ADAP and the Global Goals: Keeping it Simple

“End poverty in all its forms everywhere.” This statement is clear, comprehensive, and ambitious. It’s the first of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development drafted by the United Nations and agreed to by 193 world leaders in 2015. These goals are very much in the news this week as the U.N. meets in New York. When they were first drafted, the U.N. goals were criticized as overly detailed, unfocused, and vague. The Economist described them as “worse than worthless,” and Foreign Policy lamented that referring to them as “a high-school wish list on how to save the world” seemed “unfair to high schoolers.” Nevertheless, the Global Goals have since been warmly embraced by investors and comp

ADAP's Four-Hour Due Diligence, Part 3 of 3: What we believe

Part 1 of this series described why due diligence needs to change, and Part 2 described the nuts and bolts of our approach. Just as important as the mechanics of our diligence process are the core beliefs that inform that process. These are the things we constantly keep in our minds as we move through due diligence for each company. Here are a few of these core beliefs: 1) We believe that many (perhaps even most) funders have an investment process driven by fear. They find reasons to say “no.” Our investment process is driven by confidence, and we look for reasons to say “yes” (even as we ultimately have to say “no” to far more companies than we say “yes” to). 2) We believe that the quicker

ADAP's Four-Hour Due Diligence, Part 2 of 3: The nuts and bolts

Due diligence can be sluggish, as described in Part 1 of this series. ADAP’s Four Hour Due Diligence process, developed over the last three years, is our approach to revamping how early-stage deals get done. Here’s how it works. While some of the details can vary from company to company - and especially have in the last few months as we’ve been setting up ADAP Fund 2 - the key steps are the same. Ten-minute take ADAP works with a wide variety of accelerators, incubators, investors, and others in the early-stage impact ecosystem to provide qualified companies to consider for investment. For each company of interest, we do what we call a “ten-minute take” (#TMT), which is a very quick review o

ADAP's Four-Hour Due Diligence, Part 1 of 3: Why we need a different approach

Slogging through diligence Among early-stage social entrepreneurs, the problem is well known. When moving beyond friends and family investors to professional seed-stage investors, raising investment capital takes big chunks of an entrepreneur’s time and they are often left with the feeling that it is unwelcome distraction which takes them away from building their business. The process can drag on for many months, creating uncertainty that can severely hobble a growing but cash-poor company. Lots of people recognize the problem. Entrepreneurs spend too much time chasing too few dollars for too long, yet because of a power imbalance between funders and founders, it persists. After all, an inve

The Real Deal: ADAP Deal Room @SOCAP

It’s time for a new Deal Room “Deal rooms” are a mainstay of social enterprise conferences (and investment/entrepreneurship conferences in general), but they are overdue for a rethink. Too often, deal rooms do not result in actual deals, and deal rooms don’t work as well for entrepreneurs as they should. They perpetuate a power imbalance between investors and entrepreneurs, setting up entrepreneurs to be judged and criticized by investors, rather than encouraging the kind of back-and-forth dialogue that supports relationship building and decision-making. Additionally, because the status quo allows investors to take a disproportionately long time to make decisions, entrepreneurs are often lef

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