The Human Connection: Building the World of Tomorrow, Today
Investor, Obvious Ventures
Senior Associate, Obvious Ventures
Associate, Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab
Associate, Morgan Stanley Technology Investment Banking
Analyst, Morgan Stanley Sales & Trading
Product Management, PayPal
Marketing, Stella & Dot
Meera Clark is an engineer, financier, innovator, entrepreneur, writer, and investor. While a student at Stanford, she fell in love with entrepreneurship and the spirit of innovation. On the Morgan Stanley trading floor, she gained a deep understanding of markets and the various points at which industries intersect. Her first role in “organized” entrepreneurship was with the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab – an early stage technology accelerator for multicultural and women-led startups. Now, an Investor at Obvious Ventures, Meera spends much of her time learning about and understanding the structural and environmental circumstances that impact consumer behavior, decisions, and purchasing trends. Her fascination and passion for human behavior and consumer preferences stem from her own multi-cultural, biracial family upbringing in the South – summers in North Carolina and winter holidays in Delhi, India. She discusses with our Program Manager, Sharon Mwale, about taking a people focused approach to investing in innovations and entrepreneurs that are building a world optimized for human health and happiness.
How would you define innovation and/or entrepreneurship?
Obviously – pun intended – there is a lot of overlap. In both instances an individual takes an insight, or piece of information, to build – hopefully for the better! Innovators bring novel ideas to the table. They are creating something that hasn’t existed before, developing new business models, or introducing new technologies and processes. Innovation can manifest via intra-preneurship, within an organization, or via entrepreneurship, existing outside of corporate confines. Through entrepreneurship, founders take an innovative idea and build out a business case that ideally supports a financially viable business. In both cases, innovators and entrepreneurs are challenging the status quo! Not simply riding the train in the direction that it had already been going. Both groups are curious, capable, and excited about problem solving in their exploration of the unknown. Equipped with grit and resilience, it is also worth highlighting that both find lessons in failures. During a challenging time for so many, I cannot underscore this fact enough.
How do you see technology and innovation being leveraged to make healthcare work better, faster, smarter, more efficient, and/or less expensive?
At Obvious, we invest on the basis that technology can be leveraged to enhance consumer health and, relatedly, happiness. As a certified B Corp, we seek out entrepreneurs founding companies that align with our mission of supporting founders building disruptive solitons that solve humanity’s biggest problems. For a variety of reasons, healthcare has historically resisted change. Healthcare providers and delivery systems are dealing with human life, so many ask why change something that they don’t perceive to be “broken” and risk someone’s life or at least their quality of life in the process. Additionally, the healthcare regulatory landscape has significantly limited the ability for solutions to scale. Yet, there is still a lot of excitement in this space and unrealized potential to impact the lives of billions of people worldwide. Talk about cool! Successful healthcare ventures are solving for at least one of three factors: cost, accessibility, and improved outcomes. Technology is also driving a shift in mindset among consumers towards focusing on preventing health issues rather than addressing them with treatment plans – at Obvious, we are big fans of people playing offense rather than defense. What I’m particularly excited about is a future in which underserved and overlooked communities gain access to high-quality and affordable healthcare. It must come and it will come. And it’s on us to make this vision a reality.
What is your advice to women and what actionable steps can they take as leaders or aspiring entrepreneurs in the health & tech industries?
I’m fortunate to have been raised and influenced by a fairly high-powered woman in finance – my mom! Because of her, I grew up thinking that if I worked hard enough, I could achieve the same thing. As you may guess, our world is not quite this simple. Upon entering the workforce, I quickly faced unconscious and conscious biases. At first, they honestly hurt. However, over time I’ve taken these disadvantages and misconceived notions to fuel my work. Based on this experience, there are three pieces of advice I’d like to offer women:
- Tap into your superpower. First, know what your superpower is and then use it as a strength because it WILL help you to keep pushing forward. Women can be successful, but we need to write our own playbook. We don’t have 100% overlap with what men bring to table so own that and excel through leveraging the strength you hold within.
- Become a great communicator. All successful founders are able to convey how they are differentiated from the rest of the pack. As we know, while men are graded on potential, women are graded on results. Know how to convey why you’re in the unique position to deliver what your solution asserts.
- Surround yourself with great minds. You don’t know it all but building a network of experts and advisors put you in a position to always having access to the answers. Build a network of future partners, co-founders, experts, advisors, and sponsors who can help you grow along the way.
Lecky’s Comments:Our featured entrepreneur is in fact crushing it and provides amazing words of wisdom. Clarity about who you are supports the clarity of what you can do and how you should show up. Tap into and embrace your superpower!!
If you would like to recommend a female entrepreneur in healthcare technology to be featured, we encourage you to contact us.
Sharon Mwale Program Manager [email protected]