Building organizations based on the principles of impact prioritization and giving back is a mission worthy of praise. Connecting individuals who share those business values and accelerating their opportunities by creating international synergies is an important element for the growth of value-driven ecosystems.
And when we think about the Gen Z entrepreneurs of tomorrow, we can easily grasp why now is the right time for more encouragement and enablement of impact-driven business creation. It’s been proven that purpose is the key driver for the younger generation and that almost two-thirds of Gen Z-iers want to personally create something that is world-changing.
The Recursive met with Daniel Dippold who is the President of Sigma Squared Society, a global community that identifies, connects, and supports promising young leaders and innovators under 26. As the organization plans to open a chapter in Bulgaria and connect local changemakers with their global network of impact enablers, we talked with Dippold about the story, mission, and future plans of Sigma Squared.
Currently, the country executive of Sigma Squared in Bulgaria is Petar Zhivkov, the founder of the mobile app AirLief that measures air pollution and its effect on people’s health.
The journey of Sigma Squared
Previously known as the Kairos Society, which started back in 2008 in the US, Sigma Squared started its separate NGO journey in May this year as Kairos aimed to stay focused on its fund. Before its rebranding to Sigma Squared Society, Kairos Society has gained global recognition for helping 10 companies scale to unicorns. Some of the most well-known global entrepreneurs and leaders who have been an active part of the Kairos Society are Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, and Jaan Tallinn, the co-founder of Skype.
The community of Sigma Squared currently outnumbers 1000 entrepreneurs from over 30 countries, has opened nearly 40 international chapters and works with volunteers all around the globe. In the next 5 years, the organization aims to expand to 25 more countries, reinforce network and community-building capacities and position itself as one of the leading global youth entrepreneurship communities that gathers the most promising founders under 26.
Vaitea Cowan, a Sigma fellow, and Director of the Berlin Chapter of the organization is the co-founder of Enapter, a company that is building an electrolyzer that replaces fossil fuels with green hydrogen. Another fellow, Felix Ohswald is co-founder of GoStudent, which is the first edtech unicorn in Europe. Raffael Wohlgesinger, the co-founder of the alternative milk company Formo, is also a Fellow. His startup recently closed the largest Series A foodtech funding round in Europe. And one of our most active fellows and community-builders of Sigma, as shared by Dippold, is Erick Steinberger, the co-founder of Climate Science, the world’s biggest climate education community and platform. Michael Kowatschew, a young Bulgarian entrepreneur and co-founder of the tech-driven innovation company ThePixelBeat.
How does Sigma empower young founders
Dippolod highlights that the biggest benefit for founders who are part of Sigma Squared is being part of the Fellowship itself and having the chance to exchange knowledge, experience, and business ideas with the rest of the selected Sigma Fellows. “Having a ‘give’ mindset is key. Whenever founders from Sigma Squared are hiring or looking for support and feedback, the rest of the community is there to help,” remarks Dippold. This is also the reason why there are many community perks such as free service credits from other fellows. Fellows also have the opportunity to get mentoring, learn from leaders and serial founders about best practices in running and scaling an impact business and gain inspiration from talking with like-minded people.
In order to support the future growth of the impact-driven founders, the Sigma Community also provides them with fundraising opportunities via its network of more than 130 angel investors, VCs, and family offices globally. “The investors who are part of our community are not entirely looking whether a particular venture is impact-driven. More importantly, they are looking for founders with a value-driven mindset,” Dippold says.
Every year Sigma Squared organizes its invite-only global Sigma Squared Summit with the goal to physically gather some of the brightest impact founders and industry leaders. This year the event will take place in a hybrid format on the 30th of October and will unite 100 changemakers at the Learning Center of the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration.
“Our Summit is a very solution-driven event. Many solutions are a product of our Think Tanks which we run during our Summit. For example, we launched a solution for decentralized internet in Paraguay using mesh networks, run by Bjorn Schmidtke, who also started a coding school that teaches Paraguayan kids to code. There’s also been a team-fit focussed AI-hiring tool that came out of the Summit in 2019 called Amploy, and a plastic waste reduction solution which will launch soon,” the President of Sigma explains.
Dippold shares that their next goal would be to focus on developing a platform that would serve as a virtual Silicon Valley and connect Sigma Society fellows and supporters from all around the world in one single online ecosystem.