About “The Money in the Middle”

Lauren Burnhill is the Founder and Managing Director of One Planet Ventures (OPV), a social impact investment consultancy focused on business model and financial product innovation for priority social sector ventures that can improve the quality of life for the working poor.  OPV believes that HOW we invest is as important as WHAT we invest in, which informs a strong focus on developing human capital, supporting good governance and addressing non-financial impact in a practical and integrated manner. In other words, operational excellence is at least as important for the success of an impact investment intermediary as is access to capital. The mission matters, but knowing how to execute on that vision is an entirely different challenge.

Lauren began working in social impact in 1983 at the OAS. Over the past three decades, she has held increasingly responsible positions in emerging markets investments at the IIC, Barclays Bank (BZW), Ariel Ventures and most recently as Chief Investment Officer at ACCION International. At ACCION, Lauren developed new funds, achieved significant impact (end beneficiaries increased from 1 million to 7 million in under 3 years) and generated important financial results. Her experience covers a range of financial instruments across a variety of priority sectors, including microfinance, SME, technology & telecoms, health/nutrition and energy. Lauren’s most notable transaction work includes participating in the establishment of BancoSol (first commercial microfinance bank) and ProFund (first microfinance fund) and in the execution of the Banco Compartamos (first microfinance IPO) and Equity Bank IPOs, as well as the creation of Gateway Microfinance Infrastructure Fund (global first for investing in companies that serve microfinance institutions).

Lauren has extensive governance experience, having served on the Boards of financial institutions, operating companies and non-profit organizations. In addition, Lauren developed and managed ACCION’s governance program and related training activities. She currently sits on the Board of Paralife, a microinsurance company with operations in Colombia and Mexico, and is a member of the Experts Committee of MFX Solutions, a foreign exchange risk management venture that she helped design and launch. As of 2012, Lauren will also serve on the Advisory Board of Mission Markets and is excited to have this opportunity to contribute to ecosystem development for impact investments.

Lauren holds an MBA in Finance & Strategic Planning from Wharton and an MA in Social Change & Development from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Lauren has worked in the Americas, Europe, Africa.  She is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, with some knowledge of German and Italian.



10 responses to “About “The Money in the Middle”

  1. Very interesting points you have observed, thank you for posting.

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    • Thank you for your kind remarks. I know there is a pingback mechanism that allows the original author to approve when someone re-posts (or makes a guest post) because I have authorized re-posting before. I haven’t yet tried to re-post myself though, so I don’t know how it works. Perhaps your web blog has a “help” function that would explain!

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  4. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

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    • Thanks for your kind words. You can reach me via Twitter – @LaurenOPV, or through LinkedIn (Lauren Burnhill). Sometimes I remember to add my twitter handle or my name to each blog post, but other times I forget completely! A lot of spam comes in through the blog though, so I don’t like to make my email address too available.

  6. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  7. Awesome writing style!

  8. Maria Westfried

    Hi Lauren- I have a unique “profit-for-non-profit” hotel project where the profits of the hotel will be donated to a local NGO. Good Hospitality Group is a creative mix of venture philanthropy and and impact investing. The founder will be in DC next week and we would love to get your advice about our venture. Is there somewhere I can send you more information? Thanks for your consideration – Maria

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