Besuch aus den U.S.A. I: Heather Lord

Wir haben kurz vor dem Finale zum Demo Day noch zwei Startups Experten aus den Vereinigten Staaten einfliegen lassen, die uns als Mentoren bei POWER TO IDEA unterstützen. In unserer ersten Episode interviewen wir Heather Lord – Sie ist Social-Impact-Expertin und kommt aus New York. 

 

Heather Lord and Nelson González vor dem Bauhaus in Dessau. Foto © Benjamin Knispel

 

Thank you so much from heading over from New York to Dessau. We know that you are a kind of design geek – so, how are you feeling at Bauhaus Dessau?

HL: It feels like a pilgrimage to be here at Bauhaus because it’s the home of so many of my favourite architects and designers, it’s amazing to be here at the source to experience their idea factory and absorb their genius.

 

What are the key success factors to run a startup as a young founder?

HL: The most important thing for investors in general is to bet on the jockey, not necessarily on the ponies. There are so many good ideas out there – how to save the world, how to make a million dollars, how to invent this or that new device, but one of the most important factors is: who is the team and who is the leadership. The social and emotional IQ of the leaders cannot be ignored or understated in understanding wether a startup is successful or not.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience here at the „Power to Idea“ Accelerator?

HL: It is really interesting for me to be sitting with all of this entrepreneurs who are part of this program at Bauhaus Dessau. Like the former leaders and designers from Bauhaus, these emerging entrepreneurs are looking for the blind spot in their sectors. It’s so inspiring to learn from all this different founders what social or technological problem they are trying to solve and how they are trying to mobilize and do that.

 

As an expert for social impact what does the future of the startup scene will look like?

HL: The divisions between what we commonly think of as the philanthropic/social impact sector versus traditional for-profit businesses sector have become increasingly blurred over the last 10 years, and will likely continue to do so. Major brands and for-profit companies have done significant research showing that a big part of their short and long-term success and appeal to consumers and investors requires that they also have some thesis to address social issues – environment, economic development, etc – in a way that is a complement and a booster for the company. This is not just warm fuzzies – this affects bottom lines. All entrepreneurs today need to make sure they have thought about how to do this and how to talk about it and implement it as a core part of their strategy – and this is in fact what I help companies do in my work at V&H Social Impact. We see that social impact investors, venture capital investors and legal business structures are adapting to respond to this demand in society.