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Mission Driven

Mission Driven

By Better Ventures

A conversation about how startups leverage their mission as a competitive advantage. Each episode we talk to entrepreneurs and investors to get to the bottom of what it means to build a business with impact. From personal founder stories of how they got started, to how they overcame challenges in hiring, sales and fundraising and how building a mission-driven company helps you outperform the market.

Hosted by Better Ventures in Oakland, CA. Backing mission-driven founders building a better world.
Visit us at www.better.vc


Music credit: bit.ly/1wwpl
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Mission Driven - Episode 10 - Muffi Ghadiali (Electriphi and Ford Pro)

Mission Driven

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Mission Driven - Episode 12 - Michael Lombardo (BookNook)
Mission Driven - Episode 12 - Michael Lombardo (BookNook)
Michael Lombardo, founder & CEO of BookNook, joins Rick on the latest episode of Mission Driven. BookNook is an online collaborative learning platform that provides reading and math support through lessons, gamification, and assessments. They also provide online tutoring services, connecting district students to vetted tutors. The company is on a mission to ensure equitable access to rigorous and engaging instruction through technology innovation. In the episode, Michael discusses the impact of COVID and distance learning on the growth of the company and the pros and cons of being a non-profit vs. for profit in the education and edtech industry. He also discusses the company's commitment to DEIB, including the importance of caring for employees who join mission driven companies. Finally, Michael shares what’s in store for the edtech and education industry and trends he sees emerging.
49:44
August 01, 2022
Mission Driven - Episode 11 - Dr. Eric Whitaker (Zing Health)
Mission Driven - Episode 11 - Dr. Eric Whitaker (Zing Health)
Welcome back to Mission Driven. In this episode, we talk with Dr. Eric Whitaker, Co-Founder and CEO of Zing Health.  Zing's mission is to address social determinants of health to reduce healthcare disparities among historically underserved populations. Their model complements clinical care with behavioral health and community care, collaboration with community partners, technology, and data analytics. Dr. Whitaker began his career as a primary care physician, researcher, and advocate focused on preventive health and healthcare disparities in communities of color and later served as director of the Illinois Department of Health from 2003 through 2007. He then shifted to developing, investing in, advising, and founding innovative healthcare solutions for medically underserved populations, including Next Level Health and Symphonix Health Holdings. In this episode he talks about growing up in and building his career in Chicago, being friends with the Obamas, and the opportunity and impact in underserved communities.  --------------------------------------------------- Mission Driven is a conversation about startup founders on a mission to address the world’s biggest challenges and how they leverage their social mission for competitive advantage. If you liked this episode, please share, follow/subscribe and tag us on Twitter! @BetterVentures @myamazinghealth @drericwhitaker
40:56
March 30, 2022
Mission Driven - Episode 10 - Muffi Ghadiali (Electriphi and Ford Pro)
Mission Driven - Episode 10 - Muffi Ghadiali (Electriphi and Ford Pro)
In this episode, we talk with Muffi Ghadiali. Muffi is the Founder of CEO of Electriphi which was recently acquired by Ford and now is the Head of Ford Pro Charging.  Electriphi is a fleet electrification company at the forefront of the EV industry. They developed a fleet and charging management platform designed to simplify fleet electrification, save energy costs, and track key operational metrics like real-time status of vehicles, chargers and maintenance services. Muffi shared what it was like to build Electriphi from the ground up and through the acquisition by Ford, how his focus on mission helped give the company an edge, and what he thinks is ahead for the EV industry.  Prior to Electriphi, Muffi has 20 years of product experience at companies such as ChargePoint, Amazon, Ouya and Synaptics.  Mission Driven is a conversation about startup founders on a mission to address the world’s biggest challenges and how they leverage their social mission for competitive advantage. If you liked this episode, please share, follow/subscribe and tag us on Twitter! @BetterVentures @muffig @electriphi
31:18
September 23, 2021
Mission Driven - Episode 9 - Davida Herzl (Aclima)
Mission Driven - Episode 9 - Davida Herzl (Aclima)
