Founders: It’s Finally OK to Change the World.

Ilona Mooney, CEO and Founder at Work Ahead tells us how upcoming startup founders should dream big and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

I recently chatted with a top Silicon Valley VC who loves cigars and whiskey and dreams of working with mission-led companies.

For a long time, I dreamed too. I became an engineer thinking I could use technology to change our world and the course of humanity. Then I graduated and worked in corporations. While it intrigued me intellectually, my work felt insignificant.

Attending and organizing startup events kept my dream alive. But I didn’t understand why most people worked on optimizing marketing workflows, online advertising and the like.

When starting Slush Impact in 2014, I dreamed of finding my tribe. I was secretly worried we would not be taken seriously. I was wrong. Just three years later the main theme of Slush was about solving the most pressing global challenges.

Life’s too short to work on something that doesn’t matter to you. If that’s you, here are a few pointers to help on your path:

1). Norrsken House: A year ago this house opened in Stockholm, housing over 300 entrepreneurs ‘solving some of the biggest challenges of our time’. The house is an initiative of Norrsken foundation that makes investments ‘where doing good meets modern technology’. The fund got started with 20 million USD fund from Klarna’s co-founder.

2). Katapult Accelerator: This Oslo-based Accelerator was launched a year ago for startups that ‘build the world you want to live in’, led by former 500 Startups partner. Its offer is in line with the leading startup accelerators, essentially 100 000 USD investment for 7%.

3). Katapult Future Fest: Also in Oslo, it is an annual three-day event focusing on exponential technologies and impact investing. This year it’s May 14–16th.

4). Transformative Entrepreneurship: Here at Maria 01, one of our fellow founders runs events and a group for those interested in transformative entrepreneurship — startups that change the world for better. The first intimate gathering got 467 people interested.

5). Singularity University: This is a summer-long program in California helping entrepreneurs who want to build a startup to improve the lives of a billion people. During the past years, there’s been a local Finnish competition that sends one person to attend the prestigious program for free.

6). Impactpool: Founded in Stockholm in 2015, Impactpool gathers jobs that relate to international development. Occasionally there are tech/startups related jobs too.

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