Springboard Enterprises


.CO Icons & Innovators: Kay Koplovitz

Springboard Co-Founder and Chairman Kay Koplovitz was interviewed for the .CO Icons & Innovators. The series showcases interviews with the big thinkers, crazy dreamers, rule breakers and risk takers who spend their days breaking through boundaries, creating new possibilities, and transforming current realities to build the future online – on .CO, of course!


A Springboard for Female Founders

Australia has made big leaps in its move towards a supportive environment for entrepreneurs but the first ever female president of a television network, USA network and Sci Fi channel founder Kay Koplovitz, says there are huge gaps that need plugging.
“We wanted to move the needle,” she told The Australian in an interview. “We knew there would be a lot of interest from investors if they just knew about [women-led companies]. Most people believed women would be in more home-based businesses and small businesses, well we were about big business and that’s where we operated then, and now.”
“What we work really hard at is getting the right coaching team for each entrepreneur, so understanding what strengths she has, what weaknesses the business might have. A micro biologist might have spent her whole career in a lab, but she hasn’t been out there raising money. We help her ‘speak investor’.”


Female Pioneer says Australian Investors still too Conservative

A co-founder of one of the world's first women-only business growth accelerators says Australian investors are still too conservative and need to do more to support the early stage companies, and particularly those run by women.
"The first year we came [to Australia] we were actually a catalyst for the marketplace because there was almost no venture investing and very modest amounts of angel investing," Koplovitz says.
"Australia has a tremendous amount of capital asset management but I do think it is more conservative. A lot of it's tied to mining companies and asset class management and stocks and bonds" and there was not money going into start-ups.
"We need to ramp it up," she says.

Springboard Enterprises is a program that Koplovitz founded in 2000 to coach female business founders and offer them the support and networks that the broader startup ecosystem still largely directs towards men.
Importantly, the program now includes a dedicated sidecar investment fund, which made its first investment in April by contributing to the $US40 million Series B round of a Springboard alumni, luxury e-wholesaler The RealReal, alongside other female entrepreneurs from previous programs.


Kay Koplovitz on Gender Diversity

Legendary US entrepreneur Kay Koplovitz describes the 2016 presidential primaries’ season in the US as “very disheartening, very dispiriting,” and the “craziest election cycle I have ever seen.” “It’s been strange and, especially on the Republican side, it has been embarrassing in a lot of different ways to the country.” As someone who has been on the front-foot of gender diversity and equality issues over a long period, this is not surprising. Ms Koplovitz has not been a bystander in life. She has got amongst it.


Women Need to Brag More

Women need to learn how to talk themselves up, says Kay Koplovitz, the first woman to serve as network president in US TV history."I don't think it's a matter of confidence; it's a matter of [women] not wanting to brag about themselves," she says. Koplovitz's US-born company, Springboard Enterprises, aims to help startup women in high-growth industries access venture capital.
A large part of this is about teaching them to be "better promoters".
"We want to make sure that our [female] entrepreneurs are delivering messages that will be positively received," she says. "To do that, they must be explicit about their qualifications."

Several forces--including accelerators like Springboard--are driving a long-wave, golden age of female entrepreneurship, which will be a positive for all of us: positive and empowering for the women who make the leap, good for the economy, good for consumers, and good for society.


Amy Millman on ABC's Radio National Breakfast

Earlier this week on RN Breakfast, we discussed the need to increase the number of women in senior management ranks, but when it comes to attracting venture capital for female-run start-up enterprises, the statistics are even more stark. Women receive only 5% of Australia's venture capital funds. Today a not-for-profit Equity funding program will be launched. "Springboard Enterprises" began in the US 12 years ago and it's had great success in helping female entrepreneurs.

The City of Sydney will today help launch an Australian-first program to connect women with entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts.

Springboard Enterprises, a not-for-profit program to launch women in business, has created thousands of jobs and generated US $4 billion in annual revenues.

It launches in Australia today at Town Hall House, with a forum to generate investor interest and promote women-led businesses. Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the initiative would help Sydney’s female entrepreneurs develop their ideas and forge industry links, giving city businesses a long-term boost.

Outnumbered by men by about 25 to 1, hundreds of female entrepreneurs are at SXSW Interactive to pitch potential investors, make connections and promote their apps and technologies.

SXSW Interactive is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. Women pitched potential investors during a Dolphin Tank program organized by Springboard Enterprises. Other women gathered at a Springboard dinner to share their SXSW experiences, or managed to meet briefly with Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Networks and co-founder of Springboard Enterprises, an organization dedicated to helping women find venture capital.


Would You Rather Swim With Dolphins or Sharks?

Several women willingly jumped into a dolphin tank last June at an event for women entrepreneurs in Rio de Janeiro. Participants at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneurial Network (DWEN) learned something from the exercise about an approach to finding funding.

The dolphin tank exercise was led by Amy Millman, the president of Springboard Enterprises. The company helps women entrepreneurs get funded.

Springboard developed the Dolphin Tank approach as an alternative to traditional pitch sessions. The prevailing view, as depicted on television’s Shark Tank “is that entrepreneurs need to be ‘toughened up’ to deal with the rough-and-tumble world of high-risk, high-stakes venture creation.”

