The fifth annual SOCAP conference convened this week, and the impact investing stories are reverberating around the world. Here are some of our favorites from the week.
“Social Enterprise – SOCAP12: A place for ‘disruptive technology’ and ‘personal connection’” by Astrid Zweynert on TrustLaw
In his welcome address, Kevin Jones, the founder of SOCAP, explained the purpose behind the conference: catalyzing disruptive technology and making personal connections. His leading example was Kytabu, an innovative textbook leasing service that makes schoolbooks affordable and accessible for Kenyan students. Founder Tonee Ndungu created the disruptive technology behind Kytabu out of his passion and personal connection to the cause. He’s a prime example of what SOCAP represents. You can watch Jones’ welcome on YouTube.
“Part VI: Achieving Takeoff” By Matt Bannick and Paula Goldman on Stanford Social Innovation Review
Omidyar has published a six-part series of posts on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog that make the case for a sector-based approach to impact investing. The authors argue that focusing on a sector, rather than individual firms, will “prime the pump” and contribute to the scale of disruptive technologies as an inclusive solution to poverty. To prime the pump, the authors note that investors must go earlier, and recommends focusing on education, solar lighting, and mobile payments. This series coincides with Matt Bannick’s presentation at SOCAP (watch here).
“Making Meaning Matter – Venture Gapitalist guide to #SoCap12” by Paul Hudnut on BOPreneur Blog
Now that the SOCAP Conference is “age 5,” Paul Hudnut looks back on how the conference has evolved since the beginning. It’s now attracting a larger, more diverse and global community, largely through its entrepreneurial scholarship assistance program. The impact investing community is still so nascent that it’s hard to determine the effectiveness of conferences like SOCAP at building a sustainable startup community, but Hudnut is confident that it’s moving in the right direction.
“Letter from Nairobi: Vanity Capital and Vanity Companies” by Jonathan Kalan in Impact IQ
Despite the hype around impact investing this week in San Fransisco, the budding marketplace is still stabilizing in markets such as Nairobi. Kalan provides some of the most honest commentary on the Nairobi startup scene to date. Entrepreneurs are scrambling to become the next M-Pesa, but few have found success, likely due to distractions and the hype. Investors like us are working to raise the bar for milestones and metrics that Kalan argues have become “fluffy.” Look out for a quote from our own Sean Smith.