Acumen Investment Gives Fund Stake In Growing Technology Platform Transforming Rural India

Acumen Fund

Drishtee Kiosks Harness Technology to Increase Accessibility of Critical Information and Services Including Healthcare and Education

New York, NY – Acumen Fund, a leading catalyst for sustainable, scalable solutions addressing poverty in South Asia and Africa, announced today that it has invested $1.6 million (~Rs.72 million) in Drishtee Dot Com, a rural Information and Communications Technology (ICT) platform operating more than 1000 kiosks in India that provide computer and English education, e-governance and digital photography services. Acumen Fund’s investment of $1 million (~Rs.45 million) gives it an equity stake in Drishtee and is being used to finance the growth of Drishtee’s kiosk base and officially launch Quiver Infoservices Limited, a Drishtee subsidiary that will focus on expanding and improving the offerings of the company’s kiosks, including health-related services for the rural poor. Acumen Fund is also providing a concurrent loan to Drishtee of $600,000 (~Rs.27 million).

To continue reading, head over to the press release.

To learn more about Acumen Fund, check out their website and read their blog: Acumen Fund- Entrepreneurial Solutions To Global Poverty.

Latest Trend: Giving Away Riches- Branson Gives $3 Billion To Fight Global Warming

Richard Branson

Richard Branson, the famous entrepreneur who founded the Virgin companies, announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative that he will be giving away 100% of his profits from his travel-based businesses to fight global warming.

“We must not be the generation responsible for irreversibly damaging the environment,” said Branson. “We must hand it over to our children in as near pristine condition as we were lent it from our parents.”

One of the areas that he is targeting is alternative fuels. There is a lot of money (philanthropy and venture capital) going into this area. Expect good things to come out of it.

A “For-Profit” Structure For Google.org Enables Social Entrepreneurship

Google.org

Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are planning to set up Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, as a for-profit with an initial “seed investment” of $1 billion “to tackle poverty, disease and global warming” (Link to NYTimes, sub required).

But unlike most charities, this one will be for-profit, allowing it to fund start-up companies, form partnerships with venture capitalists and even lobby Congress. It will also pay taxes.

It sounds like Brin and Page have thought long and hard about this and are convinced that the cost/benefit of a for-profit status makes sense for Google.org, which plans to kick things off by developing a hybrid car that runs on ethanol, gas, and electricity.

Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, believe for-profit status will greatly increase their philanthropy’s range and flexibility. It could, for example, form a company to sell the converted cars, finance that company in partnership with venture capitalists, and even hire a lobbyist to pressure Congress to pass legislation granting a tax credit to consumers who buy the cars.

I’m really excited about this development because it throws the weight of an 800 pound gorilla into the social entrepreneurship space. If Google.org can figure out a way to create both significant ROI and social ROI, it would give great validation to the idea of making money while doing good.