Stefanie Lemcke shares her journey from being an entertainment lawyer to a sustainable entrepreneur, founding GoKid, an app that offers a carpooling solution for schools and families that’s also good for the planet.
Stefanie, thank you for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
Entertainment lawyer, turned management consultant, turned serial tech founder and investor when I discovered the tech scene in New York and Silicon Valley. I was raised in Europe, moved to the States in the early 2000’s. The idea for GoKid, my latest venture was born when I ran into a personal problem: We moved from New York City to the suburbs when our kids were still in elementary school. What no one had told me: there’s so much driving involved – even though our school district has buses I constantly needed rides to get kids to after-school activities or early morning practices.
As a European who biked to school as a kid even in freezing rain I though it wasteful that everyone was driving their kids when we could at least try to pool these resources in a modern and efficient way. The need for modern technology to support carpooling was so obvious to me. Fast forward almost one million rides have been scheduled using our carpool apps and we can not only measure the time parents save, but also CO2 savings.
What is a fun fact about you?
My dad used to joke that I know more villages in India than anyone else – our entire family loves to travel and explore new places. When traveling we try to stay in peoples houses whenever possible – we have done amazing home exchanges to places like Costa Rica, Korea and Vietnam. Seeing and learning from other cultures is important – it helps put things into perspective. Especially in the world of mobility I am thrilled to see American mayors built bike lanes, get scooters into cities and allow for more creative public transportation. Only when you see and experience cities like Copenhagen or Paris, that have become extremely friendly to non-automotive forms of transportation you realize that life style changes can actually work and be beneficial and fun for everyone.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
Climate Change is no longer a theory. We are already living through summers of extreme heat, and see what changes in rain patterns mean for the food supply change. As a mother I feel the urgency to educate and set examples – even if it’s only a small step that I am able to take on my own. When our company went through Village Capitals’ US Energy accelerator I met some of the most amazing founders, each and everyone tackling difficult problems.
We also learned that not each of us will succeed. But even if we fail with our own company or idea, we are setting the stage, promoting our ideas, and help spread the word for others to continue the work. Our society has made incredible technology advances in the past two decades. Our task is to apply these advances to the most pressing topics – to me that is sustainability and climate change.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
Gokid is in the shared mobility space. We are also selling our carpool technology to schools. I envision that shared mobility will be lived in all aspects of our society: It will be easy to book a bus, find a bike, or a shared ride wherever you go. Public transportation will be connected to other forms of transportation, and best of all, we only need one pass to use it all.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
It’s not that hard to make a difference: Reduce packaging, reduce meat consumption, turn off your lights, think about different ways of mobility before you drive alone, chose energy efficient appliances and go electric with your next vehicle purchase. Support local efforts and build with sustainable materials. Talk about your actions.