My guest today is Astrid Scholz, Co-Founder of Zebras Unite and CEO of Sphaera
In the episode, we discussed:
- Astrid’s past experience at Eco Trust (a conservation organization) looking for scalable business models that have landscape-scale impact.
- Her realization that organizations exist and create great innovations but they get siloed because it’s not the organization’s mission to go beyond.
- Astrid’s idea of building a platform that makes it easy to discover, re-adapt, and discover what other companies are doing
- Sphaera Solutions started as SaaS company with a public facing product where anyone can share company solutions, much like recipes. In essence a kind of open source platform for social change
- Astrid’s experience of trying to raise money — “I ran into all the usual problems of raising capital while female” — experienced first-hand the biases and learned that the VC culture isn’t imaginative
- Jennifer Brandel and Mara Zepeda had similar experiences as female tech founders so together the three of them collaborated and wrote Sex & Startups
- The women also realized that they didn’t want to compromise to pursue “growth at all costs” which led directly to the idea of Zebras Unite which is essentially that: “Companies can be built for profit and for purpose that have ambitious goals but don’t grow at all costs”
- Zebras Unite has resonated with thousands of people and how has now grown to be a multi-state cooperative following the mantra of “Zebras fix what unicorns break”.
- “People can be really deliberate about how they create their organizational culture… nobody forces you to pay you 500 times as a CEO what your lowest employee makes”
Here are the direct links to resources mentioned in the episode:
- Zebras Unite website and community
- The article about “Sex & Startups”
- Eco Trust Forest Management