Hard-Headed, Soft-Hearted

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"How are venture capital firms redefining their role to support both business performance and founder well-being?"

This pertinent question sets the stage for a captivating episode of The Conscious Entrepreneur podcast, where host Alex Raymond, following up on a discussion from the Conscious Entrepreneur Summit in 2023, sits down with Lisa Mikkelsen, Global Head of Human Capital at Flourish Ventures. Lisa shares her insights on how venture capital is evolving to encompass not just business metrics but also the mental health and overall well-being of founders.

In her role, Lisa focuses on various critical aspects like HR, recruiting, and building a nurturing company culture. She emphasizes the importance of addressing the pervasive issue of burnout in startups, advocating for building resilience, self-care practices, and a culture of psychological safety. The conversation also explores the nuanced dynamics between investors and founders, highlighting the need for empathy, trust, and transparent communication in these relationships.

Under Lisa’s guidance, Flourish Ventures implements several initiatives aimed at founder support, including CEO retreats for personal development, founder circles for peer coaching, and individualized coaching services. These programs reflect the firm’s holistic approach to nurturing entrepreneurial talent.

This episode not only delves into the strategic role of human capital in venture capital but also paints a broader picture of the evolving startup ecosystem. It underscores the necessity for venture capital firms to play a more active role in nurturing founder well-being. As the conversation with Lisa Mikkelsen concludes, it becomes evident that the future of successful entrepreneurship lies not just in financial metrics but in fostering environments where founders can thrive both professionally and personally. The call to action is clear: the venture capital industry must lead the way in creating a more empathetic, resilient, and transparent startup culture.


  • “As an entrepreneur, of course, you need to show that you’re strong and things are going well and you have a plan and all of these things. But it’s okay to be real. And we want to make sure that at the highest level, that’s what we’re striving towards.”
  • “It’s great if we’re doing this work for founders and ensuring that they have outlets for building their well-being. But it’s also important that everyone else is doing that too.”
  • “Only 10% of founders feel comfortable sharing difficult or stressful or negative issues with their funders only 10%. That’s a very small number. So I’m thinking about that, like, wow, I don’t want to be the funder that is in the dark. That’s not getting this information. Um, you know, we talk about power dynamics, but in some sense, the entrepreneur has the power because they have the power of information of what’s going on. And their willingness to share that really depends on the relationship that they’ve built with the funder, that they’re not going to be judged, that they’re not going to be thrown out, that all of these bad things aren’t going to happen, that we’ve been programmed to think are going to happen when we share unfortunate news. So having psychological safety is so important to improving that relationship, improving that dynamic.”

Originally posted on The Conscious Entrepreneur


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