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Indiegogo's Danae Ringelmann on Why Culture and Values Are Everything

At Inc.'s 17th annual GrowCo event, Danae Ringelmann offered some wisdom. Among other things, sometimes two plus two equals ten.
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If you understand your company values and your company culture, that can help you figure out your business strategy.

That was just one key tip that came from an impassioned keynote address by Danae Ringelmann, co-founder and chief development officer of crowd funding company Indiegogo Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee. Ringelmann spoke during a keynote address at Inc.'s GrowCo Conference.

And that small pearl will be valuable to any small-business owner dealing with uncertainty or a lack of direction. Ringelmann's message was clear: find yourself and find your certainty.

Her mission? "Democratizing" access to capital. That's always been top of mind, ever since she was a child, when she watched her parents toil as entrepreneurs.

"They struggled for 30 years to get a business off the ground and could never access a bank loan without refinancing their mortgage," Ringelmann says.

Hence, opening up access to capital for the world's entrepreneurs and others was something Ringelmann says became her guiding light. That preoccupation factors clearly into the mission of Indiegogo, the people she hires, and how people work at the company.

Here are three more tips from Ringelmann:

  • Align priorities. Make sure employee values are aligned and that that sense of alignment percolates into every aspect of the business.
  • Get out of the way. Indiegogo realized it could not be a referee if it wanted to democratize finance. All ideas looking for funding were valid. "We had created an open platform and the last thing we wanted to be was a gatekeeper and we did not want to kill the next Facebook and the next cancer drug," Ringelman says.
  • Work with other smart people, it will be more fun and more interesting than working by yourself and you'll come up with unusual ideas.

"I want to work with people where two plus two equals ten," Ringelmann says.

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: May 21, 2014

JEREMY QUITTNER | Staff Writer | Staff Writer, Inc. and Inc.com

Jeremy Quittner is a staff writer for Inc. magazine and Inc.com. He previously covered technology for American Banker and entrepreneurship for BusinessWeek.




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