This book is for anyone interested in shifting the status quo about how capital can work for impact. It is filled with personal insights and concrete examples that anyone interested in impact investing or blended finance can learn from and use.”

CATHY CLARK Faculty Director, CASE and CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing, Duke University

A worth-while read for investors interested in exploring ways to make private equity and venture capital work as a force for good in a rapidly changing and turbulent world”

CLAUDIA ZEISBERGER Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise and Founder of the Global Private Equity Initiative at INSEAD School of Business

Market-based solutions for some of the world’s biggest challenges can be successful only if the industry embraces big thinking and moral imagination. In Scaling Impact, Kusi Hornberger offers a compelling roadmap on how to reconstruct capitalism to center impact, people, and planet.”

JAQUELINE NOVOGRATZ Founder and CEO of Acumen and bestselling author of The Blue Sweater and Manifesto for a Moral Revolution

Kusi has done a terrific job defining and distilling the pathways for how capital can be invested for impact. Anyone interested in impact investing or social entrepreneurship will find this an insightful and practical source of ideas and examples on how to do it.”

BRIAN L. TRELSTAD Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School and Partner and Board Member at Bridges Fund Management

Filled with personal anecdotes and thought-provoking perspectives, Kusi has written an exceptional book relevant for anyone interested in learning more about innovative finance and impact investing.”

AUNNIE PATTON POWER Associate Fellow at Oxford's Saïd Business School and Author of Adventure Finance

I hope anyone interested in entrepreneurship and investing for impact picks up this book and reads it. The book is filled with thought-provoking insights on how to rethink the way traditional finance and investment approaches can work toward the betterment of founders and business owners across the globe.”

BRIAN REQUARTH Co-Founder of Latitud and Bestselling author of Viva the Entrepreneur

A must read for anyone interested in finance, technology and sustainable development. Kusi shares insights from his two decades of hands-on experience on how to make finance and investment work for a better world.”

DR. SANTITARN SATHIRATHAI Group Chief Economist, Sea ltd

Re-channeling financial flows from dirty to clean is the key to tackling climate change. There’s no way around it. In Scaling Impact, Kusi Hornberger provides a step-by-step guide in doing just that: how and why governments, companies, and the rest of us as individual investors, consumers, and voters need to focus on this all-important lever to punch well above our individual weights.”

GERNOT WAGNER Climate economist at Columbia Business School and Author of Climate Shock

Brings refreshing clarity and new perspectives to the challenges of investing for impact. Full of great insights built on real-world experience which can be put to good use by investors and DFI staff alike.”

NEIL GREGORY Senior Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University, Former Chief Thought Leadership Officer, International Finance Corporation


The global challenges confronting us ― climate change, poverty, inequality, and many others ― can feel overwhelming. Those of us who believe in market-based solutions to these challenges get even more disheartened when we regularly see our existing capitalist system failing us, often causing more harm than good. Many examples show how the capitalist tools of finance and investment can and do make real, positive impact. Approaches like blended finance and impact investing can help accelerate progress against the world’s biggest remaining collective challenges. Yet use of these improved capitalist approaches remains far too subscale. Blended finance and impact investing remain 15 to 200 times smaller than traditional approaches to finance and investment.

Scaling Impact looks at how we can start making these necessary changes using strategies, structures, and practices that take advantage of capitalism’s strengths. Its goal is to demonstrate how a reimagined financial system can be more inclusive and accountable to all.


PARADIGM SHIFT 1: Commercial banks, fintechs, and other providers of financial services to individual consumers need to shift from creating access to improving financial outcomes.

“Just as we believe that impact performance measurement must focus on outcomes and not outputs, we also believe that the goal of financial institutions serving underserved customers must go beyond providing access — the goal should be to enhance their customers’ well-being. Now, to be clear, no one creating a new fintech or microfinance organization is against this goal. Everyone wants to do more than just provide access. So, it’s not a question of intentions, but rather a question of whether people regularly have access to the data to know whether or not they are enhancing customer well-being.”

Quote from Chapter 3: “Measure impact with client voices” – an interview with Sasha Dichter, CEO and co-founder of 60 Decibels

PARADIGM SHIFT 2: Venture capitalists need to shift away from a model predicated on exponential growth toward a more patient approach focused on the true financing needs of the diversity of small and growing businesses. 

