There are not a lot of women who can say they’ve helped 600 other entrepreneurs raise $8bn in capital. Kay Koplowitz, the gamechanging founder of USA Networks, shares with WINGS’ Melinda Wittstock how she came to co-found Springboard Enterprises, the accelerator for female founded tech companies. What it takes to get funded and how the game has changed.
When Kay Koplowitz was a young girl, she was captivated by President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon. All these years later her moonshot is to catapult hundreds of female entrepreneurs to VC funding and lucrative exit.
Kay is the co-founder of Springboard Enterprises, the accelerator and network for female founders with emerging growth tech businesses. The numbers are inspiring: Since 1999, $8 billion raised, 118 exits and 13 IPOs.
She shares with WINGS’ Melinda Wittstock – herself a Springboard alumna (2011) – her journey from that first lecture she attended on geosynchronous orbiting satellites to how she founded USA Networks, secured live sporting rights, most notably Thrilla from Manila, and pioneered the cable TV business model of licensing and advertising.
Here are some of Kay’s tips for entrepioneering women:
- VCs Aren’t For Everyone: Kay says very few businesses qualify for VC funding. Are you solving a big problem or disrupting an industry? Everyone starts small, she says, but can it be big
- A Distortion in the Numbers: Because the biggest VC firms raise billions of dollars from their limited partners they have to put the money to work on bigger deals, the Uber’s and Airbnb’s. Women came to the VC funded startup scene 30 years later than men, so their rounds are smaller. So you can’t look for parity yet in dollar amounts.
- What It Takes To Succeed: Have a “big vision”, bring to a big enough market a differentiated solution, and attract ‘A’ team players. “A very important attribute is agility: This person has to be able to learn and adapt quickly. We have to move quickly in the marketplace.”
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Download a FREE copy of Kay’s book, Been There Run That – an anthology of best practices from 45 entrepreneurs across tech, media, e-commerce and life sciences. https://sb.co/beenthererunthat/
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