Most people are familiar with the concept of entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to VC’s through ABC’s tv show Shark Tank. The show involves promising entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to a board of “venture capitalist sharks” that either tear their pitch apart or laud them for their concept and throw investment offers at them. Like all good television shows it involves a lot more drama and yelling than what actually happens at a real investors pitch, but it’s accurate none the less. Springboard Enterprises, one of the country’s most well-known accelerators for women-led businesses, decided to take the same concept to help out GW students and prospective entrepreneurs hone their pitch.

The twist: less yelling, and a lot more constructive feedback.

Kay Koplovitz is a cable television visionary and was the first woman to head a television network when she founded USA Networks under the banner of Madison Square Garden Sports in 1977. She led USA Networks to first place in cable primetime ratings and it remained there for 14 years. In 1992, she launched the Sci-Fi Channel which has become a top ten rated cable network known for innovative drama and mini-series. In 1994, she launched USA Networks International into 60 countries worldwide.

Kay Koplovitz is the author of ‘Bold Women, Big Ideas’ (2002), which she wrote to inform and inspire women entrepreneurs to create wealth through equity. She is a sought after motivational speaker on subjects ranging from leadership and management to entrepreneurship, capital formation and emerging media.

Springboard Enterprises has been helping women entrepreneurs gain access to resources and venture capital through their venture forums for the past eleven years. Since 2000, the companies involved in the Springboard Venture Forums have raised over $5.5 billion in growth capital, including hugely successful companies like Zipcar, Constant Contact, and iRobot. Recently Springboard showcased fifteen women-led companies in the digital media and technology industries at their Venture Forum 2011 in New York.


On the Road in NYC with Springboard

Over the 10 years they have been in existence, Springboard has helped fund and grow over 481 companies who have collectively raised over $5B in capital and generated over $4B in revenues. The women behind Springboard we are proud to announce are also alumni of DWEN. Alumni include Kay Koplovitz founder of USA Networks and Chairwoman of Springboard, Pam Contag, Founder of Cygnet Biofuels and Springboard board member and Amy Millman President of Springboard.

Welcome to a new episode of "WisBusiness: The Show," a twice-a-month Web show covering state business news and issues.

This episode features Tom Still talking about the importance of rural broadband coverage plus Springboard Enterprises' Kay Koplovitz on the need for venture capital in Wisconsin. Also, Liz Schrum has the mid-October stock report


Women's Start-Ups Lack Access to Venture Capital

A CNBC report details the hurdles women in business need to overcome while speaking on the role of companies such as Springboard Enterprises in helping women succeed.


5 steps to start your own business

You’ve got your money-making idea—now you just need a road map for success. From how to draft a business plan to landing interested investors, learn the basics of beginning your entrepreneurial journey.

Amy Millman is the president and co-founder of Springboard Enterprises, a not-for-profit "venture catalyst" with a mission to facilitate women entrepreneurs' access to the equity markets. Springboard educates, sources, coaches, showcases, and supports high growth women-led companies seeking equity capital for expansion.
"When we ask investors what they look for in a company, they say 'we invest in the jockey, not the horse.' What they really mean is they are willing to bet on a CEO who they believe would make them money. Lots of money. So if you want them to invest in you, you need to appear to be a clone of that investor, have a serious track record of delivering big returns for investor, or be able and willing to proclaim your expertise.


True female entrepreneurs left off big screen

I recently made a list of movies with women entrepreneurs as leading characters, and I found few such characters leading scalable ventures — meaning those with a national or international market that grow beyond the founders’ work, create jobs and provide returns to their founders and stakeholders.


Expo touts recession’s effects on women in business

Few people will say a recession is a good thing. But Amy Millman recognizes the motivation that a down economy can spur.

Millman is the co-founder, president and board member of the D.C.-based Springboard Enterprises, which helps women gain access to equity markets. The nonprofit hosts venture forums and programs across the country that recruit, coach and support female entrepreneurs as they build their businesses.

Last week I [Rieva Lesonsky] was in Rio de Janeiro, courtesy of Dell Computers, which gathered about 150 women entrepreneurs and journalists for their second annual Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event. For two days the noise level (and I mean that in the best sense of the word) was high, the conversations went deep, and the connections were instant.

Among the 92,000 attendees at the National Association of Broadcasters' annual trade show here this week were a handful of young market-ready companies selected by a panel of judges to be showcased. Others were here on their own, hoping to strike partnerships, be acquired or gain a customer or two.


Women in Business

Heidi Roizen says about women in business: "In any situation where you stand out and are a minority, I think that there are times it works against you and there are times it works to your advantage."


No Sharks, but Loudoun’s Got Dolphins

Several Loudoun entrepreneurs jumped into the Dolphin Tank Wednesday at AOL’s Dulles campus to get feedback about their business ideas. And while panels of judges on television tend to have a bit of a bite, like ABC’s Shark Tank, this panel acted more like a team of swim instructors.

Springboard Enterprises brought Dolphin Tank to Dulles in partnership with Loudoun County, AOL’s Fishbowl Labs, John Marshall Bank and InTheCapital.


Passion Play

Rachel Braun Scherl and Mary Jaensch of Semprae Laboratories are interviewed about their exciting product, Zestra.

Mara Lewis, the founder of California startup stopped.at returned to pitch her startup in the Dolphin Tank at SXSWi. The Dolphin Tank is a pitch panel session held at the Startup America Live stage in front of influential judges. The reason it’s called the Dolphin Tank is because the judges are instructed to give constructive feedback rather than criticism as seen on the hit ABC show Shark Tank.

