PreSeed Launches with Fireside Chat Featuring Serial Impact Entrepreneur, Xavier Helgesen

Each month, Better Ventures convenes top leaders in impact investing and entrepreneurship for a fireside chat, networking, and workshops geared towards early-stage companies.  

For our inaugural event, we couldn't have asked for a better guest speaker. Xavier Helgesen is the founder and CEO of solar-as-a-service startup Off Grid Electric, which has raised over $23M to bring clean energy to people throughout Africa, as well as the founder of Better World Books, an online used bookstore with over $70M in annual revenue. Along with his deep commitment to making the world a better place with scalable business models, his charming personality and great stories quickly won over the crowd. 

A few key themes and highlights from the evening:

Passion: Like all good impact entrepreneurs, Xavier is deeply passionate about making a difference in the world. 

"I had this idea in my head even before we started this that I wanted to do something that was really good for the world." (13:08)

Thinking Big: Despite his large-scale successes, his biggest regret is not thinking big enough!

"Think big. Believe it or not, most of the business mistakes I've made in my life are because I didn't think big enough." (1:03:50)

Intrinsic Impact: The best way to codify your social mission is to build impact into the product so it's inseparable.

"In Better World, the mission was also the supply chain... it was so, so deeply integrated. In Off-Grid's case, because the service directly delivers the social mission, it's so intrinsic to it,  there is no business without it." (1:10:30)

In case you missed it, below is the full video. Join us for our next PreSeed event on October 29th with powerhouse investor, Nancy Pfund, Managing Director of DBL Investors. 

About PreSeed 

Better Ventures PreSeed convenes thought leaders, networking and resources to advance a thriving social impact startup ecosystem in Oakland California. As part of  PreSeed, Better Ventures has mad a $1 Million commitment to fund pre-seed stage companies from Oakland and UC Berkeley. 

Rick MossComment