Fast Company

Top 5 Venture Capital Firms: Funding Social Missions

In recent years, a new breed of venture capital firms has emerged to make an impact beyond just profitability. Social venture capital funds are adding a new mission in combination with positive financial returns: social and environmental impact. Highlighting social venture funds across the world, this week’s top five will focus on VC portfolios that range from organic beverages to water purification systems in Rajasthan to fiber optic enterprises making energy companies more efficient.

1. The Acumen Fund

With the mission of reducing world poverty, the New York City-based venture capital fund invests in enterprises that improve the lives of those in developing nations. With branches in India, Kenya and Pakistan, the Acumen Fund has global reach and supports entrepreneurs through its vast network. The unique characteristic of the Acumen Fund is they are non-profit. They take an entrepreneurial approach to solving poverty by way of support programs that focus on health, water, housing and energy. Through their innovative, entrepreneurial approach, they can build a solid business framework to combat widespread poverty in developing nations.Aqua-Aero Water System is an Acumen Fund-sponsored company that recently provided drinking water for remote, arid regions of Rajasthan.

2. Good Capital

This San Francisco-based VC firm invests in social enterprises that create social equity. In essence, they are the bridge between philanthropy and traditional investing. Highlights of their portfolio include Adina’s World Beat Beverages, a fair trade and organic beverage provider that gathers flavors from around the world to create “drink no evil” beverages. In addition to their social entrepreneurs, Good Capital has numerous projects to support education, financial support and engagement, such as their involvement inSoCap—a conference for social enterprises to share and build relationships with like-minded entrepreneurs and VC firms.

3. Underdog Ventures

Bridging philanthropy and profitable enterprise, this Vermont-based venture capital firm is heavily invested and wildly passionate about socially responsible investing. The key element...

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