There are not enough women angel investors. According to Business Insider article, 90% of angel investors are male, meaning that women are clearly losing out. I bet you wonder what the lack of women angel investors means for female entrepreneurs or for working towards economic equality. It’s simple: women do not get enough outside financing to start a business or to grow their small enterprise.

Women tend to focus on starting companies that relate to their own interests, in categories such as fashion, social media, and e-commerce, she said. Even when it comes to health care research and development, women gear new company ideas to issues that affect women, like breast cancer. For Koplovitz, that puts them at an immediate disadvantage.

Another part of the issue: "Women don't promote themselves as heavily," said Koplovitz. "Women don't take credit for their own experience."

Here are some ways Koplovitz said you can improve your chances

We’ve all watched ABCs Shark Tank and had that awful feeling for someone who just got torn up by the “sharks.” Springboard Enterprises has decided that the model is correct, but the meanness isn’t. They believe entrepreneurs need support, constructive feedback and connections. Enter “The Dolphin Tank” – Springboard’s answer to the Shark Tank.

Each startup gets 2 minutes to pitch their company and accompany their pitch with an “ask” – incorporating a straightforward request to the tank for what they need.

Kay Koplovitz, the Chairman and CEO of Koplovitz & Co. and the Chair of Springboard Enterprises, a launching pad for the best-in-show female founders from biotech to lifestyle, says she’s still seeing women struggle to connect with the investing community. In a Sunday afternoon SXSW conversation with Dell’s current entrepreneur-in-residence Ingrid Vanderveldt, Koplovitz revealed that, of all the issues women struggle with in seeking and securing funding for their businesses, the biggest hurdle is a lack of fluency in the language of investment.


A tale of three cities

Life science entrepreneurs in hot pursuit of funding was the focus of the AllThingsLifeSciences VC forum, in which female biotech start-up leaders vetted by Springboard Enterprises made pitches to investors in three different cities.


What I Read

Alumna Kelly Fitzsimmons is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold several companies. Today, she's co-founder and CEO of HarQen, a leading Web-telephone platform provider that develops voice applications. She's also a public speaker and writer, having been a columnist for Secure Enterprise magazine and contributor to Network Computing magazine.


AllThingsMedia Aims to Fund Female Entrepreneurs

Women with significant equity in emerging media companies looking for funding now can apply to AllThingsMedia. A new joint venture capital forum formed by the Paley Center for Media and Springboard Enterprises, AllThings aims to help female entrepreneurs gain access to major investors.


Women in tech: not drowning, waving

It is true that women are thinly represented in key categories in the digital economy – from founders to coders and engineers to venture capitalists. This is true internationally. The statistics have been discussed at some length and highlight a myriad of hurdles for women to overcome. But even in Australia, women are there in bigger numbers – and greater quality – than the relative lack of exposure suggests.

If the likes of Springboard and NICTA can find women tech entrepreneurs and active industry participants, why can't Always-On, the NSW Government and the industry's male-dominated establishment?


Strategy, advice exchanged at Biotech VC Forum

Forget the recession. Or perhaps, thrive in spite of it. That seemed to be the prevailing mindset at the AllThingsLifeSciences 2009 Venture Capital Forum held in Madison on October 1, 2009.


Amika Mobile CEO named to Order of Ontario

Just days after Amika Mobile was selected as an OBJ startup to watch, chief executive Sue Abu-Hakima was announced as a recipient for the Order of Ontario, the province's highest honour.


Springboard Helps Startups Land Capital

Now in its ninth year, Springboard has hosted or co-hosted 17 forums in eight markets, helping 360 women-led companies land more than $4 billion. Applicants must head investment-ready companies and be willing to engage in Springboard's tough-love coaching process. "It's the only program of its kind that operates on a national level," says Babson College professor Patricia Greene. "Beyond helping individual women, I think Springboard has made such a difference as far as reminding people in the investing community we're missing an awful lot of talent."



Last year’s prominent Silicon Beach study of the Australian start-up ecosystem contained a revelation that few found surprising: only 4.3 per cent of Australian tech start-up companies are founded by women. That finding gives Australia’s tech entrepreneur scene a lower representation of women than male-dominated industries like mining, where about 14 per cent of managers are women.

Wendy Simpson, chair of Springboard Australia: “There’s a lot of talented women entrepreneurs that are outside that VC game, and we have to bring them into the game. We’ve got to say to women it’s possible to use other people’s money to build your business. One reason women aren’t getting the money is they’re not asking for it. And when they do ask for it, they’re not asking for enough. So we’ve got to say to them, add another zero.”

he Paley Center for Media (formerly The Museum of Television & Radio) in partnership with venture-catalyst Springboard Enterprises has announced the companies to be showcased at ALLTHINGSMEDIA. This is the first venture capital forum where active angel, venture, and corporate investors get a preview of twenty-two women-led media companies who offer the most promising innovations in the media sector today. This unique forum will be held on October 30, 2008, at The Paley Center for Media in New York.

The “Add a Zero” project seeks to uncover the hidden traits, motivations, tricks and tips that turns small business owners into entrepreneurs and millionaires into billionaires.

USA Network founder Kay Koplovitz talks to BRW publisher Amanda Gome what it takes to add a zero to the end of your critical numbers, in profit, revenue or customers.


