"Your ability to accomplish anything is limited by the strength of your relationships and your ability to inspire others to join you."

My favorite quote is: “Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.” My favorite country is: The US

Hernan Lopez

Revolutionizing the way people engage with digital art

THE POWER OF ASKING. Throughout his career as an entrepreneur, Hernan Lopez has been passionate about mentoring and sharing knowledge to help others level up their careers. "I think people these days don't seek advice enough, and conversely, people don't give advice enough. Often, they're worried about giving the wrong advice, but we need to get past that. We should always try and find a way to help each other."

In 2020, Hernan founded the Hernan Lopez Family Foundation to help build diversity in leadership both from a supply and demand side. It was established in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests when, as a native of Argentina who moved to the US in 1997 at age 27, he found that companies were calling on him to help find suitable candidates to diversify their teams. The fellowship offers diverse young professionals (including entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs) training and guidance in everything from online sprints in management, product and strategy to public speaking and setting them up with an executive recruiter.

"While a lot of effort has gone into the demand side of workplace diversity, the underlying problem is we don't have enough of a pipeline. I was lucky to have mentors who helped me along the way, but today it's a lot more difficult to get an honest mentorship conversation because the world has changed. People are not as open as they used to be."

Hernan says he is indebted to his mentors ("honestly, there are too many to mention"), who have helped him navigate a successful career spanning media, entertainment, culture and art. Before entering the startup world, Lopez spent 18 years at 21st Century Fox, the last five of which were as President and CEO of its international channels, leading the launch of hundreds of new channels, digital networks and production studios.

Hernan remembers his curiosity about becoming an entrepreneur accelerated in 2014 when the true-crime podcast Serial launched a new wave of serialized shows. "I had an idea to create a company that would produce these highly serialized narrative podcasts that had the production values of the best Hollywood shows and movies." He left Fox in January 2016 and within a week had set off on his startup journey with the launch of Wondery.

After what Hernan describes as "one of the hardest but most rewarding" experiences of his life, Wondery established itself as a premium podcast studio. The platform has produced several hugely popular podcasts, many of which have been adapted into hit TV series, including Dirty John, Dr. Death and WeCrashed. In 2021, Wondery was acquired by Amazon, an experience Lopez says was both "exciting and deeply nerve-wracking. Selling a business will always be fraught, but Amazon is an amazing company, and almost two years later, the company is thriving."

THE INTERSECTION OF TECH AND ART. After Wondery, Hernan turned his focus toward digital art, "another way that evolving technology has impacted the kind of art being created." In 2021 he launched Danvas, which is bringing digital art into the real world via high-end displays created with some of the top people in the industrial design world. Where NFTs have helped digital artists sell their work, Danvas helps people enjoy the art, "the main reason people buy it."

Like any project in his career, Hernan believes the key to Danvas' success is the help and support of mentors. "I would like people to remember that there are only 24 hours in a day, you only have two hands, and your ability to accomplish anything is limited by the strength of your relationships and your ability to inspire others to join you. Then, your ability to help them realize their dreams."

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.