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.