About Hearken


Hearken means “to listen.” 

We founded our company on the belief and recognition that curiosity and listening are the foundation of better business. 

Our mission

Hearken helps organizations embed listening into their growth and operations to build more resilient companies and communities.

Our vision

Listening leads to stronger relationships, deeper engagement, better decisions, and enables individuals to make an outsized positive impact in the world.

Our values

Every individual is worthy of being heard.

Truth is found in listening to an individual’s story. 

We look to creative the conditions for: 

  • Care and compassion
  • Service and teamwork
  • Growth and fulfillment

Our team

We are a curious, empathetic, skilled group of people looking to change the world through listening, curiosity and connecting people. 

How we’re funded

Unlike many companies that create technology, we are not venture-capital funded. Our startup capital came from angel investors and strategic investors who care about our mission and impact in the world. We subsist through revenue from our customers and creating valuable programs that attract philanthropic support. We consider ourselves a “zebra company” one that prioritizes purpose over profit, collaboration over competition, and believe mission and money can align. 

If you’ve never heard of Zebra companies — we encourage you to check out Zebras Unite. Hearken co-founders Mara Zepeda and Jennifer Brandel also co-founded this global movement that’s working to create the culture, community and capital for the next economy. 


Hearken is a Zebra Company

Zebras fix what unicorns break

Hearken is a zebra company. Yes, zebra. In fact, we co-founded the global Zebras Unite movement. Back in 2015 when we started the company, we found ourselves in a confusing place between two concepts that, in the world of finance, are inconveniently viewed as opposite ends of a spectrum: either maximize social good or maximize growth. The idea being good = nonprofit, and growth = for profit. Neither route felt entirely right.

Instead, we invented the zebra. As a zebra organization, Hearken thrive through working cooperatively. We are interested in systems change and believe in generating power and sharing it. And so, zebra companies are both black and white: They are for-profit and for a cause.