In this episode we talk with Davida Herzl, Co-founder and CEO of Aclima, a Public Benefit Corporation focused on environmental intelligence. Aclima has pioneered an entirely new way to measure and analyze air pollution and greenhouse gases, block by block and around the world. The Aclima hardware and software technology platform translates billions of scientific measurements from its network of stationary and roving sensors into environmental intelligence for governments, businesses, and communities. A Public Benefit Corporation, Aclima is dedicated to catalyzing bold action to protect public health, reduce climate-changing emissions and advance equity.  Topics discussed in this episode Aclima [1:55] Tackling Climate Change [3:41] Hyper-local Air Quality [4:39] Who are the customers and what are they using it for? [6:26] Environmental Justice [10:39] Latest on Aclima [16:56] How mission has been a competitive advantage for Aclima [19:37] Davida's advice for early-stage founders [33:00] Mission Driven is a conversation about startup founders on a mission to address the world’s biggest challenges and how they leverage their social mission for competitive advantage. If you liked this episode, please share, follow/subscribe and tag us on Twitter! @BetterVentures @aclima @davidaherzl
36:20
April 20, 2021
Mission Driven - Episode 8 - Julia Collins (Planet FWD)
Mission Driven - Episode 8 - Julia Collins (Planet FWD)
In this episode, we talk with Julia Collins, Founder and CEO of Planet FWD about regenerative agriculture, founding her new sustainable food company, and raising money from a diverse group of investors.  We dig into how having such a strong mission of sustainability has been an advantage for Planet FWD in building their brand, attracting talent, creating culture and in fundraising.  Mission Driven is a conversation about startup founders on a mission to address the world’s biggest challenges and how they leverage their social mission for competitive advantage. If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @BetterVentures @JuliaCollins
35:42
February 18, 2021
Mission Driven - Episode 7 - Heidi Patel (Rethink Impact)
Mission Driven - Episode 7 - Heidi Patel (Rethink Impact)
In this episode, we talk with Heidi Patel, Managing Partner of Rethink Impact, a venture capital firm investing in women leaders using technology to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges in digital healthcare, ed-tech, economic empowerment, sustainability. We cover raising their latest fund during COVID, and the ongoing gap and opportunity in funding women-led companies. 
38:52
November 23, 2020
Mission Driven - Episode 6 - Marc Tarpenning (Tesla and Spero Ventures)
Mission Driven - Episode 6 - Marc Tarpenning (Tesla and Spero Ventures)
Marc Tarpenning is the Co-founder of Tesla and a Venture Partner at Spero Ventures. He was one of the original co-founders of Tesla back in 2003 and shares with us the origin story of Tesla as a mission-driven company, and how that mission was a competitive advantage. Spero Ventures invests in early-stage technology companies solving critical problems in: well-being, work & purpose and human connection. Marc brings his passion for climate sustainability to Spero and focuses on their sustainability-related investments such as Drone Seed, Clarity, and Tortuga AgTech. In This Episode We Talk About: The inside story of how Tesla got started and what motivated Marc and Martin Eberhard to tackle such a massive challenge. How Tesla's mission helped them hire top talent, gain buy-in from customers, and raise funding. How Tesla balanced enticing lucrative early opportunities and sticking to their core mission. The rationale for Marc's shift to working in VC and why he chose Spero Ventures. The areas Marc is most excited about investing in. Mentioned in This Episode: Other early investors in Tesla: DBL  Spero Ventures: Website, Twitter @SperoVentures Marc's Recent Investment at Spero: DroneSeed Stay In Touch: Email us at Missiondriven@better.vc Follow Better Ventures on Twitter @BetterVentures Visit www.better.vc
27:37
August 19, 2020
Mission Driven - Episode 5 - Nan Li (Obvious Ventures)
Mission Driven - Episode 5 - Nan Li (Obvious Ventures)
Mission Driven  is a conversation about startup founders on a mission to address the world’s biggest challenges and how they leverage their social mission for competitive advantage.  In this episode we talked to Nan Li from Obvious Ventures about his career in venture, Obvious’ approach to ‘world positive’ investing, and the massive emerging opportunity in investing in biology. We cover his views on computational biology and how the confluence of trends such as the explosion in health data coupled with laboratory automation, advanced robotics, and advanced AI infrastructure have the potential to usher in a new era in drug discovery, green chemical production, food production and many more areas. Having made iconic investments in the category, like Zymergen And Recursion Pharma, Nan walked us through why computational biology is so promising and how it represents Obvious Ventures’ strategy in a microcosm. If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @BetterVentures @obviousvc Ideas for a future episode? Send comments or suggestions to missiondriven@better.vc
