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Innovator Profiles

Social Venture Fund

Gautam Kaul (c), John C and Sally S Morley Professor of Finance and Managing Director of the Student Social Venture Fund at the Ross School of Business Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies with students (l-r) Anita Bhat, Mauricio Rincon, and Lauren Miller; MBA ‘11

Gautam Kaul on the reason for the Social Venture Fund
“Making money and doing good are invariably viewed as separate goals to be achieved by separate entities in society; this divide is convenient, theoretically elegant, but arguably unsustainable.

The business world needs intelligent leaders who can do good for society in a financially disciplined and rewarding way.”

Zell Lurie Institute Social Venture Fund philosophy
We believe in the catalytic power of for-profit enterprises and entrepreneurial innovation as a source of profound social impact.

We believe that enterprises that put a transformative social impact at the core of their mission and way of doing business can change existing paradigms and generate a sustained competitive advantage.

We deem profit to be both a vital motivator and essential to the expansion of impact investing as an emerging asset class and source of social innovation.

How the fund got started
Kaul, a professor of finance, had been hearing from students with an interest in sustainable finance for many years. More recently, a group approached Kaul with the idea for the Social Venture Fund. Before undertaking it, he made the team do a formal pitch to prove its value for social impact and profitability.

Zell Lurie’s student venture funds
Wolverine Venture Fund
Frankel Commercialization Fund
Social Venture Fund

Funding
Kaul says, “We felt that this was too important to wait on trying to raise money for something.” The 2010 MBA class at the Ross School of Business school pledged its gift to the Social Venture Fund, which is also working on a big fundraising push.

Profiles