Patrick Struebi, Founder of Fairtrasa
Born and raised in Zurich, Patrick studied business administration and accounting in Switzerland where he subsequently earned a B.Acc. and CPA degree. He started his business career with the global consultancy firm Deloitte and was hired in 1999 by one of his clients, Glencore, the largest commodities trading firm in the world, where he quickly established himself as a Department Head. Traveling broadly, mostly in emerging markets, Patrick brokered deals in numerous industries and sat on the boards of diverse Group companies. The experience deepened Patrick’s knowledge of international markets, but also showed him the detrimental effects that market dynamics and business practices can have on vulnerable communities and ecologies. This realization inspired Patrick to leave his corporate career in 2004 and explore other avenues for utilizing his passion for international trade while creating a positive social impact.
In 2005, after traveling through Latin America, Patrick founded the social enterprise Fairtrasa to give small-holder farmers profitable and impactful exposure to international markets while supporting sustainable farming practices and providing high-quality produce and wine to European markets. Building the company from scratch in a country, culture, language, and industry that were all essentially foreign to him, Patrick quickly succeeded in pioneering fairtrade avocados in Mexico and (under his award-winning Soluna brand) Argentina’s first fair trade wine. He grew the company with funds from friends and its own profits, replicating its sustainable business model in other developing countries, including Peru, Chile, and the Dominican Republic. At the heart of Fairtrasa’s success was its unique 3-tier farmer development model, which improved on the fair trade norm by providing training, resources, and market exposure to farmers according their specific skill levels. The results were transformational for thousands of farmers and their communities.
To make the Group economically self sufficient, Patrick established his own import companies in Europe—and partnered with another in the U.S.—in order to consolidate a global and vertically integrated supply chain. High-level food industry executives joined the Fairtrasa team, attracted by Patrick’s vision and devotion to fair trade principles and organic, sustainable production. In 2014, the Clinton Global Initiative forged a partnership with Patrick to bring Fairtrasa to farmers in Colombia. Today, Fairtrasa represents over 6,500 small-scale farmers and is one of the largest fair trade and organic fruit exporter from Latin America.
In 2008, Patrick was elected an Ashoka Fellow for his work as a social entrepreneur. At Ashoka, he was one of the first Fellows with a strong background in the for-profit corporate sector, and one of the first to have scaled a for-profit social enterprise globally. More recognition soon followed: He was named an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2011 and Social Entrepreneur of the Year by UBS (2009), the abc* Foundation (2012), Univision (2012), and the Schwab Foundation (2014). In 2014, Patrick was honored by the World Economic Forum as a New Champion, and was invited by the Huffington Post to write a regular column on social entrepreneurship. He is currently a Yale World Fellow and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute.
Brian Robertson of HolacracyOne
Founder/CEO of Cotopaxi
Davis is the CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand with a social mission at its core.
He was previously the Co-CEO of Baby.com.br and Dinda.com.br, Brazil’s Startup of the Year in 2012, which raised over $40M in venture capital. In 2004, he also founded, and later sold, PoolTables.com, America’s largest pool table retailer.
Davis holds an MBA from the Wharton School, an MA in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute, and a BA from Brigham Young University.
CEO/Founder Simple Energy
Nathan Sigworth, Founder
A graduate of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Sigworth was recognized by Inc Magazine as one of the 30 top entrepreneurs under the age of 30. He is the winner of a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award and is a Poptech and Echoing Green fellow.
Gene Wade, Founder & Chairman of University Now
Gene has spent most of his adult life focused on helping to ensure that everyone has access to high quality education. He believes education is the solution to many of the biggest challenges facing people and societies around the world.
Prior to founding UniversityNow, he was co-founder & CEO of Platform Learning, a tutoring company that served tens of thousands of low-income students throughout the United States. He was also co-founder & CEO of LearnNow, a school management company that was sold to Edison Schools where he was an Executive Vice President. Prior to becoming an education entrepreneur, he was a corporate bankruptcy attorney. Gene has an MBA from The Wharton School, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Morehouse College.
Note: I am an investor in University Now.
Jason Panda - Founder & CEO of B Condoms
B Holding Group, LLC / b condoms is the only minority-owned, socially responsible condom company. b condoms reduces teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates, including HIV/AIDS by marketing premium, chic and socially responsible condoms directly to at-risk ethnic communities. b condoms leverages condom sales to fund prevention initiatives, including events, seminars, and health and wellness tours in underserved communities to educate and test the most impacted populations.
Jason Panda is CEO of B Holding Group, LLC / b condoms, a premium condom company with a social mission. b condoms leverages condom sales to decrease teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS rates by funding awareness and prevention initiatives within underserved communities. Jason was recently recognized as one of the "Top 40 Leaders Under 40" by the New Leaders Council and one of the "Ten Young Entrepreneurs to Watch" by Black Enterprise.
He is a member of the Strategic Leadership Council for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Jason has also been honored by the New York City Department of Health, the National Action Network and BET for his work in New York City.
Mr. Panda is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College, where he was an Oprah Winfrey Scholar. He also graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, where he served on the Moot Court Team.
Please note this episode contains references to the fact of sex and sexual transmited diseases.
Collin Gutman is the CEO and Co-Founder of WorkAmerica. In this role, he leads fundraising efforts (having raised >$1M to date) and provides strategic vision for the company. Collin's background in recruiting technology sales led to the formulation of WorkAmerica and its current ideas around the most efficient ways to interface between students and employers. Collin also leads WorkAmerica's government contracting efforts, drawing on his own experience in both sales and working with political campaigns.
