sahni has focused on building, managing and investing in businesses for low income communities for the past twelve years.
As India Director, Sahni is responsible for all India related investments, operations and business development activities. Additionally, as part of the portfolio management team, he is jointly responsible for the global portfoio of Acumen Fund. Prior to joining Acumen Fund, he worked with both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations focusing on enterprise creation across India.
He has also been involved as an angel investor in a number of companies in the Hospitality Services, Education, and Food and Beverage sectors across India. He received an MA from Columbia University in Political Economy.