A Tanzanian bed-net manufacturer, a Pakistani drip-irrigation provider and 33 other companies in Africa and on the Indian subcontinent make up the $38 million investment portfolio of the Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that acts a lot like a venture-capital firm. CEO Jacqueline Novogratz, who started the fund in New York City in 2001, says she saw a "need for patient capital between the marketplace and government." Patient it has been only recently have some investments taken off. But along the way, Acumen has helped redefine what development aid should look like.
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