Founder and Investment Committee Member
Bob Pattillo, the founder of Gray Matters Capital, is a name that resonates as much with the global impact investment and social enterprise development space today, as it did in the US industrial real estate sector back in the 90’s.
Named in the Forbes Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs (2011) list, Bob is considered by many as an iconoclast who debunked the notion of having to forsake financial returns to achieve social impact. It is his indomitable risk-taking spirit nurtured during his days in real estate which makes Bob foresee trends and capitalize on investment opportunities.
He founded Robert Pattillo Properties in 1994 and 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.
It was in 1998, when Bob was testing waters in microfinance, did he get a taste of the impact capital can make to the lives of those belonging to lower income groups in developing countries.
In 2001, Bob founded the Gray Ghost Microfinance Fund (GGMF), a $69m fund that focused on regional equity microfinance funds providing start-up and expansion capital to microfinance institutions around the world. According to a report by BCorp released in 2016, four of the top five impact funds were led by investments from GGMF.
Besides being the founder of Gray Matters Capital and GGMF, Bob also founded Gray Ghost Ventures, First Light Ventures, GMC Ratings, Indian School Finance Company (ISFC) and IDEX.
He is the co-founder of Bellwether Fund, ASA International, and Village Capital and has served as an adviser to many global investors and foundations, including Omidyar, Chilton, Goldman Sachs, TONIIC, and JP Morgan.
According to Bob, "The world's future rests in the emergence of investable enterprises that serve the 4 billion people living on $2 a day. The customers of these enterprises require goods and services they value at a price they can afford. The work 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.
Bob sold his 54-year-old real estate business in 2003 due to the influence of his then 11-year-old daughter to focus solely on impact investment and enterprise development. His eyes still well up whenever he narrates the incident outside the parish.