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Jay Onda: Supporting the Development and Growth of Mission-Driven Founders

Jay Onda: Supporting the Development and Growth of Mission-Driven Founders


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Welcome back! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to make this world more equitable. Today I’m super excited to speak with Jay Onda, co-founder of the Sundial Foundation.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Jay! Tell me, what challenges are you addressing through your organization?

Jay: It’s great to be here, Spiffy! The Sundial Foundation's focus is to support the development and growth of mission-driven founders who are solving for equity, education, employment, and environmental stewardship. We accomplish this by serving our founders through thoughtful programming, access to financing, and access to our network to increase their chances of success, while creating exponential impact and exponential returns supported by our donors.

Spiffy: Very inspiring! What motivated you to do it?

Jay: I have been supporting startup founders globally for over a decade and I began noticing a few trends that caused me to wonder how we can do things better. As technology is advancing in areas like artificial intelligence and robotics, how can we use technology for good? How can we empower purpose-driven people if they are overlooked and underserved? When I got a call from my friends, Frank Blake and Tim West about their idea of the Sundial Foundation, it was the perfect opportunity to collaborate and create change.

Spiffy: How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?

Jay: Our approach is to leverage the venture capital model to our venture philanthropy by working with purpose-driven founders to create businesses that can have venture scale while solving for our 4Es—equity, education, employment, and environmental stewardship. There have been many studies conducted globally proving that successful startups create more jobs and more opportunities, which leads to faster economic development and increases quality of life. We support the people (regardless of their age, race, or gender) who are driven to solve a particular problem that has meaningful outcomes.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience or community?

Jay: The Sundial Foundation is still a startup in many ways and we have been demonstrating our capabilities in various ways. Over two-thirds of our startup companies are founded and led by women. We have helped create countless jobs globally to increase the quality of life. We are discovering unique ways to create exponential impact and exponential return on investment for every dollar that is donated to our foundation.

Spiffy: That’s amazing! Tell me about an inspiring startup that your organization has helped to advance its impact.

Jay: Did you know there are over 340 million people in the United States? If everyone donated USD 1 every year, we could clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If everyone donates USD 1 every month, there would be USD 4 billion to address societal issues. At USD 10 every month, we can end world hunger! The impact of as little as a USD 1 donation every month can really change the world. One of our portfolio companies is set to become the world’s largest giving platform to do exactly this.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Jay—it’s been an honor!

Jay Onda, co-founder of the Sundial Foundation, is an award-winning thought leader in the corporate venture and innovation ecosystems. He serves as an active mentor and advisor to initiatives worldwide and believes in empowering purpose-driven founders and, together, creating a better world for our future generations. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino at Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on January 4, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.