“What kind of company should we be and do we all agree on that?” – Interview with Tomás McKenna (part 2)

Blog Post + Podcast Episode – Part 2

Last week I published the first part of my conversation with Tomás McKenna recorded in December 2019. Tomás is a former post-doc colleague of mine who left our lab 1,5 years ago to create his own company – Mother – which is developing Virtual Reality (VR)-based approaches to help people with mental-health disorders. At that time, he had gone through a big learning process which included courses and networking around Stockholm. These allowed him to structure what he wanted for his company and to start planning a strategy to make it a reality. By then, he also anticipated his wishes for August 2020 (when Mother would turn 1 year old): he would have recruited enough funding to pay his team and work with them and would be providing their first VR-based products to patients.

In this conversation, recorded in June 2020, Tomás and I recapitulate the first semester of 2020, from the excitement of the new year followed by the revolution that Covid-19 pandemic brought to our lives.

I highlight here a mention to our participation in early 2020 in the EDGE program, led by Nadav Shir, at Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES). EDGE is a human-centered entrepreneurship program aimed at helping the participants to understand their purpose through a set of discussions on themes such as motivation, self-regulation, well-being and the moral good, in addition to committing to planning and executing a small individual project during the course. Tomás highlighted the discussions on moral goodness and well-being as those which inspired him the most to develop his company further as he started putting his focus on the clear goal – the why – on where he wants to go with Mother, instead of on how to get there.

Due to the pandemic, nothing really went according to plan and Tomás ended up taking this chance to put Mother on pause and work at Söder Hospital (Stockholm) to help on Covid-19 diagnostic tests. We share our experience working in a diagnostics lab in a hospital, as I also worked part-time in Covid-19 testing at Huddinge Hospital. Tomás told me about his learnings and how he used this time to reflect on what his efforts should be to continue building Mother.

In the podcast above you can listen to an interview covering topics such as entrepreneurial training, the importance of clarifying your goals and having an aligned team, making business plans, attracting funding, and visions for this uncertain future. Another conversation full of insights for those tempted in exploring their entrepreneurial side.

If you would like to follow up this story or to learn about entrepreneurship or innovation-related topics in future posts, please leave me your feedback here in the blog. I would love to hear your thoughts and write about what you are interested in! Thank you!

Cover image from pixabay.com

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