Bob patillo

Bob Pattillo

Founder, Grey Ghost Ventures

Bob Pattillo is the founder of Gray Ghost Ventures and is an entrepreneur. He likes to start stuff. He began work in microfinance in 1998 then sold his 54 year old real-estate business in 2003 to focus solely on impact investment and enterprise development.  In real estate he pioneered the “STCDE” shell, a spec building concept that took Robert Pattillo Properties to 8th on the list of the largest industrial developers in the United States.

Bob’s first microfinance work was on the board of the Deutsche Bank Microcredit Development Fund with Asad Mahmood as the fund manager, and a mentor to Bob.  Accion board service soon followed, then work in the Mid-East and North Africa where he helped create a MFI network; the original 17 MFI’s serving 170,000 clients grew over 9 years to 61 MFI’s serving 3MM clients, mostly women, in Yemen, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, strengthening families, communities, and moderate leaders.

An early convert to for-profit social enterprises, he helped start the first CDO in micro-financing, the first secondary market fund (Antares), some of the first MFI ESOP’s, and the first regional MFI accelerator in in India, Bellwether. The success of microfinance has led to investment in other enterprises serving low-income customers in developing countries, including Cell Bazaar, a mobile-phone “Craig’s List” service for farmers in Bangladesh, D.Light, the inventor and distributor of solar-powered LED lamps in rural India, and PharmaSecure.  He helped found:

  1. Gray Matters Capital, an early seed state impact investor;
  2. The Indian School Finance Company, serving 44,000 low income students to date;
  3. Village Capital, a breakthrough peer selection process for early social entrepreneurs that won the Harvard / McKinsey Global Innovation Award;
  4. IDEX, a fellowship strengthening the human capital pipeline for impact enterprises and investors;
  5. CMI, the second largest MFI greenfield bank accelerator in the world;
  6. First Light Ventures, making 26 seed stage investments in 24 months, and the FL Accelerator sponsored by Shell;
  7. APS School Rankings, a market based school assessment enterprise.

Mr. Pattillo is the son of a sharecropper, an eighth generation Georgian, and a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Harvard Owner/President Management Program. He has spoken widely, promoting impact investment to a range of audiences including Goldman Sachs partners in London, Triple Bottom Line Investors in Paris, microfinance leaders in Morocco, students in Boston, Monterrey, and Atlanta, fund investors in New York, Geneva, Munich, and San Francisco, and a handful of billionaires. He is also a regular speaker on the international microfinance and social investment conference circuit.

Per Bob, “The world’s future rests in the emergence of investable enterprises that serve The Last Great Market, the 4 billion people living on $2 a day.  The convergence of hardworking low income customers, innovative investors, and brilliant, committed entrepreneurs into for-profit market based enterprises brings    out the best in people, the most creativity, relentlessness, and care, from the founders to the folks working in the marketplace to the investor putting her capital at risk. And, it so happens that the human capital drags the financial capital along for a surprisingly profitable ride.”