Martin Fogelman

Martin Fogelman

“There has always been a missing link to Conscious Capitalism. We believe that the proof is in the data.”

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Meet Martin Fogelman. Pronouns: He/Him/His (or ideally, the Chinese gender-neutral pronoun, Ta, which he’s trying to make a thing). Martin is the co-founder of pluto.life, which he describes as a “new platform for conscious companies to open dialogue around their social and environmental impact, through real-time analytics powered by their team’s work-life stories.” He is an expansive thinker who taught himself full stack javascript after earning a law degree last year. With his two co-founders, Keeley Duffey and Chase Liebow, Martin is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Civic Hall. You can connect with him on Medium

What Does He Do?

As the co-founder of Pluto, Martin — despite his introversion — is its lead evangelist:
“For Pluto to work, it needs to be HUGE – changing all industries. The way it works is a business model which finally internalizes Conscious Capitalism. People will never be comfortable with their findings unless they take a different approach: This is a societal problem. By not sharing the data, you’re saying, “it’s my problem and then, that you can’t fix it.’”

“Ultimately, our goal is to be a rating agnostic platform. To use a company’s data to get certifications (B-Corps, etc.): “Your data is X, you then can apply to be Y, once you reach this threshold…”

How Did He Get Into This Work?

A desire to make the world a better place seems to have been in Martin’s DNA, manifest by balancing his idealistic tendencies with pragmatic problem-solving.

Once upon a time — forgive him, he was barely 11 — Martin believed that making money was a means to this end, so set out to study finance. At 18, he subsumed his energies into Economics, while working at Bloomberg LP. Ever mindful, at 20 he traveled the world, believing that this would enable him to better understand people. At 22, he enrolled in law school to learn how to think. In the course of researching his LLM thesis – the non-negligible task of rewriting the structural part of the U.S. Constitution — he studied the world’s problems and current solutions — for comparative research, and to jumpstart his thinking about a startup following graduation. A year and a half ago, as Martin was doing a final rewrite of his thesis, he had an insight which signaled his future path: Law is retrospective.

“And for this reason, this makes [the law] a slow and imperfect tool for solving society’s greatest problems. Business it seems again was the solution, because — for better or worse — it is one of the fastest moving parts of society.”

While Pluto was a pivot from his initial idea of interconnected reusable building blocks made from recycled plastics — the time Martin spent reflecting on why society’s largest problems even exist led to his light bulb of an idea: Building a transparency portal where businesses push those problems and solutions into the light.

“There has always been a missing link to Conscious Capitalism. We believe that the proof is in the data.”

How Did He Come to Civic Hall?

Andrew Rasiej and Peter T. Shanley introduced themselves to Martin after he demoed Pluto at NY Tech Meetup this past June 2017. They informing the startup matter-of-factly that that Civic Hall was the place for Pluto.

Martin and his co-founders joined Civic Hall as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence over the summer. In August they conducted a focus group with the community to explore diversity and inclusion. On October 27th, Pluto hosted a Privilege Walk to enable the community to map locate their privilege along the intersectional axes of race, class, gender, sexuality, educational background, disability, veterans, and immigration status. Pluto’s platform had a soft launch in October; updates will roll out over the next few months.

What Is His Ask of Civic Hall?

Pluto’s orbit has already been altered by its participation within the Civic Hall community: “Being here has made tangible the impact side of what we are hoping to do. Especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. While the election pushed us in this direction, it was also the member base, the news cycle, certainly this Weinstein moment in sexual harassment. The current environment is pushing the boundaries. It’s becoming more acceptable for people to come out and name their harassers — there’s strength in numbers.”

“We’d like to prevent this by having gender diversity and gender inclusion, and also asking these questions continually and in an anonymous way — to gauge through data: We are tracking these things. What it actually looks like at your firm. These are the actual tangible steps we’re taking. “This is our data. Hold us accountable.” It’s not just an HR function, but about the core mission of the company itself.”

Martin urges the community to try Pluto, even for startups with a headcount of ONE.
“The part people are missing is the sequence, the change over time.” In the course of walking the walk, here’s Pluto’s page on… Pluto

If anyone at Civic Hall is interested in trying out Pluto – Martin is making it available for free to the community. (Caveat: if your organization is larger than 20, he’ll give you a serious discount.)

Finally, a networking ask: Martin would be grateful for an introduction to sexual harassment whistleblower and venture capitalist Ellen Pao. Anyone?