Founding Impact
Founding impact in Europe is a podcast dedicated to startup founders and investors. We help them to better understand the latest developments in the ecosystem by interviewing various stakeholders.
Steward ownership - securing the purpose of your company. Guest: Achim Hensen from Purpose Economy
December 2, 2021 • 60 MIN
Have you ever heard of the steward ownership model? It addresses the concern of many founders: “How to secure the company’s values, so they don’t deteriorate over time.” How? There are 2 basic rules we call the principles of the steward ownership model: 1. Shares can’t be sold. 2. The majority of profits get reinvested or donated. As a result, no one can get the power by putting money on the table anymore, and the inheritance rule stops working. Instead, the majority of the voting power stays with people in the company, or closely connected to it. And that, as the examples of Bosch or ZEISS showed, secures the company’s mission and independence. In this episode, we talk with Achim Hansen about the steward ownership model and the opportunities and challenges around it. If you’re wondering what its pros and cons are, check it out. The book that Achim mentioned: - Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux: Purpose Economy Website: Achim’s Linkedin:
From startup to impact investing - Finn Wentzler's entrepreneurial journey
November 4, 2021 • 55 MIN
Taking someone’s business over is difficult. It’s even harder when this “someone” is your relative, and even more so when they are gone. Our latest podcast guest - Finn Wentzler - had to face this massive challenge when his father passed away. Somehow, he not only managed to keep his father’s legacy alive but also started his business journey and became a mature entrepreneur. In the latest episode of the Founding Impact podcast, he shared the story of how his business adventure started, from the moment of making the first steps as an entrepreneur up until now. We shared our thoughts about sustainability, climate change, challenges of running the business, and most importantly, got to know Finn by listening to his story. Now we invite you to go on this journey with us. Check out the full episode and find out more.
From missing classes to helping tech companies do good. Guest: Daniel Di Giusto
October 21, 2021 • 56 MIN
Why is everyone so crazy about communities these days? It's a great way to meet interesting people. As the guest of this episode said, it became his addiction at some point. But it's not only about that. People bring new possibilities. In this episode, we talk with Daniel, the co-founder and Head Of Tech For Good Community at Tech To The Rescue. His story began with the local startup community. He leveraged it and found his sweet spot in the impact space. Now, he's on the mission of matching non-profits with tech companies to solve the world's problems. If you want to learn more about his story, check out the whole episode!
Fashion, sustainability and sharing economy. Guest: Rune Orloff from POOL
October 7, 2021 • 35 MIN
“No one ever picked a product purely out of the impact story behind it. The impact story might have triggered attention to this brand or the product. But at the end of the day you are putting your credit card in, because you like the product and you feel that it fits and it feels good” This might sound exaggerated, but it totally makes sense when you think about it from the fashion perspective. Our purchase decisions rarely depend on whether or not the product is sustainable, but looking at how the fashion industry affects the environment, it should change. Ou guest - Rune Orloff - decided to pursue the challenge of bringing sustainability to this sector and together with Kristian Rix, founded Pool - an impact rental service for high-end menswear. In this episode, we uncovered the biggest challenges, difficulties, misconceptions and mysteries of the fashion industry. Take a listen to find out more!
When do I need a CTO at my startup? Guest: Grzegorz Kołodziejczyk from Ragnarson
September 23, 2021 • 28 MIN
When is the best time to hire the CTO for your project? Is it at the beginning when you’re looking for the product-market fit? Maybe later, when your team grows a bit? Our guest - Greg Kołodziejczyk, heard this question from startup founders multiple times over the last few years. Does he know the answer? Listen to this episode and find out!
How business can help with nature conservation? Guest: Adrian Dellecker from Luc Hoffmann Institute
September 6, 2021 • 51 MIN
There’s a constant pursuit of new, innovative business models to bring new revenue streams to the nature conservation sector. According to our guest - Adrian Dellecker - head of strategy and development at Luc Hoffmann Institute it’s a massive challenge, but also a great opportunity for ambitious startup founders. In this episode, he explained that regulations and governments presence are not the only difficulties in the nature conservation area. Kasia and Maciej had the pleasure to go on a deep journey through the challenges and opportunities around this topic and they invite you to join them by checking out the full episode.
