Heather Hartnett took a nontraditional path to the world of venture capital, and it’s ignited a great passion for enabling social change through technology and business. She now leverages her experience to help founders build better companies through commitments to diversity, personal wellness and positive impact.

Hartnett began her career in venture capital but was quickly compelled to move into the philanthropy space, where she spent five years on the board of directors for the David Lynch Foundation. When she returned to venture capital, Hartnett decided to merge philanthropy and business through the lens of impact investing. She co-founded Human Ventures, a New York-based venture studio dedicated to building tech companies that make life easier and more fulfilling.

Hartnett believes a company’s impact is determined by the people who run it. In our interview, she explains the benefits of diversity and how to nurture it in the tech industry, as well as how founders can avoid burnout through meditation and care for their emotional health. Ultimately, she illustrates how companies built on solid human foundations can be extraordinary forces for positive change in the world.

Take a look at the Human Ventures website to learn more about the studio’s mission and portfolio companies, reach out to Hartnett on Twitter @HeatherHartnett to thank her for sharing her wisdom and enjoy the show!

In this episode with Heather Hartnett, you’ll learn:

  • How a background in philanthropy can help you in business (9:00)
  • Why the impact of your business is determined by its people (13:10)
  • The obstacles “non-traditional” founders should be prepared to face (21:34)
  • Strategies entrepreneurs and investors can use to nurture diversity in tech (30:00)
  • Why you need to take care of yourself as well as your business (42:35)
  • Tips for diversifying your knowledge base and creating your own luck (44:10)

Please enjoy this conversation with Heather Harnett!



This episode of Powderkeg is brought to you by DeveloperTown. If you’re a business leader trying to turn a great idea into a product with traction, this is for you.

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So if you have an idea for a web or mobile app, or need help identifying the great ideas within your company, go to developertown.com/powderkeg.

If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.

Heather Hartnett Quotes from This Episode of Powderkeg:

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Companies and Organizations:

David Lynch Foundation

Charity: Water



Venture Studios:

Human Ventures


Odyssey of the Mind


Heather Hartnett (@HeatherHartnett)

Joe Marchese (@joemarchese)

Megan O’Connor (@MeganMOConnor)

Bob Roth (@meditationbob)

Did you enjoy this conversation? Thank Heather on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this session and have 3 seconds to spare, let Heather Harnett know via Twitter by clicking on the link below:

Click here to say hi and thank Heather on twitter!


What stood out most to you about what Heather shares in this podcast?

For me, it’s the strategies entrepreneurs and investors can use to nurture diversity in tech.

You? Leave a comment below.


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