EdReformer reporting from Hyderabad, India

After serving as chief strategist for Revolution Living (the Steve Case company, no affiliation of Revolution Learning) and Patagonia, Vishal Vasishth returned to India to create an investment house that was a mixture of Goldman Sachs talent and Patagonia values.  Song is a private equity advisor focused on small businesses with the potential of producing public benefit including education, health, finance, and communications.  Vishal believes a sound business model and strong execution can deliver quality at scale.  He believes that enterprise will do more to lift people from poverty than aid.  Soros, Omidyar, and Google.org seem to agree.

After selling a real estate development firm in Atlanta, Bob Patillo formed Grey Ghost Ventures to “invest collaboratively in innovative, early stage enterprises that contribute to the well-being of low-income communities in emerging markets and provide an attractive financial return.”  Bob is leading microfinance and micro-venture investor in India.  A few of his projects include:

  • Village Capital is, as Change.org said what would result if microfinance and angle investing had a baby, “Village Capital focuses on risky early stage social ventures like traditional angel investors, but is using a more cooperative, entrepreneur collaboration model borrowed from microfinance to make their investment decisions.”
  • India School Finance Company extends loans to low-cost (US$5-12/month) private schools
  • Gray Matter Capital is developing a rating system to boost quality of low cost independent school and build access to capital.

It is exciting to see a new generation of funders combine a head for business and a heart for impact.  It is making a difference in India.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


  1. I’m glad to finally get to comment. As someone who has formed three independent schools for underserved populations (two in Harlem and one in Lucknow, India), your blog provides great insight into trends in the public and entrepreneurial education spaces.


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