Unconscious bias? A name is enough.
Unconscious bias. A name is enough. Mentessa. Mentoring. Democratising Collaboration.

When British prime minister Boris Johnson wins a contest for a most offensive poem, people laugh and elect him for being natural and entertaining. He is a politician. His job is to practice diplomacy.

When model Heidi Klum dances in a torn dress laying bare her underwear people criticize. Heidi is an entertainer. Her job is to be entertaining. The situations look different at first, but at a second glance they scream #bias.

A bias is a cognitive illusion, a distorted perception of reality.

Daniel #Kahnemann, psychologist, Nobel laureate, and best-selling author, attributes bias to our ability of "thinking fast". Judging a situation authomatically and intuitively in order to survive and learn in a world full of information and danger. In this context, bias is a tool.

In one way or the other, we are all #biased - by our education, environment, and prior experience. For example when we expect corporates to be clumsy, startup founders young, or French to drink wine for lunch.

Compared to bias, #unconsciousbias is a prejudice we are unaware of. Unconscious bias is not a tool, but a pitfall, and often discussed in the context of #diversity#inclusion, and #leadership. In regard to gender, it is judging people dependent on their sex.

A famous scientific study showed a significant influence of unconscious bias on the perceived likeability of a person. The study involved a text, an ambitious candidate profile. The text was presented with a male name to a test group, and with a female name to a control group. Other than the names both profiles were identical.

The test participants were then asked to characterize the profiles without any further information. Indeed, the candidate profiles were characterised differently, and especially associating negative characteristics with the ambitious female profile, like e.g. arrogance.

Knowing about unconscious bias is a step towards better decision making and real inclusivity. Practicing conscious abstraction of it is a whole mile further.

How to do it? Before judging anyone next time, try changing their name. This might already be enough.

Matching tech lovers and startup enthusiasts - Mentessa launches first pilot with Wayra
Mentessa Pilot Wayra Mentoring Matching Matchmaking

On July 9th Mentessa rolled out it’s app for the community of Wayra residents and startups.

The project will serve as a matchmaking platform, fostering informal information exchange at Téléfonica’s open innovation hub. Wayra started in Colombia in 2011 and over years rapidly scaled to 24 countries connecting innovators and entrepreneurs, providing access to the network of corporates. As one of the best innovation hubs it was awarded “Best Innovation Lab” by Capital magazine in 2019.

Mentessa supports Wayra’s mission by offering a space for easy on demand matchmaking via one single touchpoint for finding the right expert at the right time. The company was founded early in 2019 in Munich, but already attracted much attention in the industry.

Mentessa’s founder Dr. Tina Ruseva is a serial entrepreneur, book author, and influencer who is focused on purpose-driven innovation that promotes humanity in technology entrepreneurship and the future of work.

This was TOA19!

Since 2012 Tech Open Air has been the hotspot for purpose-driven entrepreneurs, artists, professionals, and students to co-create a future of technology where humans thrive. TOA19, the biggest European innovation festival, took place July 2-5 in Berlin this year.

The Innovation Stage as one of four stages at TOA19!

The Innovation Stage as one of four stages at TOA19!

Innovation experts, business leaders, political activists, renowned artists, and tech gurus presented their insights on four stages at the event. One of them was specifically dedicated to the startup ecosystem - the Innovation Stage.

Mentessa’s pitch at this year’s Tech Open Air in Berlin

Mentessa’s pitch at this year’s Tech Open Air in Berlin

Mentessa was one of thirty start-ups invited to pitch their innovative solutions at the Innovation Stage. The presentation of founder and CEO Dr. Tina Ruseva centred around how technological capability is driving change in the workplace.

Mentessa Startup Pitch TOA

Next to a pitch slot, Tina was selected for a mentoring session with Techstars Managing Director Jag Singh at the Google Beach.

Mentessa Google Beach TOA Startup Pitch Mentoring Collaboration

The highly competitive Techstars is an American seed accelerator, founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2006. More than 1.600 startups have been funded through the program with a total capitalisation of $18bn.

TOA Mentessa Startup Pitch Interview Female Founder Mentor

Another highlight of the successful company presentation at the event were several interviews, for AP among others, on the future of work and the importance of mentoring.

Mentessa wins at the Founders Fight Night!

04. May 2019 with Tina Ruseva and Alexander Kalinger

And the winner is … Mentessa! Founders Fight Night, the toughest pitch competition, hosts regular events in Germany and around the world to challenge startup founders and corporate innovators.

Startup pitch at Founders Fight Night at Boxwerk in Munich

Startup pitch at Founders Fight Night at Boxwerk in Munich

Founders pitch on a real box ring against each other. Opponents are typically selected in competitive industries or matching areas of work.

Female founders pitching at Founders Fight Club

Female founders pitching at Founders Fight Club

Founders need to pass several rounds, eliminating different opponents.

Dr. Tina Ruseva answering the jury questions at Founders Fight Club

Dr. Tina Ruseva answering the jury questions at Founders Fight Club

The last mile is answering the questions of the renowned jury of corporate innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs.