This is an installment of our DC Innovators project to profile 75 of the most innovative people in D.C. We continue with Kate Glantz, founder and CEO of Heartful.ly. The 75 profile subjects will also be finalists for our 50 on Fire awards in December. Read about Glantz's background and our Q&A with her below.
Kate Glantz is an entrepreneur with a mission to make weddings a public good. She founded philanthropic wedding registry platform startup Heartful.ly early in 2015 after a career in international development. Following a term of service with the Peace Corps, she worked at the CDC, the State Department and returned to work for the Peace Corps at their D.C. headquarters. Her work has included diplomacy for the U.S. effort against HIV and AIDS and creating an advocacy campaign to fight malaria that reached 30 countries.
Glantz's search for a way to make a broader impact inspired the creation of Heartful.ly, but it was joining the Halycon Incubator last fall that really kickstarted things for her, transforming Heartful.ly from a well intentioned concept to a workable business model. Heartful.ly now offers a list of partnered non-profitsto choose from as an alternative or in addition to other wedding registries, with nine percent per donation going toward Heartful.ly's revenue.
Glantz has been raking in awards since her launch. She's won a spot as a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, won first prize at the InGENuitY 2015 Millennial Entrepreneur Pitch Contest and first place at the women's edition of Startup Weekend among others.
In any industry, there is the pitfall of thinking too much alike everyone else. How do you challenge yourself to think differently?
I always try to be transparent. I'm part of a new generation of founder, without a specific background, without thinking just one way, I can't [be caught] in what others are doing. I can do what they do and be medium or I can do what I'm doing and kick ass.
What is an unlikely place that you find sources of inspiration?
The story of Kate Spade. It's just so amazing. But I'm also always looking at what's trendy, what's in pop culture, for ideas.
What job have you had that has had the greatest impact on your career?
Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer laid the whole foundation of my life and the way I see the world. It changes everything.
How much of an effect did being part of the Halcyon Incubator have?
It was game-changing. All of the resources there, my mentor Kavevin Alansky and the other staff, they made it possible. I would not have navigated the craziness of an early stage startup as well without them.
If you could change something about D.C. or the D.C. tech scene instantly, what would it be?
Sometimes it's not the easiest or most conducive place to run a consumer-facing business, especially with regards to raising capital. It's a very risk averse community of investors. It would be better if they could see [which startups] are worth taking a chance on.