As managing director of Ashoka, Andrew Kuper witnessed the tragedy of poor people starting businesses with microloans, only to be wiped out by a fire, a family member’s death, or even a short illness. But one day in a coffee house, staring down at a blank piece of paper, he devised a way for poor people to sustain and even grow their businesses: He would start a private equity firm, LeapFrog Investments, that would invest in microinsurance companies and thereby help bring insurance to more of...

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