02/12/2013 11:08 am ET

The Social Sector Needs To Take More Risk And Accept Failure

In our last post, we talked about how impact investing is where the venture capital industry was 35 years ago. One of the things that characterized the early days of that industry was experimentation. Through an iterative process, the contracts between investors and venture capital firms and between those firms and the underlying venture eventually came to a standardized form. Now, almost all venture capital firms are limited-life partnerships and almost all investments are staged over time and take the form of convertible preferred stock.

So, if impact investing is still within this early stage of experimentation and iteration, what lessons learned from the formation of the venture capital industry might we apply?

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