SeenCulture Founder Nikki Tugano Shines a Light on Untapped (And Underrepresented) Potential

May 08, 2024

Nikki Tugano is the Founder and CEO of SeenCulture (Techstars 2023) and is passionate about recognizing and growing human potential in organizations. Tugano is a pioneer for creating inclusive and high-performing teams in the Future of Work supported by her background as an experienced HR leader, Positive Psychology practitioner, and now tech startup founder.

How is what you are building disrupting your industry?

Existing HR infrastructure to incentivise employees is outdated and unfair. Our thesis for incentivising employees to "get more out of them isn’t to pay them more, it’s to make them feel seen. Work is no longer about an exchange of labour for pay, it’s about giving people a sense of feeling seen for their unique strengths and their potential — despite being underrepresented, neurodiverse, or introverted.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs who are just starting their journey?

Research the market, quantify the size of the problem you're solving in dollars, understand your buyers, get really prescriptive about defining your ideal customer profile (ICP), and implement ongoing customer feedback loops. Listen and learn from what value they are getting or not getting from your product.

What has been your proudest moment or biggest triumph in your entrepreneurial journey?

Raising capital. As a solo, non-technical, underrepresented founder, the odds of getting investment (according to the statistics) are stacked against me. I don’t represent the stereotypical founder demographic that gets VC funding. The stats suggest there’s a bias against underrepresented women getting funding. The same bias exists for underrepresented women getting promoted into leadership positions at work. So I’m proud to have role modelled being a symbolic success story for my startup, SeenCulture, where our mission is to shine a light on untapped (and underrepresented) potential.

Can you share any resources or organizations that have been particularly helpful to you as an entrepreneur?

Techstars, EverestEngineering, The Startup Network, The Startup Therapy Podcast.

What was the most memorable experience from your Techstars program?

Sharing my origin story at the founder fireside session. It was quite emotional for me, and I had so much warm support from the cohort. I felt like they were my family.