1. Value Proposition
The problem being addressed by the Acumen Fund is one of providing growth investments to small companies in low income countries with the goal being to confront issues of poverty and need through meaningful investment. This is valuable because it provides actual, tangible resources and promotes the growth of infrastructure which is much more likely to lead to real improvements in these countries and raise the standard of living. Source: https://acumen.org/approach/
2. Customer Segments
Acumen seeks out customers or investment opportunities that are both in low income, underdeveloped countries and also provide a solution to the problems affecting the nation in which the company operates. Specifically, the trust primarily targets industries in the infrastructure, healthcare, agricultural, and housing sectors. By doing this the trust hopes to break down the large overarching problems it seeks to address and allow smaller innovators that are more in touch with their community. Additionally, the way they focus on these industries is a great way to focus their limited resources based on what the need actually is opposed to broad aid. Source: https://acumen.org/companies/
Acumen’s channels of distribution are a little less traditional in the sense that instead of delivering a product to customers they are attempting to seek out and invest in companies located in less traditionally invested in regions. To do this more efficiently Acumen has done two primary things. The first being developing a new marketing strategy, both for themselves and the companies they invest in. By doing this they are hoping to gain a greater outreach for their investments and impact more people in the companies nation’s. This also has the goal of expanding Acumen’s own outreach and discovering more companies that fit their investment criteria. The second shift in their delivery channel has been a change in their IT. By changing their accounting and tracking systems they are now able better monitor their investments and help the companies they invest in manage their own operations more efficiently. Both of these things combined help Acumen and their investments reach more people and act more efficiently along the way. Source: https://thegiin.org/acumen-fund
4. Customer relationships
Customer relations are also a little different given the nature of Acumen but similarly to above answer, Acumen has been improving customer relations by implementing better marketing for invested companies and implementing new IT practices. Additionally, Acumen also works directly with these entrepreneurs to help their ventures succede. They do this by having in person meeting and consulting sessions, access to experts, and post investment support. This allows the companies to both have the space they need to grow while also receiving the high level support to help them reach that next level.
5. Revenue streams
Acumen bases the quality their investments not on the dollar amount they see in return, but instead based on the social impact of their venture; or put simply, how many people on the ground it impacts. Because of this Acumen is heavily dependent on philanthropic donations from wealthy individuals and organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These donations make up the bulk of their operating budget and allow them to provide the most for their chosen investments. Source: https://acumen.org/financial-overview/
The key resources Acumen include the capital from philanthropists that they need for their initial investments. This is arguably the most essential resource for Acumen because without the financing they would not be able to do the investments they seek to do in the first place, much less at the same rate and value. The Second key resource for Acumen is their training programs and professionals because these people and programs are essential to the success and development of their enterprises. Finally, the last major resource is the marketing and outreach team for Acumen because this is now they are able to reach these companies for investment and their customers.
Acumen’s partners/donors include organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other individuals who financially contribute to the social enterprise start-ups between the range of $10,000 and $5,000,000+. Their partners also include the passionate and ambitious leaders they fund to start their breakthrough companies and develop it into a profit-making business that will serve their low-income community.
The resources Acumen use include the teams on the ground that provide direct support, the workers at the companies they invest in, the government funding they receive, the relationships they have with company suppliers, and finally the producers of the actual products.
9. Cost Structure
The cost structure of Acumen is set up in a way so that they invest in either equity or debt in the companies they engage with and seek a payback or exit in around 7-10 years. This makes it a relatively long term investment where the people receiving the investment are able to grow and develop with a limited economic burden from Acumen. Source: https://acumen.org/about/patient-capital/