In a recent interview with Mark Minevich, he stated that the most impactful thing a person can do is to become a climate entrepreneur. At Green.org, we agree that entrepreneurship and sustainability is a leading way that individuals can have a massive impact on society. Behind these entrepreneurs are busineses, investors, and leaders who support them and allow their business to grow through funding and mentorship.
Techstars makes innovation accessible to everyone, everywhere. They do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to create a more sustainable and inclusive world. Since 2006, Techstars has invested in more than 3,000 companies and today has a market cap of $166 Billion.
We sat down with Crystelle Desnoyer, Chief of Staff to the CEO, to learn about her journey in tech, venture capitalism, and her passion for they are investing in sustainable entrepreneurs.
Crystelle, thanks for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I have 11 years of experience growing tech and start ups, including two and a half years in e-commerce, five years in management consulting and two years in Venture Capital. I helped grow 26 global technology companies in many fields, serving as their operations, including Marketing Op, and Business Development executive.
My current role as Chief of Staff to Maëlle Gavet, CEO at Techstars (a global pre-seed investment company – 340 employees) has me focused on a few areas including but not limited to: CEO branding, business process improvement, OKR/KPI process management, change management, internal and Board data reporting and BI, external stakeholder management, etc.
Prior to my role at Techstars, my latest venture as VP of Marketing Operations and first employee, at a US based D2C brand led me to launch the brand in 2019 in Germany, France and Italy and grow the company to a a $30+million business by building and leading all 3 teams in just under 2 years. Over that time I also led the launch of 19 SKUs as well as the brand relaunch in all 3 markets in January 2021. Before starting Pomélo+Co., I helped tech. companies in many fields aiming at redeveloping national distribution & sales networks, building strategic go-to market plans by completing market studies, recruiting and training key team members, advising on business development and strategic partnerships, etc.
What is a fun fact about you?
I am scuba diver and travel the world to spend time under water with sharks. I also am a competitive Tango dancer.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
I have been to Antarctica and the Arctic with researchers and I have seen what is going on with my own eyes. That changes you when you experience climate change for yourself instead of “just” being told, even with facts and data. There is something that goes off in your head in terms of urgency when your own eyes have seen what’s to come. And I can tell you, it’s scary. It makes you wonder as an educated 30 something year old women whether you want to have kids and whether it’s worth it as the future is uncertain.
Your survival instinct kicks into gear and that is when sustainability is no longer a nice to have or a fashionable yogi lifestyle but ranks NUMBER 1 on your priority list in everything you do whether it’s in your day to day or decisions made in your business life. And no, it’s not just about not using single use cups at the water cooler. It’s about really applying the ESG framework with key KPIs and goals, just like any other business KPI. Today, not everyone is on the same page, rowing in the same direction. Overcoming that is what will define everything that is to come….
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
I have worked in many industries, from hardware to software, to manufacturing and supply chain management to investment. Investors are very much looking into ESG but not many understand it fully yet. 10 years from now ESG will be part of how we make investment decisions and standards will be clearly understood and integrated within PE and VCs and will be a no brainer.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Everything starts with education – nothing new there. Understanding the true challenges of climate change, what it means in various geographies of the world, the economic impact those challenges have and the tradeoffs that need to be weighed, etc. Being curious and interested is step one. It’s just like going to the gym, 80% of the effort is just showing up there; the actual workout flows naturally and is the last 20% of the effort needed.
Crystelle, thank you for sharing how Techstars is investing in sustainable entrepreneurs.
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Dylan Welch is the CEO and Host of Going Green, a podcast, website, and social media brand that highlights renewable energy, cleantech, and sustainable news.