Patient capital

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Patient capital is another name for long term capital. With patient capital, the investor is willing to make a financial investment in a business with no expectation of turning a quick profit. Instead, the investor is willing to forgo an immediate return in anticipation of more substantial returns down the road.

In economics, capital consists of an asset that can enhance one's power to perform economically useful work. For example, in a fundamental sense a stone or an arrow is capital for a caveman who can use it as a hunting instrument, while roads are capital for inhabitants of a city.

Although patient capital can be considered a traditional investment instrument, it has gained new life with the rise in environmentally and socially responsible enterprises. In these cases, it may take the form of equity, debt, loan guarantees or other financial instruments, and is characterized by:

Equity (finance) difference between the value of the assets/interest and the cost of the liabilities of something owned

In accounting, equity is the difference between the value of the assets and the value of the liabilities of something owned. It is governed by the following equation:

Debt deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future

Debt is when something, usually money, is owed by one party, the borrower or debtor, to a second party, the lender or creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future, which is what differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The debt may be owed by sovereign state or country, local government, company, or an individual. Commercial debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest. Loans, bonds, notes, and mortgages are all types of debt. The term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value. For example, in Western cultures, a person who has been helped by a second person is sometimes said to owe a "debt of gratitude" to the second person.

Return of capital (ROC) refers to principal payments back to "capital owners" that exceed the growth of a business or investment. It should not be confused with Rate of Return (ROR), which measures a gain or loss on an investment. Basically, it is a return of some or all of the initial investment, which reduces the basis on that investment.

Patient capital PatientCapitalgraphic.jpg
Patient capital

The source of capital may be philanthropy, investment capital, or some combination of the two. Patient capital is not a grant, it is an investment intended to return its principal plus (often below market-rate) interest. It does not seek to maximize financial returns to investors; it seeks to maximize social impact and to catalyze the creation of markets to combat poverty. On the spectrum of capital available to both non-profits and for-profits, patient capital sits between traditional venture capital and traditional philanthropy, between development aid and foreign direct investment.

Philanthropy means the love of humanity. A conventional modern definition is "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life", which combines an original humanistic tradition with a social scientific aspect developed in the 20th century. The definition also serves to contrast philanthropy with business endeavors, which are private initiatives for private good, e.g., focusing on material gain, and with government endeavors, which are public initiatives for public good, e.g., focusing on provision of public services. A person who practices philanthropy is called a philanthropist.

Venture capital start-up investment

Venture capital (VC) is a type of private equity, a form of financing that is provided by firms or funds to small, early-stage, emerging firms that are deemed to have high growth potential, or which have demonstrated high growth. Venture capital firms or funds invest in these early-stage companies in exchange for equity, or an ownership stake, in the companies they invest in. Venture capitalists take on the risk of financing risky start-ups in the hopes that some of the firms they support will become successful. Because startups face high uncertainty, VC investments do have high rates of failure. The start-ups are usually based on an innovative technology or business model and they are usually from the high technology industries, such as information technology (IT), clean technology or biotechnology.

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times describes patient capital as having "all the discipline of venture capital – demanding a return, and therefore rigor in how it is deployed – but expecting a return that is more in the 5 to 10 percent range, rather than the 35 percent that venture capitalists look for." [1] Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen adds: patient capital "takes the best of the markets as well as philanthropy and aid. Patient capital is money invested in entrepreneurs building companies and organizations that solve tough problems like healthcare, water, housing, alternative energy." [2]

Thomas Friedman American journalist and author

Thomas Loren Friedman is an American political commentator and author. He is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. Friedman currently writes a weekly column for The New York Times. He has written extensively on foreign affairs, global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues.

Jacqueline Novogratz American businesswoman

Jacqueline Novogratz is an American entrepreneur and author. She is the founder and CEO of Acumen, a non-profit global venture capital fund whose goal is to use entrepreneurial approaches to address global poverty.

Notes

  1. Friedman, Thomas L. (2007-04-20). "Patient Capital for an Africa That Can't Wait". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
  2. Novogratz, Jacqueline (June 2009), A third way to think about aid, TED, retrieved December 18, 2017

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