Kate Goodall, the CEO at Halcyon explains their work this way: “If you think of the X-Men, and you think of Charles Xavier’s Academy for the Gifted, that’s kind of like Halcyon. We take these amazing social entrepreneurs from different backgrounds. They all come together in this inspirational setting to grow together. And they support each other towards solutions that can impact many lives around the world.”
Halcyon supports scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. They are looking for people with a great vision for solving important problems, and who has the talent to do so. For these folks, Halcyon provides resources, information, and connections, allowing them to reach their goals a lot faster than they would on their own.
The core of Halcyon is made up of the Halcyon incubator. They take the best social entrepreneurs from around the world and provide them with a place to live and work for five months. They also provide a $10,000 stipend, a mentor, a business network, business services, and legal advice. After their five-month residency, alumni who live nearby can continue to work out of the Halcyon space for free.
An unusual component to the Halcyon Incubator is, they do take equity in the companies they support. “We come at this through a risk-taking philanthropic perspective,” Kate explains. “We really are like venture capitalists, doing our due diligence on these people and then taking a bet very early on.”
Halcyon was co-founded by Dr. Sachiko Kuno. Dr. Kuno cofounded and was the major shareholder in two pharmaceutical firms: Sucampo Pharmaceuticals in Maryland and R-Tech Ueno in Japan. Kate says of Dr. Kuno, “This is really possible because of her generosity.” Dr. Kuno dedicated the 30,000-square foot house in which Halcyon operates. Dr. Kuno also covers all the operations of the house. Halcyon raises philanthropic capital for the stipends, programs and services.
Another component of Halcyon’s work is the Halcyon Arts Lab, which spun out of the success of the Incubator. “We saw how impactful it was to give people time and space. We figured out how we would do the same thing for civic-minded artists,” Kate describes. Artists get 9 months of free residence and a suite of resources. At the end of their residency, the artists deliver a socially impactful art project. The artists “pay it forward” by mentoring a high-school artist who also produces a socially relevant art project.
“At the core of Halcyon’s methodology is this idea of helping somebody find self-efficacy,” Kate said. “What we mean by that is the ability to envision something, and to take one step over the other to achieve it.”
Halcyon does not to focus on a single sector, such as healthcare or education. “We saw ourselves our expertise, not in one subject area, but rather in the methodology of providing space and time and community and access,” Kate says. “We decided to take anyone with solutions who have demonstrated that they understand the problem and they have developed a sound business plan around it.”
Halcyon specifically focuses on the underserved. “About 5% of VC funding goes to women, 1% to African-Americans, and far less than that to women of color,” Kate says. “And, interestingly, in the art world, the numbers are almost exactly the same when you look at collections in museums across North America and Europe.” Because of Halcyon’s focus on the underserved, 51% of the founders they support are women and 62% are founders of color. “It makes our cohort groups stronger because you get a variety of perspectives when solving any problem.”
Halcyon’s methodology produces measurable results. “In just over three years, the fellows of Halcyon have impacted nearly half a million lives around the world, raised over 25 million dollars and created 350 jobs,” says Kate.Kate Goodall’s Journey to Halcyon
Kate grew up in England where she was the oldest child to a single mother. “I think that made me aggressively independent,” she observes. “I’ve always been a bit of an explorer, very curious.” She and her mother moved to the United States when Kate was 14 years old. It was a time transition and transformation – a new age, a new country and a new culture. “I really learned with the culture shift. I learned to talk to a whole different group of people.”
In college, Kate studied film, French, and world literature. “I was a generalist, or a Renaissance person,” she says. “I’m always fascinated with humans and our struggles and our pain.”
In grad school, she studies maritime archeology. She dove on ship wrecks for many years. “The transferrable skills set from that period of my life is, I learned not to panic.”
Kate’s career took her into philanthropic work, working with organizations such as the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. In 2013, Kate became the Chief Operating Officer of the S&R Foundation with Dr. Kuno. Kate and Dr. Kuno co-founded Halcyon.Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Kate Goodall
“The core of Halcyon is the idea of helping someone find self-efficacy.”
“There is this big myth around fail fast in this space.”
“The kinds of things our fellows are working on are not the kinds of things where failure is an option.”
“We set out intentionally to be diverse.”
“About 5% of VC funding goes to women, 1% to African-Americans, and far less than that to women of color.”
“Focus on what is the core problem that you are trying to solve.”
“In just over three years the fellows have impacted nearly half a million lives.”
“Think outside the box and consider slightly more risky propositions.”Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
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