Mentor: Katy Pfeifer

We want to highlight the involvement of our amazing mentors, who help support and guide our venture up’ers on their journey.


Meet Katy Pfeifer, co-founder and COO of Town Square. A serial-entrepreneur, with a background in product management focusing on social and behaviour-changing products, and international business, Katy has great insights into creating products that people not only need to, but want to, use.

We caught up with Katy to find out more about her, where Town Square came from and why she got involved with Venture Up earlier this year.

Hey Katy, could you tell us a bit about your background?

I’m a co-founder of Town Square, a platform that helps people go out and make the most of their city. I really enjoy solving problems, everything from finding the underlying cause of an issue to designing a product or service to fix the problem. I’m also passionate about social enterprise, I think it will have a huge impact on our world.

What made you want to be involved in Venture Up?

I enjoy mentoring, especially when the mentees are such onto-it, motivated people like the people in VentureUp. It’s great to see the ideas coming through and to see young people standing up to tackle some major issues in our society.

Woman talking to students

What do you feel you get back from mentoring?

I always enjoy the conversations with mentees; understanding their point of view and the things that they care about helps me to be a better product designer & entrepreneur. I also like getting involved in projects and being able to contribute without overcommitting – it’s a way to combat the temptation to start 10 different things at once!

What do you look for in a team or venture before you commit to mentoring?

Motivation and commitment to the project
The team needs to be committed to moving things forward and working on their venture. That can be within a timeframe, but for that time they need to be committed, only then will things actually happen.

My ability to help
I need to feel like I can help them in some way, and that mentoring them will benefit the venture.

We need to have fun
I want to enjoy the process, which includes getting on well with the team and having the ability to work through problems together. Being able to have a laugh at meetings or admit it when something didn’t work out and work on the next step together makes mentoring fun for me, and hopefully also for the team!

What’s one question you wish you’d be asked in an interview? And what would your answer be?

Q: What’s my favourite city in the world?

A: Definitely Wellington! Not just because I grew up here – I’ve lived in most continents (not Antarctica… yet!) but I haven’t found anywhere else as good as Wellington. I love the beach, the greenery and walks, the walkability of central Wellington, and how friendly the people are (I get weird looks overseas for thanking the bus driver).

Going travelling and exploring the world is something I’d encourage everyone to do, and then come back to Wellington.