“The Silicon Valley model of venture capital established in the early 1970s focused on the quickly developing integrated circuits and computer hardware industries, and venture capital today continues to follow that traditional and rigid ten-year funding cycle. The underlying assumptions of this model no longer hold true, however, especially in emerging markets, leading to misalignment between companies and their investment partners. Real value is not created in the short term by generating the fastest return and focusing only on owners and investors; rather, it requires patience and consideration of the full range of stakeholders, shareholders, and employees and on the long-term interests and values of affected communities.”

Quote from the opening of Chapter 5: “Explore Alternative Approaches to Better Serve Enterprise Needs”

PARADIGM SHIFT 3: Large scale public and private market investors should shift away from doing the minimum with financial-return first ESG investing toward more intentional, impact-first driven approaches, with real measurement and accountability.

“I recommend that to develop an impact investing strategy, one should closely follow the steps one would take to deploy capital. My approach starts with defining strategic intent and then embedding those practices into your investment processes. Next, it moves to developing tools and resources to assess expected impact at origination and how those tools and resources are used to monitor and enhance performance within investors. Finally, one evaluates impact at exit and reinforces the impact by using feedback loops and independent verification to ensure the impact thesis and outcomes are continuously improving as capital is continuously deployed.”

Quote from inside Chapter 7: “The Difference Between ESG and Impact Investing and Why It Matters”

PARADIGM SHIFT 4: Development finance institutions (DFIs) need to shift away from acting like risk adverse investment banks toward providing more risk-tolerant catalytic capital that can blend with traditional, more return-seeking sources of finance and accelerate achievement of development goals.

“A large chunk of blended finance flows through development banks. A donor will give a trust fund to a development bank. The development bank will blend and put a transaction together with that blended source. If that is the case, then we need them to be thinking about blending in a different way. Right now, as far as I can tell, the blending is to reduce the risk of the transaction for the development bank.”

Quote from Chapter 12: “Challenge the development finance status quo” – an interview with Joan Larrea, CEO of Convergence the leading global network of blended finance practitioners

PARADIGM SHIFT 5: Donors and philanthropists need to shift away from funding models that focus on the completion of activities toward using innovative finance tools that pay for results.

“The failings of business-as-usual donor and philanthropic spending practices when tackling complex social problems are widely recognized. Many academic studies have highlighted problems such as the rigidities of traditional programming, disincentives for using evidence, too little focus on results, and an overreliance on “cookie-cutter” approaches rather than searching for context-specific solutions.”

Quote from Chapter 13: “The Unrealized Potential of Results-Based Finance”

PARADIGM SHIFT 6: Capital providers of all types need to shift away from providing capital alone towards combining finance with customized support to enterprises to ensure their impact potential is realized.

“Identifying and selecting the right enterprises to participate in a capacity-building program, particularly those focused on pre-investment, is critical. High-performing capacity-building programs are more selective than low-performing programs and tend to target enterprises and entrepreneurs with common characteristics, including enterprises with proven ability to generate revenue, some form of intellectual property, and founders with higher levels of education or management experience.”

Quote from Chapter 17: “Fulfilling the Potential of Capacity-Building Services”


Kusi Hornberger is a partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, based in the Washington, DC office. In addition to serving as Dalberg’s Global Knowledge Lead, Kusi also co-leads Dalberg’s Finance & Investment Practice and is particularly passionate about the use of innovative finance and technology to accelerate achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the course of his career, Kusi has led more than 200 advisory projects on a wide range of topics related to blended finance, financial inclusion, impact investing, impact measurement and management, and innovative finance with leading bilateral and multilateral donors, development finance institutions (DFIs), family offices, foundations, and private investors around the globe.

Prior to joining Dalberg, Kusi was Vice-President of Investment Research at Global Partnerships, an impact-first investor with investments across Central/South America and East Africa. He also has experience working as a management consultant at Bain & Company in South America, as an Investment Officer with the International Finance Corporation, and as consultant with TechnoServe Inc. in East Africa. He started his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, where he served two years as a math and computer science teacher in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kusi holds a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD Business School in Singapore, a Master of Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. Kusi was born in Lima, Peru, grew up in West Philadelphia and currently resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife and daughter.