The Case for Catalytic Funding of Latino-focused Startups

[Note: If you're interested in the updated and much-improved version of this pitch--especially if you're a Latino-focused entrepreneur--my gmail address is mark.c.hand.] This year, the Saïd Business School at Oxford launches GOTO, an ambitious project to focus the university’s attention on a particular topic of global import. The first topic is demography, with a focus on …

Why Buffett, Gates, and the Giving Pledge Members Should Be Wary of Impact Investing

The article below was originally posted on policymic.com, nextbillion.net, and skollworldforum.org. Earlier this month, 35 men and women gathered in Santa Barbara, California to discuss how to give away a major slice of their $140 billion of personal wealth. Many had already signed on to the Giving Pledge, a pact pushed by software tycoon Bill Gates …

The three keys to scale (from someone who’s done it)

Over coffee last week, my colleague Akshat asked Gray Ghost Ventures' CEO Arun Gore what three things he considered most important for startups to scale. Arun would know: as Director of Operations and then CFO at what would become T-Mobile, he helped scale that company (then VoiceStream) from 35 employees to 30,000 employees in seven …

Top Trends in Impact Investing 2011: How Did We Do?

At the end of last year, three of us at First Light–Mark, Ross, and Nikhil–put together a blog series on the “Top Trends in Impact Investing and Social Entrepreneurship for 2011.” Ross (now Executive Director of the nonprofit Village Capital) has gone back to take a look at how we did. With blatant disregard for Ross’s …

Hard Questions From (and For) Impact Investors

Akshat and I attended ANDE’s Investment Manager training last week in Chennai, along with an impressive, expressive crowd that included representatives from funds, incubators, foundations, family offices, and even one aid agency. At the end of the week our trainer–Grassroots Business Fund’s own Bob Webster–asked us what questions we felt like hadn’t been answered to …