In this Mentor Spotlight get to know our Endeavor Mentor Philipp Willigmann, Pioneer and Mentor in the Mobility & Sustainability space for a decade and currently, VP Corporate Strategy at Vontier.
Why did you decide to join the Endeavor Network?
I’ve been working with a wide range of start-ups and founders since 2012. Over that period, I have had the opportunity to work with several start-up accelerators, including Techstars and Plug and Play Tech Center. But what drew me to the Endeavor network in particular was something very near and dear to my heart – the organization’s strong focus on quality, sustainability and inclusion. I was also deeply impressed that Endeavor gives founders from diverse backgrounds access to a robust platform for connecting and sharing ideas.
Another reason why joining the network was an easy choice for me: Endeavor shares many of my key focus areas, including mobility, transportation, and sustainability.
Last but not least, this chapter is based in Miami which is where I live. I feel very fortunate to be able to give back and connect to my local community in a meaningful way, ultimately helping others entrepreneurs to succeed.
Tell us about your background and why you decided to become a mentor.
My background is in strategy and tech. Throughout the course of my career I have focused on innovation, scenario planning, venturing and business model disruption across the areas of mobility, transportation, clean tech and smart cities.
Early in my career I co-led building Deloitte’s ecosystem accelerator program. This experience enabled me to begin working with a range of start-ups across multiple industries, eventually honing in on my focus areas of smart mobility, sustainability, and energy transition. Over time, I gained a deeper understanding of the pain points that leading companies and founders encounter in tackling challenges in this evolving ecosystem.
What are the most important qualities and characteristics that mentors should have?
The most important qualities are listening and asking the tough questions. You want to be encouraging, but it’s equally important to be candid and direct when giving feedback and counsel to founders.
Any general advice for entrepreneurs?
Stay focused on your mission and ignore the noise. Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with individuals who are smarter than you and push you to elevate your game, even if it can make you uncomfortable at times. The fact is that it is those who challenge you that also enable you to grow. Seek out those who won’t hold back on offering constructive criticism. Think big and focus on how to effectively scale your organization.
What are you reading?
Reinventing Corporate Growth by Gene Slowinski, Provoke by Geoff Tuff and Steve Goldbach and Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures by Eric Kandel.
These responses have only been edited for grammar.