31:16
April 13, 2020
Mission Driven - Episode 4 - Erica Mackey (MyVillage)
Mission Driven - Episode 4 - Erica Mackey (MyVillage)
Erica Mackey, Co-founder and CEO of MyVillage. 'Mission Driven'  is a conversation about startup founders on a mission to address the world’s biggest challenges and how they leverage their social mission for competitive advantage. In this episode Erica shares her journey starting her first company, OffGrid Electric, and her current company MyVillage, which is changing the market for early childhood care. If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @BetterVentures @MyVillageTeam We're just starting on this podcast journey and welcome your input! Send comments or suggestions to missiondriven@better.vc
37:25
February 22, 2020
Mission Driven - Episode 3 - Julie Lein (Urban Innovation Fund)
Mission Driven - Episode 3 - Julie Lein (Urban Innovation Fund)
Julie Lein, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Urban Innovation Fund, a venture firm that invests in the future of cities. 'Mission Driven'  is a conversation about startup founders on a mission to address the world’s biggest challenges and how they leverage their social mission for competitive advantage. Today Connor and I explored, in particular, how he leverages his mission for hiring.  Urban Innovation Fund is a venture capital firm investing in pre-seed and seed stage startups shaping the future of cities. They invest in areas such as transportation, energy, water, the future of work, all with the goal of growing and scaling to many cities in the US, and hopefully beyond.  In this episode we talk to Julie about her journey with Urban Innovation Fund and her perspective of mission driven founders, or "maniacally driven" as she refers to it, her perspective on talking to investors about your impact story, and some of the investments and categories she's excited about.  If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @BetterVentures @j2ulie @UrbanInnoFund We're just starting on this podcast journey and welcome your input! Send comments or suggestions to missiondriven@better.vc
27:38
January 15, 2020
Mission Driven - Episode 2 - Connor Landgraf (Eko Health)
Mission Driven - Episode 2 - Connor Landgraf (Eko Health)
Connor Landgraf, Co-founder and CEO of Eko Health.  'Mission Driven'  is a conversation about startup founders on a mission to address the world’s biggest challenges and how they leverage their social mission for competitive advantage. Today Connor and I explored, in particular, how he leverages his mission for hiring.  Connor and Eko are on a mission to bring more data to cardiac care. We first met back in 2013 when he was an undergrad and president of his class at Cal Berkeley. In the six years since they’ve built a thriving business bringing data science and artificial intelligence to cardiac care. They’re digitizing heart sounds, analyzing and scoring them, integrating with electronic health record systems and assisting physicians to make better diagnoses and provide better treatment. Eko just raised a $20m Series B round so the timing was great to get to talk to him.  In this episode we cover how he built the business and how having a clear mission has impacted hiring, branding, and their overall success. If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @BetterVentures @connorlandgraf @Eko_Health We're just starting on this podcast journey and welcome your input! Send comments or suggestions to missiondriven@better.vc
23:12
September 27, 2019
Mission Driven - Episode 1 - Meena Sankaran (KETOS)
Mission Driven - Episode 1 - Meena Sankaran (KETOS)
Welcome to our first episode of Mission Driven!  We were excited to sit down with mission driven founder and inspiring leader, Meena Sankaran, Founder and CEO of KETOS. KETOS provides predictive and actionable smart water data needed for agricultural irrigation, industries and cities. In this episode we explore not just what drives her but how she leverages that drive into a competitive advantage, to outperform and succeed where others can’t. She talks about pitching to investors with authenticity about her social mission turning an otherwise flop of a conversation into a success that led to a full partner meeting. She talks about thinking of interviews as the candidate interviewing her about why they should join the company that can pay as much as Google or Apple, and how she leverages her mission to succeed with the best and brightest candidates. And finally we talk about building a high-performance team that outperforms because of the company’s culture of shared commitment to an important social mission. If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter and stay tuned for our next episodes! @BetterVentures  @Meena_Sankaran  @Ketos_H2O We're just starting on this podcast journey and welcome your input! Send comments or suggestions to missiondriven@better.vc
31:11
September 13, 2019