V.C.'s Smile on Tart Cherries

Michelle’s Miracle, a maker of tart cherry-flavored nutraceutical products, has landed about $750,000 in the first installment if of a $1.5 million Series A round of funding, led by Phenomenelle Angels Fund.


Women getting ready to lead ; Canisius College to host conference

Canisius College is gearing up for its 4th biennial Women's Leadership Conference, expecting a sellout crowd of more than 400 guests to fill the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Featured speakers will be some shining stars from Canisius alumnae and acclaimed business leaders.

The word 'disruptor' has become part of business competition jargon in recent years and it's in constant use in the media and communications sector as companies everywhere try to keep up with global technology changes.
Kay Koplovitz founded TV network giant USA Today in 1971 and runs Springboard, one of her start-ups, which is an accelerator for women entrepreneurs seeking financial backing. She shared her insights with The Business.

In recognition of her outstanding all-female executive team, Bennett was selected by Springboard Enterprises as one of 30 female entrepreneurs from more than 100 applicants to present at its LifeScience Venture Forums in 2009. The Springboard network helps Bennett connect with professional resources and investors for SPR. “I will also be participating on their review panel for an upcoming event called Build it Big-Cleveland, focused on connecting female entrepreneurs with Cleveland professional resources.”


Springboard Helps Startups Land Capital

Given the state of the financial markets, how hard is it for media startups to get equity financing right now? It's the morning of Oct. 30 in Midtown Manhattan, and the 22 women entrepreneurs invited to pitch at AllThingsMedia, a venture capital forum that showcases women-led companies in the media and entertainment industries, are about to find out.

Melbourne-based entrepreneur Georgia Beattie is among the first group of Australian businesswomen selected to participate in the US-founded Springboard Enterprises program.
Springboard Enterprises was founded by US entrepreneur Kay Koplovitz, who is in Australia this week to raise the profile of Springboard's Australian arm, which launched in May last year.
Koplovitz founded Springboard in 2000. Since then, it has helped more than 500 female-founded US companies get off the ground.
These companies have raised more than $US5.8 billion, with a third sold to larger companies or listed on the sharemarket.


An Entrepreneur Prepares to Pass the Torch

First-time entrepreneur Michelle White created a company with big potential. The next step is to bring in an experienced management team and raise venture capital.


Putting women on a springboard to success

AUSTRALIAN women entrepreneurs need more help to access world venture capital markets, according to Kay Koplovitz, founder and chairman of US-based women's network Springboard Enterprises.

"There is a large angel investment community in Australia," she told The Australian. "There are plenty of people who are willing to invest in young companies at the very start-up stage. What is needed is to help women at the next level of growth who need to raise formal capital, equity capital."


Shoe Entrepreneurs step into design, marketing

Springboard Enterprises' AllThingsMedia: 2010 Venture Forum and Presenter Monika Desai are prominently featured in this article, which deiscusses her company in depth.


The Women of wowOwow on Money

Springboard alumnae company, wowOwow, is featured in this article about investment strategies.

Eight businesswomen are set to join the inaugural Australian version of Springboard, a professional development program for women entrepreneurs that has operated in the US since 1999.
On Tuesday the finalists will attend a “boot camp” with coaching from venture capitalists and angel investors on how to pitch their companies and how much money to ask for. Each CEO will leave the day with a personal advisory board of business coaches.


Springboard 2011 Helps Women Entrepreneurs Connect With VC

From biotech to communications, if your business is in a high-growth industry, you’re looking for investment and you’re women-led, you’ll want to point your browser in the direction of the Springboard: Venture Forum 2011.


Equalizing Equity Access for Women CEOs

Springboard's current venture capital forum targets equity financing for media companies run by female entrepreneurs. We track its process


Bend, Not Break: Wisdom from Entrepreneur Ping Fu

Kay Koplovitz, Chairman of Springboard Enterprises, discusses her relationship with Entrepreneur and Springboard Alumna Ping Fu as well as Ping Fu's book Bend, Not Break


The Marriage of Women, Media, and Money

Kay Koplovitz, the Chairman of the Board of Springboard Enterprises, writes about ATM and women entrepreneurs' pursuit of capital in the media market.


IT's a Man's World

Sand Plunkett outlines the need for and importance of Springboard's programs for women entrepreneurs, such as Springboard Australia's Accelerator program. Women are significantly underrepresented in the worlds of Venture Capital and High Tech Start-ups

Women entrepreneurs too often “fail to scale” – in other words, they are too often challenged in communicating to potential capital partners the ability of their business ideas to grow large, according to Kay Koplovitz, the Founder of USA Network and Chairman of Springboard Enterprises; and Kerrie MacPherson, Principal and Entrepreneurial Winning Women Executive Sponsor with Ernst & Young. These two veterans of the entrepreneurial landscape give critical advice to capital seekers and also share why they feel optimistic about the continuing advances that women will make as business builders.

The Paley Center for Media, formerly the Museum of Television & Radio, is creating the first venture-capital forum to showcase women-led media companies, spotlighting the innovations of female entrepreneurs in all areas of the media sector to angel, venture, and corporate investors.

That’s where Springboard comes in. It calls itself a “Venture Catalyst,” but no matter what you call it, Springboard Enterprises is poised to put female small business leaders in the driver’s seat for 2012. With over a decade of helping startups and other smaller enterprises to find critical funding, this company is still going strong, offering women in many different industries a chance to connect with interested investors and keep their books healthy.


