Lisa Morales-Hellebo — VC, Entrepreneur, and Fashion Tech Community Catalyst

For this edition of FinanciElle “$tatements”, I had the opportunity to interview Lisa Morales-Hellebo.

She is a VC, Entrepreneur, and Fashion Tech Community Catalyst, Co-founder & GP, REFASHIOND Ventures / Co-founder, The New York Supply Chain Meetup / Co-founder, The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation.

Lisa Morales-Hellebo is passionate about helping fashion tech and supply chain startups achieve growth and industry adoption.

As a VC, seasoned entrepreneur, product strategist, and community builder, Lisa knows what it takes to spot and coach a winner — backed by 25 years of working with startups to F500s on strategy and execution across branding, product development, and innovation.

Lisa is currently co-founder of The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation, an organization that is changing how supply chain professionals learn about, collaborate, and adopt supply chain innovation around the world. The New York Supply Chain Meetup is its founding chapter, attracting hundreds of attendees from around the globe to its monthly events.

She is also co-founder and general partner of REFASHIOND Ventures — a NYC-based, early-stage supply chain technology venture fund that invests in startups refashioning global supply chains.  Lisa founded and launched the New York Fashion Tech Lab in 2014, with Springboard Enterprises and the Partnership Fund for NYC while serving as Executive Director for the first year. Lisa’s previous fashion tech startup, Shopsy, raised capital and participated in TechStars after she was selected as one of the Top 10 Women in DC Tech.

Lisa is an active advocate for organizations that help minorities gain access to opportunities for funding, championship, and growth. She serves on the Advisory Board of Puerto Rican accelerator, Parallel18; the luxury resale site, LePrix; and the Board of Directors for The Center for Advancing Innovation.

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Lisa has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets, and is profiled in the bestselling book; Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold.  A distinguished speaker Lisa has keynoted numerous events and participates in panels covering technology, supply chain, fashion tech, women in tech, diversity, and more.

Paolina: You have varied experiences from dealing with Startups through the REFASHIOND venture fund and various accelerator programs like the New York Fashion Lab and Parallel18 and being an entrepreneur yourself. What has been your hardest lesson around money and what two pieces of advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Lisa:

If an investor wants you to go bankrupt and sacrifice your health, you shouldn’t take money from them. Yes, you need to be accountable for doing everything you can to yield upside for your investors, but investors should be a supportive, value-add partner who you turn to first when hitting any issues because you know they have your back and can help you through the valleys, as well as the peaks of entrepreneurship.

Advice:

  • Do your diligence on whomever you are taking money from. The relationship is a 2 way street and just as VCs do their diligence on you, you should do the same on them.
  • Trust your gut. Our “lizard brains” are highly attuned to the most primal of intuition. I’ve learned the hard way that if someone gives you an “ick” feeling in the pit of your stomach, there is always a reason. Any time I have ignored that gut instinct, I’ve been burned.

Paolina: I loved your REFASHIOND Manifesto. I just recently finished reading Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth (highly recommend) and she talks about The Embedded Economy, which nests the economy within society and within the living world while recognizing the diverse ways in which it can meet people’s needs and wants she also talks a lot about designing to distribute. I feel like your definition of a Supply Chain hits both those concepts on the head – Can you talk a bit more about how innovation in supply chain is the foundation for all other sustainable innovation?

Lisa:

When founding The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation, we realized that everyone has preconceived notions of what a “supply chain” is, so we decided to establish the new definition. We arrived at, “The world is a supply chain™,” because it embodies the evolution of these systems. Thanks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, supply chains are undergoing paradigms shifts from paper & spreadsheets to cyber-physical systems and IoT, where everything can talk to everything. Supply chains have been historically opaque due to how globalized they have become, but thanks to digitization, we have the opportunity to develop visibility and transparency that has never been possible before.

Sustainability requires accountability, so our digitized supply chains will become that new means for transparency and accountability via new standards, like blockchain.

The advancement of cyber-physical systems is allowing us to reconfigure and reinvent our supply chains from the ground up with greater efficiencies, sustainability and transparency built in. It is now cheaper and faster for us to build entirely new supply chains paradigms from the ground up than it is to try to retrofit our globalized supply chain with legacy systems.

Paolina: What are your current FinanciElle Faves?

For speaking engagement inquiries and for more information contact Linda Rigano at lindarigano@gmail.com.
Lisa’s social / W lisahellebo.com / T @lisahellebo / LI https://www.linkedin.com/in/supplychainlocalization
REFASHIOND / W refashiond.com / T @refashiond / #TNYSCM / W tnyscm.com / T @tnyscm

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