Acumen received seed capital from Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and three individual philanthropists and incorporated in 2001. Acumen invests “Patient Capital” which is understood by Acumen as a debt or equity investment in an early-stage enterprise. For entrepreneurs bringing sustainable solutions to problems related to poverty, patient capital aims to bridge the gap between efficiency and scale of market-based approaches and the social impact of pure philanthropy.
Acumen invests in enterprises that provide low-income consumers with access to healthcare, water, housing, alternative energy or agricultural inputs. Typical commitments of patient capital for an enterprise range from $300,000 to 2,500,000 in equity or debt with payback or exit in roughly seven to ten years. Acumen also provides management support services and sees a return of capital in the long-run.