Finding investors: What you need to prepare

"No business plan has ever been funded," he says. "People get funded. When people are deciding whether to give you money, they will look you in the eye and decide whether or not you are trustworthy and will do what you claim with the money."


Venture capitalists, it's time to invest in women

It was a scene straight out of the 1990s: A web start-up, flush with nearly $1 million in new investor cash, threw a party at a downtown bar to toast that success. But here's the 2011 twist to the story of DailyWorth, a daily e-mail newsletter of financial tips: the founder, Amanda Steinberg, isn't a 24-year-old male Stanford dropout. She's a thirtysomething mom of two who is determined to change the image of what a serious entrepreneur looks like.


How To Set Up An Advisory Board

Whether you have 10 employees or 1,000, having a reliable group of advisers who can offer objective analysis and a few timely introductions can make all the difference.

Springboard Enterprises, the organization that educates, showcases, and supports women entrepreneurs as they seek capital and build their businesses, is hosting the AllThingsMedia: 2010 Venture Capital Forum in October, 2010. The Forum will showcase investment-ready, high-growth media companies led by women. There are many ways to participate so read more about it on the Springboardenterprises.org.


Where Are The Women Venture Capitalists?

When Annette Campbell-White decided to enter venture capital in the mid-1980s, firms would only hire her at a junior level because she was a woman, despite the fact that she had been the first female partner at Boston-based investment advisors Hambrecht & Quist.


Women, influence and entrepreneurship

Wendy Simpson is a serial entrepreneur and a serial manager. A former senior vice president of telecoms behemoth Alcatel Asia Pacific and Trade Commissioner for North Asia for the Victorian government, Simpson says that, as a manager, she tries to get employees to understand what a company or group is trying to achieve and to look for fun ways to get results.

Last year, Simpson established the Australian arm of Springboard Enterprises, a program that recruits, coaches and helps to find funding for young high-growth companies founded by women. The first eight businesses joined in January and are going through their paces. Simpson describes Springboard by paraphrasing the words to Hotel California: you can check in but you can never check out. Once the budding entrepreneurs have been selected, they have access to the program’s network of advisers and coaches indefinitely.

She describes one of her skills as the ability to see gaps in the market. “I see something I think no one seems to be paying attention to. So I get in and do it.” Simpson was awarded an Order of Australia Medal this year for her work with disadvantaged young people. Simpson and her husband Geoff have fostered 13 children.


Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley

Springboard and other companies with the goal of aiding female entrepeneurs feature in an article on the challenges women face starting tech companies in Silicon Valley.


The Elevator Pitch That Rises to Success

Kay Koplovitz provides critical tips to entrepreneurs for that all important "two-minute" elevator pitch. She also reviews Springboard's new Dolphin Tank program.

Millman's open-mindedness and eclectic résumé have served her and Springboard well. Since she co-founded the group in 2000, Springboard has helped 347 female-owned businesses raise $3.7 billion in venture capital.

It's tough enough to be a woman pitching a consumer products company to male-dominated investors infatuated with high-tech ventures.
Now imagine how easily those cigar-chomping financiers will open their wallets if the start-up sells women's spa and beauty aids.


25 Reasons Country is Chic Right Now

These days, many cosmetics companies lay claim to eco-consciousness, but Rhode Island's Farmaesthetics wears its name honestly. Not only does founder Brenda Brock (NE 2003) insist upon organic ingredients form American farms, she's the seventh-generation scion of an agricultural family

After earning a master's in biochemistry and working for biotech firms for 20 years, Patricia Meisner figured snagging funding for her software start-up would be a snap.
It was the height of the dot-com boom, and "Anybody was getting funded for a business plan on the back of napkin. I thought, 'I'm smarter than all these people.' "

Instead, Meisner's scientific, detail-oriented approach proved her biggest roadblock.


A Federal tax Credit for Startup Investors

Kay Koplovitz, the Chairman of the Board of Springboard Enterprises,wrote an article featured in BusinessWeek which argues that the federal government give tax breaks to private investors.


Why Dolphins are Better Than Sharks

The Dolphin Tank is a great business opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs alike who are in search of counterparts to work with. Each presenter delivers a two minute description of their product and then receives three to five minutes of constructive criticism and helpful feedback from expert judges and audience members. It’s a win-win situation for all involved. Audience members learn about innovative new products that could make their lives easier, investors find businesses to invest in, and startups discover partners interested in funding their ventures.


5 growth tips for women in business

If you're a smart entrepreneur, you want intelligence. That means finding groups, individuals and sites with information that can help your business. Here are a few


Investing in change

Robin B. McFee knows how to take care of a patient, how to start an organization and how to run one.

But as a woman entrepreneur and the founder of a company based on technology, she’s something of a rarity. All of which, she thinks, ought to change.


Are Angel Investors Heaven-Sent?

When former venture capitalist Alicia Morga started her own business last summer, she didn't turn to her VC colleagues for funding. Instead, she tapped angel networks--groups of wealthy individuals who join forces to invest in startups. While venture capitalists manage other peoples' money, angels invest their own and generally seek smaller deals.

