Weekly Review – July 18th – 24th


Every week at Invested Development, we scan the web for articles that relate to what we do and what we like. This week we read a lot about start-ups a little about laptops.

These guys might not have the statistics right (Dunn & Bradstreet estimates that over 80% of start-ups are not in business after 5 years), but the advice is solid. Recruiting a strong Board of Advisors is essential and will make an entrepreneurs life a lot easier if they are good. We would only add one additional selection criteria to the list. Make sure they your Board members are willing to speak-up and push back and that you respect them enough to listen.

If you couple this reading with the previous article you will understand our reservations about the present incarnation of this bill. Imagine the pressure the entrepreneurs will face. Beyond the normal pride-crushing, credit-killing, 401K depleting, friend-and-family-fracturing hell that many failing entrepreneurs go through, these guys will also face the prospect of deportation (along with their families).

Microfinance is a big part of start-up firms in emerging markets (and to much smaller extent in the U.S.) It is also the precursor to Impact Investing and still commands the lion’s share of socially responsible investments (SRI) made in emerging markets. So it is now surprise that we think questioning the morality of investors making money of microfinance as relevant. Contrary to what you might think, we don’t agree with the author’s defense of microfinance investors making big bucks (or his childish portrayal of loan sharks as violent thugs – see this post about Gurski’s Loan Sharks). The issue is not profits, but the growing distance between customer and decision maker.

This is starting to feel like the search for the Holy Grail (remember, they never found it), but we like the initiative. This is also interesting because it is not a private sector, free market initiative. It looks like the state did a great job of spearheading the R&D, and is ready to outsource manufacturing. Let’s just hope they don’t try to take on distribution themselves or that $35 might be more like $300 delivered.