Catalytic Finance

About the Catalytic Finance Initiative:

Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs has just launched a new initiative around role of innovation in catalytic finance to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Our guiding principles and values are taking a global approach and looking to the SDGs as an anchoring framework as its becoming the global “framework” for international collaboration to tackle the biggest challenges that the world is facing. We are taking a thought leadership approach (think and do tank) and partnering with existing initiatives advancing this work. We will be studying three emerging areas including catalytic philanthropy, impact investing, and social finance (development impact bonds). Across these, we will also be looking at the role of innovation in the technology sector in advancing this mission. In that aim, initial brainstorming teams composed of small groups of thought leaders in impact investment, academia, and other domains came together to discuss:

  1. How Impact Investing might play a role in advancing the inspiring and ambitious 2030 UN Sustainable Development goals that aim to achieve sustainable development that leaves no one behind.
  2. Exploring opportunities for positive impact, as well as identifying gaps and unintended consequences of Impact Investing.

Founding Team

Radhika Shah, Co-president, Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, Advisor SDG Philanthropy Platform

Radhika grew up in the backdrop of the Gandhi Ashram and is a firm believer in the Gandhian philosophy of dignity for all. 



Jenna Nicholas, Vice-President, Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, CEO of Impact Experience

Jenna strongly believes in linking vision with action and directing investment to the most vulnerable communities. 



Kenneth Singleton, Founding Advisor, Impact Investing Initiative, Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, Adams Distinguished Professor in Management, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University



Eloise Duvillier, Fellow, Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, Program Manager, Project on Democracy and the Internet, Stanford PACS



SDG Philanthropy Platform advisor Radhika Shah started convenings by providing context on SDGs and role of innovative financing modes & tech innovation as potential accelerants of the SDGs. Initial discussions began with Impact Experience style introductions led by Impact Experience CEO Jenna Nicholas, where participants shared their inspirations and allowed the group to get to know each other on a personal level before delving into discussions about impact investing. Some participants were asked to bring objects of great significance to them as part of their introductions. Eloise Duvillier, a fellow at SA&E, has been leading on organizing these convenings at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and at DBL Partners in Palo Alto, and has been gathering feedback throughout to guide the formation of this new initiative. Professor Singleton has been guiding the initiative from the beginning to take on a gap identification and deep root cause approach to survey the field and look at opportunities and challenges. Initially we’ll be starting with analyzing the field and creating content such as articles and blogs, along with existing research, that can inform the community and advance the SDGs.


Initial Round Table Participants

Ira Ehrenpreis, Managing Partner, DBL Partners

Karl “Charly” co-founder, Kleissner, KL Felicitas Foundation & Social-Impact International

Daryn Dodson, Managing Director, Illumen Capital

Lisa Jones, SV2 Board Member

Miriam Rivera, Managing Director, Ulu Ventures

Clint Korver, Partner, Ulu Ventures

Ron Morita, Partner, SV2

Kiki Tidwell, Clean Tech Angel Investor

Amit Patel, Owl Ventures

Keith Coleman, EVP Public Policy/Chief Strategy Officer at Tesla Foundation


Pictures from the first two round table meetings.