When Helen Greiner saw Star Wars as a child, she was captivated by the 1977 film's legendary robot, R2D2, but disillusioned to learn the droid was actually animated by a tiny man inside.
So Greiner set about making her own robots. Today, her company, iRobot, produces the award-winning Roomba, the first automatic vacuum, as well as a suite of military robots that dispose of bombs and clear caves in war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

The value of networks to improve financing, innovation, and access to resources is a given. As the Global Enterpreneruship Monitor: 2010 Women’s Report found, overall, the men and women entrepreneurs who had larger and more diverse networks, and those who emphasized non-private advisors (business, professional, etc.), reported greater levels of innovation, internationalization and growth expectations. Yet compared to men, women’s networks were overall smaller and less diverse, relying more on friends than on outside experts, conditions that were associated with lower innovation and growth expectations.
The program isn’t about a one-time give-away of funding. It’s about making the connections that can help you access and leverage human capital now and in the future.

Candice Brown Elliott had a great idea, a drawer full of patents and 25 years of experience in her field.
So why didn't venture capital firms give her the time of day when she pitched them her new technology for improving the resolution of flat-panel displays, such as mobile phone and TV screens?


Tech's best and brightest minds tackle STEM challenge

Somewhere over the eastern United States, in business class on a 10-hour flight overseas, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark was giving one group of entrepreneurs a pep talk.

Several feet away, USA Networks founder and media legend Kay Koplovitz marinated over how to inject women more into the tech field. "We need to highlight many more women, make their stories known," she said.


Not-So-Adventurous Venture Capital

According to the Center for Women's Business Research, the number of firms run by women grew at nearly twice the rate of all U.S. firms from 1997 to 2004. But a new study released this month by VentureOne, a unit of Dow Jones, shows that the number of women-owned or women-run businesses backed by venture capitalists has been on a slippery decline since 2002.


The VC Community is an Insider's Game

Kay Koplovitz, the Chairman of the Board of Springboard Enterprises, wrote an article featured on wowOwow.com about the importance of creating a playing field for women entrepreneurs.


Entrepreneur of the Year: Ping Fu

She came to this country by way of a Chinese prison, but that's the past, and the future holds a tantalizing promise of smarter, cheaper manufacturing and better, richer lives. Ping Fu says she wants to leave something of value. Well, why stop now?


No illusions: toward brighter flat displays

Candice Brown Elliott is founder and chief technology officer of Clairvoyante Inc. (Cupertino, Calif.), which develops and licenses unique subpixel architectures and associated algorithms to reduce the power, increase the brightness and lower the cost of manufacturing flat-panel displays. Its PenTile Matrix harnesses Elliott's knowledge of the human visual system to trick the eye into perceiving a display as twice as bright for the same power (or just as bright at half the power). By reducing by one-third to one-half the number of pixels needed for a given resolution, the company's PenTile subpixel rendering also lowers costs. PenTile Matrix technology has been licensed by 10 of the world's leading flat-panel makers, including Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and AU Optronics Corp.


Taking a big leap at mid-career

Kerrie Brady, a native of Australia and a pharmacist by training, has worked for American, Japanese and Australian biotechnology firms in business development, marketing and regulatory affairs.
Until this year, however, she had never started her own company.


Business Notes

Springboard: New England selected Isis Maternity in Needham to present at its venture forum Nov. 18 at the Harvard Business School. The sixth annual Springboard: New England Forum featured 21 women-led businesses showcasing their business presentations to more than 200 venture capital, corporate and angel investors and sponsors from New England and along the East Coast.

The Davis, Calif., company is one of a new generation of "biopesticide" makers that search for innovative ways to kill crop pests without using synthetic chemicals. Though the science of biopesticides is decades old, it's rather new in commercial enterprises, with a slew of products just coming to market. Some of the companies breed insects and other bugs to eat the pests. Others develop carriers of deadly microbes to poison the pests. Still others search for the specific germs that kill pests and mass produce the microscopic assassins. Most of these companies are small start-ups, few of whom have yet to show a profit. Their business plans read like part science fiction, part "CSI: Fruit Orchard."

pringboard: Midwest today announced that it has selected BioVitesse Inc., a Purdue Research Park biotechnology company led by Laila Razouk, to present at the Springboard 2005: Midwest Venture Forum on Wednesday (Sept. 28) at Northwestern University's Thorne Auditorium.

Sun New Media Inc. (OTCBB:SNMD) ("SNMI" or "Company") reports that it has acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding share capital of Sun New Media Group Ltd. from Shanghai based Sun Media Investment Holdings Ltd. ("SMIH"). The transaction was originally announced by the Company in a press release dated July 21, 2005 and was subsequently approved by a majority of the stockholders of the Company at a stockholders meeting held on September 12, 2005. As a result of the transaction, SMIH and related parties will hold approximately 85.53% of the Company's issued and outstanding share capital. The transaction between the parties closed in escrow with an effective closing date of September 18th, 2005.

As more small companies drop medical benefits, there are signs of a gender divide in how owners tackle the problem. Compared with men, women appear more reluctant to trim or cancel benefits, say entrepreneurship experts at the Center for Women's Business Research, Rochester Institute of Technology and Springboard Enterprises.


Milwaukee Talks: USA Network founder Kay Koplovitz

Over the next decades, Koplovitz founded what became USA Network, the Sci-Fi Channel and now runs a firm that links venture capitalists with female entrepreneurs and others looking to start businesses. She is the author of "Bold Women, Big Ideas," which she wrote to inform and inspire women entrepreneurs.

It turned out to be early training for a career that has included the founding of USA Network, the Sci Fi Channel and USA Networks International, plus some current companies and organizations that help link venture capitalists with women entrepreneurs and others.

