2019 Awardees

Tanvi Bikhchandani

2019 IDIF Awardee Tanvi Bikhchandani
Tanvi was born and raised in Delhi, India and attended college at Columbia University in New York. She worked at Central Square Foundation, a venture philanthropy fund in India, where she managed a portfolio of early-stage nonprofits and also served as chief of staff to the managing directors.

IDIF Focus: Handmade in India

Tanvi and her cofounder, Charanya Shekar, aim to improve the livelihoods of textile artisans and craftspersons in India. They will spend the summer exploring ways to work on product improvement and market access — partnering with artisans to create high quality garments that appeal to contemporary audiences and helping them capture a fair share of value for these products.

Stephen Cognetta

2019 IDIF Awardee Stephen Cognetta
Stephen is passionate about ways to innovate the growing mental health crisis in America. After a yearlong cross-country road trip, Stephen is particularly inspired to innovate for the underserved older adults in the United States, for whom retirement is often a suboptimal life outcome. Stephen is the founder of HackMentalHealth (host of the world’s largest mental health hackathon). Previously, Stephen was a product manager at Google.

IDIF Focus: Epilogue

With his startup Epilogue, Stephen will explore new avenues for older adults to express their potential. His core question is “How can we preserve meaning and purpose in the increased aging U.S. population through older adults’ untapped reserve of stories, knowledge, and talents?”

Eric Liu

2019 IDIF Awardee Eric Liu
Eric is a social entrepreneur interested in workforce innovation. He started Bayes Impact, a Y Combinator and Gates Foundation–backed nonprofit that works with governments and nonprofits to improve social services with data science. He was also a venture capitalist at Thomvest Ventures and head of growth at Atrium, a legal technology company. Eric was included in Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2016 for social entrepreneurship. He earned his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley.

IDIF Focus

Eric is working to create tools that improve matching of underrepresented workers, often low income and without college degrees, to good jobs and effective training programs.

Marta Milkowska

2019 IDIF Awardee Marta Milkowska
Marta has more than eight years of experience in social ventures leveraging technology and behavior science for social good in healthcare and education. As a former social enterprise specialist at the World Bank Innovation Labs, she was instrumental in designing innovations in ~$330 million in investments across Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Marta, a $1 million Hult Prize Global Finalist, also cofounded several social ventures, including Dignify, a mobile platform linking refugees to digital micro-work and a machine learning risk prediction tool for HIV patients in Africa.

IDIF Focus: Yoni

Yoni empowers more than 20 million women suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction (a massively under-diagnosed medical condition causing pain with sex, gynecological exams, tampon use, and emotional pain) to take control over their sexual health and comfort. Up to 75% of women experience pain with sexual activity at some point in their lives. Yoni provides women with a physician-approved, at-home digital coach for self care and partner engagement to heal the physical and emotional pain.

Alissa Orlando

2019 IDIF Awardee Alissa Orlando
Alissa is an expert on the future of work. She has built companies that leverage artificial intelligence and contract workers. Before attending Stanford Graduate School of Business, she spent four years in East Africa building the continent’s largest consumer tech companies (Jumia and Uber) and founding an advisory business helping African startups raise venture capital. Alissa has been interviewed by CNBC, Buzzfeed, TechCrunch, and others on how technology will affect job development, and she writes a blog on Medium.

IDIF Focus: Prosper

Prosper seeks to empower workers as millions transition from full-time to independent work. It assists freelancers in collecting payments from delinquent clients and works to prevent late payment in the first place. Prosper will also have an advocacy arm that sets standards for payment rates and contract terms for certain professions, experimenting with new forms of collective action tailored for independent workers.

Julia Reichelstein

2019 IDIF Awardee Julia Reichelstein
Julia is a social entrepreneur, passionate about unlocking opportunity through financial services in emerging markets. She’s spent the past four years working with Entrepreneurial Finance Lab in Peru and Kenya, leveraging alternative data to help extend access to credit to the unbanked. There she designed, implemented, and scaled EFL’s first inclusive mobile product across regions. Julia has held positions with Accion Venture Lab, the World Bank, and Innovations for Poverty Action. She is currently pursing a joint MBA and MPA/ID with Stanford GSB and Harvard Kennedy School, and holds a BA in economics from Stanford University.


