Acumen Fund is a nonprofit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty. They "seek to prove that small amounts of philanthropic capital, combined with large doses of business acumen, can build thriving enterprises that serve vast numbers of the poor. Acumen Fund's investments focus on delivering affordable, critical goods and services- like health, water, housing and energy- through innovative, market-oriented approaches."
Established in 2001, with seed capital from the Rockfeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation, and three individual philanthropists, the Acumen Fund believes something must be done to extend the benefits of the global economy to the world's population that lives on less than $4 a day. The fund uses philanthropic capital to make disciplined loans or equity- not grants- that yield financial and social returns. Financial returns received are used towards new investments. To date, Acumen Fund has invested in India, East and South Africa, and Pakistan.