Helena Torras is an extremely talented entrepreneur and investor, who is the managing partner of Paocapital and the co-founder and instigator of WeRock Capital and launching a Blue Economy Impact Fund right now. She has worked with various companies and programs and is also a respected board member of Barcelona Tech City. Torras has always had the mission to connect the tech startup mindset to the corporate sector and has achieved great lengths in her career. Her vision is to see women leaders rise and uplift as many women as she can in their careers, and to make the world a better place for everyone.
Take a look at an inspiring discussion that sparked up in the interview.
What inspirations led you to start the WeRock Capital?
WeRock Capital is an initiative where women invest in women, which we do it in really early stages. Why is that? That’s because we wish to solve the issues we found, being entrepreneurs, investors, and being in the corporate world.
When I started teaching in 2009, usually, I would be the only woman in the room. So, they remember my pitch because it was that of a woman. Fortunately, that has changed and more women are pitching and launching their ventures.
So, from WeRock, we want to increase the number of women that receive funding.
What is it like to be the managing partner of Paocapital?
When you have a clear mission to promote that, all the players in the ecosystem know the rules of the game and connect the dots so that they can play better together, or what you do, is, focus and reach that goal, whether it is going along with these companies as the board director or an aspiring partner, helping them go to the next level, or even investing on them.
You were named as one of the 100 influential women in Spain (2019) and have also received numerous recognitions so far. How do you feel when you achieve such milestones in your career?
These recognitions are also a responsibility; our generation has the duty to open doors to generate changes and make thing easier for the next generations.
So, when I am offered an opportunity, I always say yes as we have to be there. And not only us, but we also have to recommend the names of other women that we know have talent but are not that visible, thereby helping each other.
We will be able to create a better world when it’s diverse and when we have both men and women along with the diversity of experience. And now, it is our moment, our generation who has to do that. So, instead of a step back, we have to take a step further.
What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
That’s a difficult question; I am proud of a lot of things in my life and not proud of others.
But, I would say staying positive is the greatest accomplishment because I have made so many mistakes in my life and sometimes things did not go well, but I did not fall. In fact, I rose stronger for the next stage of my life and thus, it would turn out to be even better than the previous one.
So, I have learned that attitude is everything.
You are known for thinking out of the box. How do you know if an idea is the right one?
I don’t always know if it is the right idea, but I know that I like to challenge the status quo. We live uncertainty, so the only thing that we know for sure is that everything changes and we are on a constant change. Once we accept that, we would know that what has worked in the past won’t always work in the future.
So, we have to rethink about making it better or if it can be done differently and if it can bring more value. So, it’s just challenging as well as thinking different and thinking out loud even stupid things, just to see how they sound and bring in the knowledge and the experience that we have in other parts, sectors, and in other verticals, and see if they work.
What are some common mistakes women make while starting their ventures?
I would not like to generalise because there are so many talented women entrepreneurs that are shining on their ventures, but if I had to point it out, then I would say that we don’t trust ourselves as we should. There tends to be a lack of confidence in our possibilities and capabilities.
Also, we might not always show our ambition enough. But showing ambition also means sharing our dreams, even if we don’t know how we are going to achieve them.
But there are so many positive things that women bring to ventures. Women are so capable of engaging with their teams and be empathetic with them, and we always tend to think about how we will impact society.
We have so many great things to bring to society. So, please don’t stop yourselves, believe in yourself more, and go ahead and try!
What is the driving force that motivates you to work towards your goal?
The most important factor is my children and my family because I want to make a better world for them. And I know that I cannot change the whole world, but each one of us can change a little bit in our community and in the people that surround us.
So, I wake up every day thinking that it is worth what I am doing. And as I mentioned, I like it when I make a difference in someone’s life.
What impact do you wish to make further with your work on a global scale?
I think we can make an impact on a global scale by starting small.
I never do anything alone as I like to collaborate and by connecting and collaborating with others, you don’t feel alone as then you would be working towards bringing a change along with everyone else.
Also, I think when we help these companies that have an impact on society, by helping them do things better and innovate, we would be helping to impact the world.
According to you, how women leadership is helping mould the society?
I believe in diversity; women are half of the population and the other half is men. We have to create our society together. But because there isn’t a lot of balance, we need more women in leadership. But, bringing women does not mean removing men from the equation; it merely means working together because we aren’t bringing a change for us; we are doing that for everybody.
So, just like men, we can bring changes to the table due to our different ways of thinking, behaving, believing, and the way of doing things.
What advice would you like to share with all the budding entrepreneurs through the Voice of Woman?
If you have started a new venture or are thinking about starting one, just go for it! And remember, that you don’t have to be big to start but you have to start to be big.
Don’t be afraid of failing because the journey is worth it; you will be able to learn a lot of things and grow personally as well as professionally. Just make sure that you are passionate about what you are doing.
And share your journey with people as it is good to share your achievements with others and even better to share times when things aren’t that good.
Surround yourself with people better than you because as Paolo Coelho said, “If you are the most intelligent person in a room, then you are in the wrong room.”
Be visible, be honest to yourself and others, and if you fall, then stand up even faster.