Pioneer Fund

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Investing in Livelihoods for the Last Mile

Investing in early stage, innovative and scalable social enterprises that improve the economic livelihoods of the world’s poor in rural and difficult to reach markets, or “the last mile”

Few organizations can successfully and sustainably deliver economic solutions and opportunity to the poor in deep rural areas given the substantial challenges and inefficiencies associated with serving a dispersed population of clients in remote locations.

The Pioneer Fund identifies promising social enterprises that are implementing market-driven business solutions in these challenging markets. Our investments capitalize companies that create income-generating opportunity for the poor and/or deliver tailored products and services to populations at the base of the pyramid.

We favor business models that build a network of meaningful connectivity with the poor in order to best understand and meet their needs, and those that use technology to facilitate and expand that outreach. Our investments aim to enhance and stabilize incomes, increase resiliency to economic shocks, diversify assets, promote financial inclusion and access to new markets, and provide access to actionable information for better risk-management decisions.

We offer early-stage, patient investment capital for enterprises that are committed to a social mission with tangible economic impact at an individual or family level. Our initial investment amounts of $250,000 to $750,000 are designed to fill the pioneer gap* where funding is most scarce and urgently needed in the impact investing sector. Additionally, wherever possible we use Grameen Foundation’s tools and solutions to help strengthen the social performance management, field operations and product offerings of pro-poor organizations.

For more information contact Thomas Light at capitalmarkets [at] grameenfoundation.org.

Pioneer Fund Portfolio Clients

Fondesurco
Peru

Fondesurco’s mission is to improve access to financial services to low-income people in rural areas to help improve their quality of life.  They work primarily with clients engaged in agricultural production and livestock operations throughout southern Peru to provide them with working capital and financing for productive assets.Fondesurco’s mission is to improve access to financial services to low-income people in rural areas to help improve their quality of life. Fondesurco focuses on providing access to financing for clients engaged in agricultural production and livestock operations.

Zoona
Zambia

Zoona seeks to create a cashless Africa, where individuals and organizations can conduct transactions electronically with unbanked or unconnected customers via money transfers, supplier payments, and international remittance payouts. Using proprietary technology and a human network of agents, which are largely located in low-income neighborhoods in Zambia, the company brings financial services to a previously underserved population. The Zoona Agent Network reliably provides a quick, easy, and safe money transfer service to customers at the base-of-the-pyramid.

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