At Mach49, we value our colleagues and work hard to create a thriving culture where we all can learn, grow, and discover. Since our launch in 2014, our mission has been to help global businesses solve the world’s biggest problems and drive meaningful change. To accomplish that goal, we’ve assembled a team of innovative disruptors and curious creatives — a powerhouse that includes Monifa Porter.
As VP of Product, Monifa has grown with us over the past four years. She has played an integral role in shaping Mach49 and the go-to-market product strategy for large multinationals seeking transformative ways to create and accelerate new growth opportunities.
We recently had a chance to sit down with this serial Head of Product to learn more about her experiences at Mach49 and why she enjoys driving growth for global businesses.
What’s most exciting about your role at Mach49?
I get to build things. As VP of Product, I'm responsible for building a SaaS platform that takes our professional services delivery and democratizes it on a digital platform. It's fantastic to take Mach49’s seven years of venture-building expertise and distill it into a platform that more people can access and more companies can scale up with.
What are your favorite client and team experiences at Mach49?
We worked with a major oil and gas player that was trying to bring new renewables into their portfolio at the intersection of renewables and mining. Mining is heavily extractive, and uses a great deal of diesel fuel on site. We were trying to figure out how we could bring solar or wind or other renewable fuels to the mining site. We spent several weeks in our Incubate process determining where the opportunity was. Eventually we created a business plan that had us bringing solar power to mine sites during mining operations. That solar power could continue to be leveraged by the community that lives around the mine, even after the mine is no longer being used to extract raw materials.
What are some of your greatest lessons learned at Mach49?
There are so many. I came into Mach49 as a product leader. I’d been Head of Product at lots of small startups, large companies, different industries. I thought I knew how to do product management. Then I joined Mach49 and learned the Incubate method, and I thought, “What have I been doing for the last 20 years?” As product managers, we spend a lot of time working directly with engineering to ship a product. Mach49’s Incubate method is all about structured empathy: understanding what the customer's problems or challenges are, what value propositions resonate, and then what features to deliver, all while using an iterative experimentation process. You can learn a lot very, very quickly from your customers. Bringing that customer-centered exploration directly into product management is imperative and often we don't make enough time for it. We're busy turning the crank and running through sprints and working with engineering to deliver the product.
How is your work creating an impact?
We start by asking potential customers what their biggest problems are. Those big problems are things like, how might we bring solar power to businesses in deregulated markets? Or how might we solve problems with water, air, energy — these big areas of sustainability? Because we’re always thinking about pain points, we don't build things that people don't care about or that there isn't a market for. Our clients are some of the world's biggest businesses, who are trying to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. When you're dealing with that kind of scale, you can't help but make an impact.
How do corporations launch successful new ventures with diversity and inclusion front and center?
Core to our business is launching new ventures inside of corporations to build future growth. We have the great fortune of being able to tap into the diverse teams at those companies to cultivate leaders who have myriad skill sets, ideas, perspectives, and parent company know-how. We blend this with the external experts we source to build a team that’s positioned for success.
To truly democratize entrepreneurship, opportunities need to be extended to a more diverse set of entrepreneurs — there aren’t just one or two types of people who excel in a venture building environment. Global corporations are on the way to significant growth when they’re able to broaden entrepreneurship opportunities to the untapped leaders inside and outside of their organizations.
If you’re looking to drive innovation from the inside out at your current company, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to work with Monifa and our Mach49 team? Visit our careers page: https://boards.greenhouse.io/mach49.