Five Things You Didn’t Know About Impact Investing

MIT Innovations CoverRecently, MIT Press released their latest edition of Innovations, a quarterly journal covering technology, governance, and globalization.

In it, Paul Breloff, Managing Director, Accion Venture Lab, provides an extensive, candid look at impact investing, financial inclusion, and fintech.

As Paul details how Venture Lab was established, how it’s grown and expanded, and the challenges and successes it’s met along the way, you’ll discover these five things you didn’t know about Accion’s seed-stage investing initiative:

  1. In just three years, Venture Lab has already looked at about 1,000 companies. They’ve invested in 22, which means that for every deal they make, they turn down more than 40 prospects.
  2. The trends shaping Venture Lab’s work include a “proliferation of mobile, broadband, and digital technology, and an accompanying explosion of social media…in both developed and developed markets.”
  3. “Investing in startups is more art than science.” More often than not, the team has to make decisions “on the basis of what could be, and not necessarily on what is today.”
  4. To be successful in venture capital investing, you’ll need to spot the difference “between a good idea, a good business, and a good deal.”
  5. It isn’t always about direct impact. Startups can create indirect impact, such as teaching the industry a broader lesson, provoking competitors to respond, or just driving down prices. That’s just as important as the number of clients a startup serves directly.

Make sure to read the piece and let us know what you think about it at @Accion.

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