Sustainable supply chains. Guest: Christian Dietrich
August 23, 2021 • 34 MIN
Why exactly are supply chains so complex? Why is it difficult to innovate them? To answer these questions we have to envision that even a simple product consists of many pieces. All of them come from different suppliers, who again have their own suppliers that often change depending on price or quality. This dynamic makes gathering and verifying data about the whole chain extremely difficult, sometimes even impossible. Our guest Christian Dietrich specializes in bringing sustainability to supply chains. In the latest episode, he told us about potential solutions and explained how to develop a sustainable supply chain. Don’t miss out! Check out the whole episode!
How to approach family office investors? Guest: Stanisław Kastory from Firlej-Kastory
August 12, 2021 • 42 MIN
The society’s wealth in Poland started growing after 1989. That’s when many individuals had the chance to build and sell companies, becoming rich. The next generations took over the family businesses and to keep growing them, started reinvesting their profits in other companies, startups, etc. That’s how the first family office investors in Poland were established - and now they’re one of the most flexible groups on the market. In the latest episode, Stanisław Kastory - co-founder of the Firlej-Kastory family office investor firm - told the story of their investment journey to Maciej. He also shared some details about how family offices work and advice on finding the best family office investor for your startup (as well as approaching and working with them). It’s a must-watch for every startup founder looking for funding! If you’d like to find out more, check out the whole episode.
From marketing to impact investing - Kasia's story
July 29, 2021 • 41 MIN
Every career path is different. Many entrepreneurs don’t know which way to go. Even with the career path planned step-by-step, they sometimes ask themselves if what they do is really what they want to do. There’s a lot of uncertainty. In this episode, Kasia shared her story of looking for the direction to pursue, with all the decisions, dilemmas and choices she made along the way. If you’re an entrepreneur wondering which way to go, then you should definitely check out the whole episode.
Is impact in services even possible?
July 15, 2021 • 19 MIN
There are two ways we do business at Ragnarson. On the one hand, we invest in impact-driven startups, on the other, we act as an agency with technical expertise, helping other businesses build different kinds of products, like software as service solutions and online marketplaces. Those two pillars, however, differ a bit. While it’s relatively easy to focus on impact-driven startups on the investor’s side of the business, the thing gets a bit trickier when it comes to the agency. We’re looking for ways to innovate our offer and to bring the impact to the table also on the software development side, and that’s exactly what we discussed in this episode. If you want to find out more, listen to the whole episode.
Why founders can’t ignore their mental well-being? Guest: Joshua Haynes from Masawa
June 24, 2021 • 36 MIN
Investing in startups involves a huge risk. Investment analysts spend hours analysing every detail of startups before the fund, or an angel decides to invest and take a financial risk. It’s a tremendous surprise to see that the whole community - both founders and investors tend to shut their eyes to one of the greatest risk factors of all - mental wellness. The majority of startup failures are caused by human-related elements and around 50% of founders may struggle with the challenges of mental health. If the mental resilience of an entrepreneur is not at its peak then the entire venture can fail. In this episode of the Founding Impact podcast Kasia Zalewska, Maciej Gałkiewicz and Joshua Haynes from Masawa talked about the importance of mental wellness in startups and discussed how investors can support founders and build awareness of mental well-being for the sustainability of their investment portfolios.
How hard is it to reduce companies' emissions? Guest: Tobias Matetschlaeger from Global Changer
June 10, 2021 • 35 MIN
The number of impact-focused ventures in the European market is growing rapidly. It’s an indicator of growing awareness of global problems. One of them is excessive carbon emission. And that was exactly the problem we discussed in this episode together with our guest - Tobias Matetschlaeger from Global Changer. If you want to find out how you can play the role in reducing carbon emissions, listen to the whole episode.
It's time for women to invest! Guest: Terezia Jacova from Lumus Investment
May 20, 2021 • 30 MIN
“We can’t build a world that values women equally if women aren’t a bigger part of the building.” The impact startup ecosystem talks about diversity all the time. And yet, one of the most important parts of the startup environment - angel investors - lacks a female presence. This has many consequences and impacts the entire startup ecosystem. And that’s exactly the topic we focused on in this episode. This time, our guest is Terezia Jacova - co-founder of Lumus Investment, an organization that educates, supports, and connects women to investment opportunities, operating in the CEE region. Check out other episodes and stay tuned for more!
