What's Your Why | A Conversation with Angie Klein, CEO, Visible

The ‘What’s Your Why' series spotlights DivInc’s corporate and community partners and focuses on the motivation behind their desire to work with us, as well as, the goals we both aim to achieve. DivInc is all about telling our community’s stories, and our partners are a critical part of our team. We hope this series gives you some insight into the people and perspective behind the logo.

Visible joined the DivInc partner team as a sponsor for our Spring 2022 Social Justice Innovation Accelerator.

What does the partnership between DivInc and Visible personally mean to you?

Visible is honored to sponsor DivInc’s Social Justice Innovation Accelerator Program to build a more equitable and inclusive world. This felt hugely important to our whole team, especially as we put more roots down in the Austin community. Visible is a company with social impact and community at its core; before we even had a product in market, we launched Visible Connect, our own accelerator program benefiting nonprofits using mobile technology for good. So now, three years after launch and as we expanded our presence in Austin, it felt like a no-brainer to partner with DivInc for its second Social Justice Tech Accelerator, and to help your amazing team continue the important work of supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Please share how partnering with DivInc extends/expands/supports Visible’s equity (DEI) efforts?

Racial equity is one of three key pillars that drives all of our social impact work at Visible. To us, that means amplifying the voices and ideas of those held back by the barriers of racism. Since our founding, we’ve worked to make the invisible visible – to create a groundswell of impactful change by shining a light on people so all of us are seen, heard, and empowered—regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or socio-economic status. DivInc believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion drive innovation, and we think that sums it up perfectly.

"Be someone who truly believes in what is possible for the future - and reflect that energy for your team and those around you." -Angie Klein

What are you most looking forward to as a result of this partnership?

We can’t wait to meet this year’s cohort and see how each company is combining innovative products, community, tech, and activism. These are companies at the forefront of real change, and we’re excited to be a small part of their journeys.

What advice would you give to an early stage founder/company on taking on partnerships such as these? Or, what are key things a founder should consider in a partner?

Before partnering with any organization, I’d tell an early stage founder to make sure they know their ‘why’ first. Why do they get up in the morning and go to work day after day? What mission, that’s bigger than themselves, is driving them? Then, make sure you partner with companies that are like-minded in their worldview, and determine how you can each use your own networks to further your missions. Zooming out, I’d also give my personal advice on how to find your path to success – I call it my  three “I’s.” #1. Be inquisitive. Always be the best student of your business, your industry, and of the broader world. Constantly learning is the best way to succeed. #2. Be intentional. Really intentional. With your time, with your priorities, with your words. Your impact is a direct result of your intent. And #3. Be inspirational. It’s important to be inspired for yourself AND for others around you. Be someone who truly believes in what is possible for the future - and reflect that energy for your team and those around you.

How has Visible been a part of the tech ecosystem in the past?

Well, Visible is the first all-digital wireless carrier in the US – so we’ve always been at the cutting edge of technology. And as it relates to the intersection of technology and giving back, impact has been at the forefront of our mission since we were founded. As I mentioned, before we even had a product, we launched Visible Connect: a virtual accelerator program that provides nonprofits using mobile technology for good with philanthropic capital, mentorship,  and other support to help them scale. In total, the companies that have participated in Visible Connect have used mobile technology to create meaningful impact for more than 5.5 million lives. We’ve expanded our impact to focus on three areas: racial equality, mental wellness and civic action. Through these pillars, we’ve had the opportunity to support additional nonprofits and organizations to help college students who identify as experiencing homeless stay in school, help isolated senior citizens stay connected to family during the pandemic, and provide support to New Majority business owners to help them stay in business.  

Angie, what do you personally feel is an equity issue that should be a focus for us all, and why?

For me, something close to my heart is gender equity. I have the immense privilege of being the CEO of Visible, but I’m all too aware that there aren’t enough women with a CEO title - or enough women in the C-Suite at most tech companies. I’m really proud of our parent company, Verizon, as we do stand out on that front. I’m from a small farm town in Nebraska (an awesome town, by the way) and I didn’t have grandiose career plans growing up. I simply didn’t see people around me, let alone women, in “corporate” roles or large business leadership roles. So I really didn’t know what was possible. But in college, I had the opportunity through a women’s leadership program to meet a number of amazing and successful women in business, in sports, in the military - and I was so inspired. And not only did I get exposure to them, they had exposure to me. And through that program, the highest woman at Walmart at the time offered me an internship on the spot. And her recognition of my potential and giving me a chance to prove it, along with my seeing what was possible for my career, is what gave me the drive to pursue it.  Representation matters, and it was critical for me to see that a woman could rise to the highest levels of a huge company. And now I’m in a position to pay it forward – and I take that very seriously. 

How do you think that issue could be addressed by the work we as DivInc do in partnership with companies like Visible?

I think DivInc is already doing this! The work DivInc has done to generate social equity by equipping underrepresented founders with access to the critical resources they need to build investable companies is remarkable. For these founders to have access to resources and mentors, and to be shown a clear example of what success could look like for them, is essentially what got me to where I am today. I’m proud that Visible can align itself with such a forward-thinking organization. 

Join the DivInc Partner Team!

Click here to learn more about DivInc and join us on our mission to generate social and economic equity through entrepreneurship.

Since 2016, DivInc has worked tirelessly to broaden the startup ecosystem by making it more authentically diverse, equitable and inclusive for people of color, women, and all underrepresented entrepreneurs. When we work with partners like you, we optimize opportunities for economic growth, help reduce the racial and gender wealth divide, and drive greater innovation.

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