Koplovitz, who was born and raised in South Milwaukee, delivered the luncheon speech at the Wisconsin Entrepreneur Conference Tuesday.

“Entrepreneurship is a life journey,” she told the audience of mostly entrepreneurs and business people. “It’s a calling in some way. I hope you enjoy the ride. I certainly have enjoyed mine.”


Like May flowers, valley's successful women in bloom

Spring is giving way to summer and the valley looks marvelous.
But it's also the time of the year when the valley pays tribute to its many successful women in business. Many were honored at the NAWBO/Business Journal gala May 12

eet the Speakers

Amy Millman, president of Springboard Enterprises, has 30 years experience working for and with business and government officials, and has launched several public and private sector initiatives that increased access to capital and market opportunities for women.

"Over the past five years, Springboard has showcased more than 300 women-led emerging businesses that have raised over $3 billion in equity capital," said Millman. "This type of financing is not for everyone, but if you choose this path there is a secret handshake you need to learn."


Fundraising Forum Seeks Women Entrepreneurs

A program that has helped women secure over $3 billion worth of venture capital is recruiting Midwestern women entrepreneurs for a six-week "boot camp" in which they will polish their pitches and, hopefully, find investors.

The Springboard 2005 Midwest Venture Forum, co-hosted by Springboard Enterprises and Northwestern University's Center for Women Entrepreneurs in Technology (CWET), is a six-month program that offers women-led companies a combination of intensive training as well as networking opportunities.


Human capital pays dividends for entrepreneurs

In today's challenging environment, even the most ruggedly individualistic entrepreneur needs a network of support. Some turn to private circles of friends and business acquaintances; others, such as myself, also seek out peer groups.


'Fund-worthy' women entrepreneurs sought

Springboard Enterprises Venture Capital Forum issued Monday a call for "fund-worthy" women entrepreneur applicants across the Midwest.
Co-hosted by Springboard Enterprises and Northwestern University's Center for Women Entrepreneurs in Technology, Springboard 2005: Midwest Venture Forum will take place at Northwestern's Chicago campus on Sept. 28. The event will feature a morning program showcasing women-led companies to an audience of leading venture capitalists, angel investors and corporate investors. A special afternoon program is exclusively for angel investors.


Serial Entrepreneurs: They Just Can't Stop Themselves

Once exotic, serial entrepreneurs are everywhere these days. From their tolerance for failure to their creative use of resources to their sense of when to leave, they have a lot to teach more traditional company owners.

After taking 200 entries, contest organizers narrowed that down to 49 semi-finalists before selecting 20 plans in four categories for the finals. More than $100,000 in prize money and "in-kind" prizes are at stake, including the $50,000 grand prize. Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still said the “Seize the Day” award, the first Governor’s Technology Transfer Award and the inaugural Young Entrepreneurs Award will also be handed during next week's conference.

Kirsten Osolind has this advice for female entrepreneurs: Finance for the company you want to become.
It sounds simple, but Ms. Osolind says most women business owners don't think that big. She cited studies that show female owners are less likely to take on corporate credit lines or seed funding, and many won't pursue financing because they fear they won't qualify.


A woman's worth

Kirsten Osolind has this advice for female entrepreneurs: Finance for the company you want to become.
It sounds simple, but Osolind said most women business owners don't think that big. She cited studies that show female owners are less likely to take on corporate credit lines or seed funding, and many won't pursue financing because they fear they won't qualify for credit.


Survey: Women business owners are risk-takers

Women business owners are more willing than the general population to take financial risks, according to a survey released Wednesday.


Tech women take aim at millions

The Women's Technology Cluster in San Francisco and Springboard Enterprises have revived their women's venture capital forum, a program that raised more than $400 million for 50 female entrepreneurs in 2000 and 2001.


Women's VC forum announced

Backed by top names in the financial, technology and investment communities, Springboard Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that showcases women-led businesses to investors, returns to the Bay Area to host its Venture Forum showcasing emerging growth businesses led by women.


How Women Can Get More Venture Capital

Women-owned businesses are just as financially strong and creditworthy as the average U.S. firm, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Women's Business Research. Yet women struggle more than men to acquire equity capital. Why? According to a 1999 survey, only 9 percent of institutional investment deals and 2.3 percent of dollars among the investors surveyed went to women-owned firms, the Center discovered.


Springboard presenters ready to pounce

Sixteen women entrepreneurs are sprucing up their presentations as they prepare to woo investors at the Springboard Enterprises Venture Capital Forum this week at Babson College.
From seasoned CEOs to first-timers, on Nov. 21 these women will pitch businesses in industries such as medical devices, e-mail newsletter marketing, disaster recovery software and biotech.


The Big Apple Example

Conducting business in New York City these days might appear daunting for some entrepreneurs, but seasoned company owners are showing resourcefulness in difficult times. Those who acted early and adjusted their business models have been able to survive the economic downturn and the embarrassment of Corporate America in the wake of the Enron scandal, to say nothing of the devastating terrorist attacks of a year ago, on September 11, 2001.


The Tech VC Market: Not For Men Only

It's not easy breaking into the old boys club, but now women don't have to: there are new women-only clubs like the Center for Women & Enterprise and Springboard Enterprises, two non-profit organizations that offer a host of business training and solutions for today's female CEOs looking to take their businesses to the next level.