FLOAT is exploring how to build financial health and resilience for contract workers in East Africa through an inclusive, employer-based, micro-insurance product.

Kimberly Schreiber

2019 IDIF Awardee Kim Schreiber
Kimberly is a Stanford MBA candidate dedicated to building inclusive housing solutions for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Her passion for this space is inspired by her younger brother Stephen whose experience with autism teaches her daily to reimagine the possibilities for a neurodiverse community. She brings three years of diverse leadership experience from her work in the hyper-growth stage social enterprise Zola Electric, which provides radically affordable clean energy solutions to off-grid communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

IDIF Focus: Inspired Living

The United States is on the brink of a housing crisis for adults with cognitive disabilities with the unfortunate alternative of homelessness for those without a safety net. As both family caregivers and adults with autism age, there is a need to transition adults to semi-independent living situations before family members pass away. Inspired Living is a technology-based network to aggregate and match housing demand; it has a premium consultancy feature to increase available residential units for adults with cognitive disabilities.

Edward Silva

2019 IDIF Awardee Edward Silva
Edward Silva grew up in a big family on a small farm in California’s Central Valley. He attended UC Davis, where he studied international agricultural development and minored in technology management. Over the last six years, he worked in multiple aspects of commercialization of agricultural technology, from launching a company to helping researchers spin out innovations. His calling is to apply advanced technology appropriately to solve major challenges in agriculture.

IDIF Focus: AgAi

AgAi is focused on helping specialty farmers know more about what they grow using plant-level computer vision and AI to count, size, and detect irregularities in crops. This actionable data will allow farmers to optimize produce shipping, pricing, harvesting, and ultimately be more precise with the amount of inputs applied to their crop, with the goal of reducing pesticide and fertilizer applications from crops and the environment.

Elise Smith

2019 IDIF Awardee Elise Smith
Elise is the CEO of Praxis Labs, which improves organizations’ diversity and inclusion outcomes through research-backed immersive learning experiences. Prior to this work, Elise developed edtech products and led B2B sales and edtech partnerships at IBM Watson. Most recently, Elise funded and coached entrepreneurs developing D&I solutions and created D&I research and resources at NewSchools Venture Fund. Elise holds a BA from Dartmouth and is pursuing an MBA/MA in education at Stanford University.

IDIF Focus: Praxis Labs

Praxis Labs reimagines diversity and inclusion training. It leverages the immersive, perspective-taking power of virtual reality to deliver a more effective, scalable solution for organizations by letting users walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Praxis pairs best-in-class D&I curriculum with VR to increase empathy, reduce bias, and create sustained behavior change.

Ray Su and Weili Dong

2019 IDIF Awardee Ray Su
Ray has expertise in product as well as education and senior care.

He founded a social venture for Chinese senior citizens, led the product operation team of an online education project at Tencent, and worked on a strategy analysis project for the pre-K education industry.

2019 IDIF awardee Weili Dong
Weili has expertise in marketing and operations. She operated a team across three continents to launch an electronic trading platform, championed a technology road map with developers, and rolled out a new marketing and pricing system. She also taught in a Singapore school serving people with autism.

IDIF Focus: Inter-Gen

Ray and Weili are exploring ways of supporting senior citizens in China who are lonely and need emotional support, especially through connecting senior citizens with children.

Sami Tellatin

2019 IDIF Awardee Sami Tellatin
Prior to attending Stanford Graduate School of Business, Sami earned a BS in biological engineering from the University of Missouri, where she discovered a passion for land management that led her to work on farms in Missouri and Costa Rica. Afterward, she worked as a project manager for the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program looking at the ecosystem impacts of agricultural practices. Today, Sami is exploring the intersection of profitability and environmental stewardship and looks forward to applying this lens to agriculture.

IDIF Focus

The United States has lost half of its productive topsoil in the last two centuries, yet only a fraction of U.S. cropland is engaged in soil conservation efforts. This project will enhance our understanding of business-driven solutions to the erosion challenge and will specifically examine farmer experiences and needs regarding the practice of cover cropping on Midwestern farms. Through this work, possible business models that meet farmer needs will be explored.