In addition, Collin serves as a Partner at Acceleprise, a DC based venture capital accelerator focused on enterprise technology, giving him deep knowledge and expertise in startup operations. Prior to founding WorkAmerica, Collin was the first non-technical hire at EmployInsight and later became Chief Strategy Officer where he spearheaded EmployInsight's enterprise sales effort. Previously, he worked at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a leading venture fund, and Challenge Games, which was acquired by Zynga. He holds a BA in Political Science from Yale and was a member of the Yale Entrepreneurial Society.
Jonas Clark and Amanda Rinderle, Tuckerman & Co.
Jonas and Amanda are co-founders of Tuckerman & Co.—a mission-driven brand that provides great-fitting, professional clothing that is sustainably sourced and manufactured. Their first product is an organic cotton dress shirt—made from premium Italian fabric and manufactured in Fall River, Massachusetts. Each Tuckerman shirt saves ¾ of a pound of pesticides from being used. They raised more than 150% of their Kickstarter goal and are in the process of completing their first production run. Tuckerman & Co is also the first Benefit Corporation launched out of Yale.
Jonas and Amanda are both students at Yale School of Management and will be graduating in May. Previously, Jonas worked as a Dean at Harvard College. He received his M.Div. from Harvard University and B.A. from Haverford College. Amanda was previously a social impact consultant at FSG and life sciences consultant at Trinity Partners. She received her A.B. from Princeton University.
Nancy E. Pfund is Founder and Managing Partner of Investors, a venture capital firm located in San Francisco, whose goal is to combine top-tier financial returns with meaningful social, economic and environmental returns in the regions and sectors in which it invests. As a leading player in the growing field of “impact investing”, has helped to reveal the power of venture capital to promote social change and environmental improvement, and Ms. Pfund writes and speaks frequently on this topic. Ms. Pfund currently sponsors or sits on the board of directors of several companies, including; SolarCity (: ) on both the audit and compensation committees, BrightSource Energy, Primus Power, Eco.logic Brands, EcoScraps, OPx Biotechnologies, Powergenix and, prior to their public offerings, Tesla Motors and Pandora Media. Prior to founding , Ms. Pfund was a Managing Director in Venture Capital at JPMorgan, having started her investment career at Hambrecht & Quist in 1984. Previously, Ms. Pfund worked at Intel Corporation, the State of California, Stanford University and the Sierra Club.
Seth and Barry are the authors of the New York Times bestseller Mission in a Bottle, a business book told in comic book form, which was published in September 2013.
Professor Lynn Stout of Cornell Law School joins us for Episode 6.
Professor Stout is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of corporate governance, securities regulation, financial derivatives, law and economics, and moral behavior. She is the author of numerous articles and books on these topics and lectures widely. Her most recent book is The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations and the Public (Berrerr Koehler 2012), which was named 2012 Governance Book of the Year.
Professor Stout serves on the Board of Governors of the CFA Institute, on the Financial Research Advisory Committee to the U.S. Treasury, as a member of the Board of Advisors for the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program, as Executive Advisor to the Brookings Institution Project on Corporate Purpose, and as a Research Fellow for the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research.
She holds a B.A. summa cum laude and a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a J.D. from the Yale Law School.
Kanyi Maqubela, Partner at Collaborative Fund, joins us for this episode.
Originally from Johannesburg South Africa, Kanyi Maqubela was a founding employee at Doostang, a venture-backed peer-to-peer career marketplace, and a field director at One Block Off the Grid, a renewable energy sales company.
Kanyi holds a B.A. in Philosophy and has done graduate work in philosophy and design at Stanford University.
We are an investment fund focused on supporting and investing in the shared future. The fund centers around two macro themes which I think will be driving business innovation in the coming years: the growth of the creative class and the concept of collaborative consumption.
Specifically, we will focus on the increasing importance of creativity and values (like happiness or transparency) and how that relates to which businesses consumers choose to buy from; as well as the shift from an ownership based economy to an access or sharing based economy.
These two forces present a significant opportunity for new technologies, products, and services to transform how we do business and the way we live our lives.
Andrew Yang Founder and CEO of Venture for America joins us for Episode 3.
Andrew is the Founder and CEO of Venture for America, and has worked in startups and early-stage growth companies as a founder or executive for more than twelve years. He was the CEO and President of Manhattan GMAT, a test prep company that was acquired by the Washington Post/Kaplan in 2009. He has also served as the co-founder of an Internet company and an executive at a health care software startup. Andrew was named a Champion of Change by the White House for his work with Venture for America and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” among other awards. He is the author of “Smart People Should Build Things,” published by Harper Business about the ideas behind VFA (excerpts here and at Amazon). He’s appeared on CNBC, Morning Joe, Fox News, TIME, Techcrunch, the Wall St. Journal, and many other media outlets. He is a graduate of Columbia Law and Brown University and lives in New York City with his wife, son and little white fluffy dog.
Andrew is also author of the book Smart People Should Build Things.
Please note: I am on the board of Venture for America.
Ben Berkowitz Co-Founder and CEO of SeeClickFix joins us for Episode 2. Ben is a proud resident of New Haven, CT. The inspiration for SeeClickFix came from a desire to improve his own community with his neighbors and his government.
Ben and I both are co-founders of SeeClickFix.
Max Ventilla Founder and CEO of Altschool joins for Episode #1.
Max's career has focused on creatively using technology to enrich daily life. He founded Krypteian Systems (acquired in 2001) and the social search company Aardvark (acquired by Google in 2010). At Google, he was part of the founding team of Google+ and then served as the Head of Personalization across Google products. Max earned a bachelor’s degree in Math and Physics and an MBA from Yale University.
Please note, I am an investor in and former board member of Altschool.