Nearly three years ago, at the peak of the venture-capital investing craze, Springboard Enterprises Inc., a nonprofit group, launched a series of conferences aimed at helping women entrepreneurs grab a piece of the action.


Creating a New Girls' Network

Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Networks (USAI), wants women to have equal access to venture capital because she didn't.


Special Report on Women Entrepreneurs

A comprehensive online resource for women doing business in Chicago, with the latest statistics on the number of female-owned firms, links to top networking organizations and downloadable applications to become certified as a woman-owned business.


Women business owners' agenda for new regime

Women in Massachusetts own more than 158,000 companies as of 2002, generating over $19 billion in revenue. They are starting businesses at twice the rate of the overall population. During this current economic downturn, it is more critical than ever that the new gubernatorial administration increase investments in economic-development efforts that embrace women and entrepreneurship.


Alachua technology firm picked for investor forum

An Alachua-based drug discovery company will participate in the Springboard: Southeast 2002 forum Sept. 27 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Applied Genetic Technologies Corp. is one of two Florida companies selected from 100 applicants, said CEO Sue Washer.


Finding the Perfect Pitch

Springboard Enterprises, the nonprofit hosting the forum. Springboard aggressively recruits the best and brightest female entrepreneurs and gives them coaches galore. Ever since its first packed forum, in Silicon Valley in January 2000, Springboard has defied expectations. All told, nearly 40% of its graduates have raised in excess of $700 million from VCs and angels. This year Springboard Enterprises is host of three VC forums and even more boot camps across the country.


It’s all about the Benjamin$: Springboard forum raises ownership vs. equity questions

To grow a successful business, owners often take on investors. How much ownership should be forfeited in order to secure financing, however, is a delicate issue requiring well-informed, decision-making skills and networking alliances. Another sensitive, hot button is the definition of “minority or women owned” business if the investors are white males. So said Amy Millman of Springboard, a non-profit educational group aimed at increasing women’s participation in the equity capital market.


Program will focus on equity markets for women entrepreneurs

The Kansas Women's Business Center and Springboard Enterprises will present a program on women's access to equity markets.
The "Springboard VC Tune-Up: Kansas City 2002" will take place April 4 at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

By all accounts, Ignite Sales Inc. looks like a pretty successful start-up company. Just four years old, it had revenue of $1 million last year. It is in the fast-growing field of selling software to help banks sell multiple services to their customers. And it recently landed as clients some of the country's biggest banks.

So why is Julie Hamrick, Ignite's president and chief executive officer, considering ousting her marketing chief, sales chief, a founding board member -- or perhaps even herself?


Entrepreneurial Women Tackle Tech

Entrepreneurial Women Tackle TechSBA study finds them well-qualified, overlooked, and underfunded.Saumya Roy, Medill News Service

There were no drill instructors screaming in the faces of recruits, no 10-mile runs to test their stamina. Attendees of a Jan. 31 Springboard Enterprises "boot camp" instead were drilled on how to capture venture capital.


Cash for Women's Start-Ups Scarce, but Not Gone

In the best of times, women entrepreneurs are hard-pressed to find start-up capital. The number of venture-backed, women-led companies stands at only 6 percent, and in the third quarter venture capital funding to all start-ups fell by 23 percent.


Groups are staging an entrepreneurial comeback

The capital market might be dragging its feet on new ventures, but that hasn't stopped local entrepreneurs from seizing opportunities to get in front of an audience. The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs, or TiE, provided a platform Nov. 10 for start-ups to show off their businesses.


A woman's work is rarely funded

Thousands of female entrepreneurs face the same problem every year, with potentially disastrous implications for the U.S. economy, according to experts and new research.

Although women create 70% of jobs at privately run companies and own 26% of all companies, they received only 4.4% of the most important source of investor dollars last year — venture capital. That percentage has been flat or down since 1997, while VC funding has soared, says major research group VentureOne. It has tracked the gender-specific data for only 4 years.


PrivateSector; Shaking the Venture Capital Tree

SITTING in her office in Midtown Manhattan, Kay Koplovitz took a break from talking about venture capital and women in the workplace and described her recent vacation in Patagonia. The highlight of the trip, Ms. Koplovitz said, was having herself hooked up to a spidery arrangement of straps and pulleys and cables and then dangling for a few suspended moments between the walls of a gorge that rose high above the rapids of the Futeleufu River.


Women spring to venture capital

When it comes to raising money for their hi-tech business ideas, women in the United States have not been getting a fair share.

That at least is the view of the Washington-based National Women's Business Council.

To reverse the trend it has set up an event called Springboard 2000, a women-only opportunity to sell ideas to potential investors


Women Entrepreneurs Hit D.C.

Springboard 2000 appears to have lived up to its name. The unprecedented women-only forum proved a riotous success judging by the many participants who are now swimming in seed money.


Already in the Money

The one-day Springboard 2000 conference gave women entrepreneurs the chance to present their businesses to top-level investors.
The women CEOs pitched a variety of projects, ranging from the humdrum to the esoteric.
And contrary to what the statistics suggest, many of them weren't exactly hurting for money, especially the ones staying away from the girlie stuff.


Springboard for Women's Biz

Women leaders of 25 technology companies have one day to enjoy the rapt attention of 400 venture capitalists.
The occasion is Springboard 2000, the first in a series of forums at which women execs are invited to present their business plans to top-level investors.