It’s not about how fast you can go

Charlottesville, Virgnia | UrbanizeHub

“Location, location, location.” It’s a real-estate mantra for very good reason. WHERE you are in a city is much more important than how fast you can move. Being at or close to the things you need is the first rule of real estate. And the second rule. And the third!

For most of the last century, transportation and urban planning discussions have focused not on location, but on speed. The planning keyword has been mobility: helping people get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. …

Putting people at the center of urban transformation

Zürich, Switzerland | Dan Luscher

Everyone living in a city should have ready access to essential urban services. Access — to opportunity, to urban amenities, to variety, and to other people — is why people choose to live in cities. The easiest way to travel within an urban neighborhood is to walk or bike — no parking issues, no waiting for an Uber or Lyft, or a bus or train. We should all be able to access most of the places we need to go within a 15-minute walk or bike. Carlos Moreno of Pantheon Sorbonne University in Paris calls this the “15-minute city.” It’s…

Social enterprises and COVID-19

Photo credit: AgUnity

I am in awe of the social entrepreneurs with whom I get to work; they amaze me in new ways every month. Lately I’ve been inspired to see how they are responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis with determination and creativity.

Made for this moment

Some social enterprises have business models seemingly built for a world of remote learning and working. As I brewed my first cup of pour-over this morning I thought of Vega Coffee, whose coffee bean subscriptions are perfect for folks sheltering in place. Vega has created an “Origin to (Home) Office” program that enables employers to provide ethically-made coffee…

Linear thinking during an exponential crisis

Photo credit: University of California, San Francisco

Never in my life has this math nerd seen a basic mathematical concept become so central to a critical public discussion. That concept is exponential growth, and as the global COVID-19 pandemic unfolds we are seeing a clear split between those who understand — or at least accept — exponential growth, and those who either do not understand it or attempt to disregard it. …

By Dan Luscher, Managing Director, ADAP Capital

ADAP (A Different Approach to Poverty) is excited to be a program partner for the first-ever SEED gathering. We believe that early stage impact investing suffers from massive inefficiencies, and we look forward to gathering a diverse group of folks working hard to address these inefficiencies so that we can compare notes and double down on the best ideas.

ADAP will be leading a session at SEED on how to perform thorough, but quick due diligence. We recognize that diligence at the early stage needs to be fundamentally different than traditional investment diligence…

A Drinkwell facility in Manikganj, Bangladesh.

Originally published at on March 13, 2018.

by Dan Luscher and Andy Lower

Providing ready, affordable access to safe water is one of the most critical development challenges. ADAP Capital recently led an investment round in Drinkwell, which works to provide safe drinking water in India and Bangladesh. Co-investors in the round included TPG Growth’s Rise Fund, the 1to4 Foundation, and several individual investors. Drinkwell represents the third deal for ADAP’s Seed Fund 2.

The World Health Organization dubbed the arsenic water crisis “the largest mass poisoning in human history.” Drinkwell has developed a proprietary resin that removes arsenic…

Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and Jackie Robinson in 1950. Photo credit: George Dorrill/Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images.

by Dan Luscher

The Branch Rickey strategy

As a decades-long San Francisco Bay Area resident, regional rivalry obligates me to loathe the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise. But what I like to refer to as the “Branch Rickey strategy” originated with the Dodgers, and it holds important lessons for investors and businesses. Today’s Game 1 of the Dodgers/Astros World Series is a good time to remember this critical part of Dodgers franchise history, and baseball history more broadly.

Branch Rickey, the Dodgers general manager from 1942 to 1950, signed Jackie Robinson and thus broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. Rickey…

A SOCAP Guest Post By Andy Lower and Dan Luscher

Kyle Westaway, Carl Jensen (Good Nature Agro), Teresa Cauvel (Neopenda), Andy Lower

ADAP is thrilled to announce partnerships with two outstanding social enterprises that participated in the ADAP Deal Room at SOCAP this week.

We met the founders of these companies for the first time on Tuesday in the Deal Room, had intensive discussions and due diligence on Wednesday and Thursday, and agreed to deal terms on Thursday. Each company is receiving an investment of $75,000, and one will be receiving a year of legal services from Westaway, the social enterprise law firm.


Photo credit: Numida

A SOCAP Guest Post by Dan Luscher and Andy Lower, ADAP Capital, LLC

What do electric auto-rickshaws, newborn vital signs monitors, and mobile communications have in common? Each is the focus of one of the companies selected for the ADAP Deal Room @SOCAP. Selected from 44 companies that applied, the 8 social enterprises selected to participate represent a diverse range of sectors and operate in 7 different countries in Asia and Africa.

ADAP stands for A Different Approach to Poverty, and the ADAP Deal Room @SOCAP is our attempt to take a different approach to the deal room. This deal…

Keeping it simple

Originally published at on September 20, 2017.

by Dan Luscher and Andy Lower

“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…

Dan Luscher

Strategic advisor @ | founder @ | dad | drummer | trail runner

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