Does Estonia have what it takes to become an impact frontrunner? Guest: Erki Ani from Cleantech ForEst
March 24, 2021 • 26 MIN
If any European country can be considered as a startup super-factory, then it’s definitely Estonia. With growing awareness and more and more companies turning green, it has a great foundation for an impact-driven startup ecosystem. There are many reasons that account for that, like Estonian Startup Visa Program, low corporate tax rate, or affordable living conditions that make this country a perfect go-to destination for European startup founders. And it’s not a surprise that many founders actually decide to go to Estonia, because it really has all you can dream of. It’s a perfect example of how the right approach can boost a startup ecosystem. "#estonianmafia" - because that’s how the Estonian startup community is called - is eager to grow, but also to give back to the community by helping others, mentoring, etc. This, combined with good relations with the government and growing awareness makes the whole country a giant startup incubator. Together with our guest, Erki Ani from Cleantech ForEst, we discussed all the important aspects of the Estonian startup ecosystem and talked about the new impact possibilities growing in Estonia.
Exploring the impact startup scene in Romania with Vlad Gliga from Rubik Hub
February 24, 2021 • 34 MIN
A few years back, Romania wasn’t the primary destination for impact investors looking for interesting projects so far, but it’s changing now. That is because the Romanian startup ecosystem is growing fast. There are more and more impact-driven startups present on the market, willing to make a change and to solve the pressing problems of today. In this episode, Kasia Zalewska and Vlad Gliga from Rubik Hub talk about the tremendous change that has been happening on the Romanian startup scene for the last few years.
Water as a foundation of our economy with Nicola Lei Ravello from White Stag Investing
February 9, 2021 • 40 MIN
Water is one of the Earth’s priceless resources and, being involved in almost every aspect of our lives, it’s the foundation of the world’s economy. This means that a global water problem is a serious threat to almost every business sector. That’s the reason why protecting this natural resource is one of the most important priorities in fighting climate change. In this episode, Maciej Gałkiewicz and Nicola Rei Lavello from White Stag Investing talk about the impact that the global water problem may have on the entire world and discuss the new investment possibilities in this area.
Public money? Sounds easy with Jonas Schorr from Urban Impact
January 20, 2021 • 12 MIN
The most common sources of funding for startups are venture capital and private investors. There is, however, one more very interesting alternative source. It’s the public sector. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of public support systems providing smart money for Impact-driven companies. In this episode, Kasia Zalewska and Jonas Schorr from Urban Impact discuss how startups can benefit from public support. Check the episode and find out!
Mistakes to avoid in your pitch deck
January 7, 2021 • 7 MIN
On average, investors review dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of pitch decks in a year. During the review, they want to find out what the business is all about, what the target group is, and learn about the key stakeholders, vision, and much more. That’s why a pitch deck needs to make a good first impression and contain all the important information. In this episode, we talk about the most common mistakes founders make when building a professional pitch deck.
The relationship between founders
December 16, 2020 • 7 MIN
Investors consider many factors when making an investment decision. One of them is the team - they expect it to be solid, hands-on, and motivated to deliver what the startup promises. That is not always the case. As investors and entrepreneurs, we know that founders face many challenges, and one of the greatest issues is building and maintaining a professional relationship. In this episode, we share our insights on establishing one, provide tangible examples of the most common problems, and advise how to avoid them.
How to ask for intros to investors
December 2, 2020 • 8 MIN
Getting a referral to an investor is one of the best ways to speed up your fundraising process. But you need to follow a couple of rules when asking for a referral. The first and most important one is to always be prepared. Investors might not know which person from their network could be the best fit for you. So if you know who exactly you want to reach, you’ll make the introduction easier for the investor - and more likely to happen for you. Second, you should be aware that if a VC or business angel decided not to invest in your startup, they might not be willing to introduce you to someone else from their network. You can find more examples and practical advice in this episode.