Less than five per cent of fast growth tech firms are started by women. But research shows that venture capital-backed companies led by women perform better than those started by men.
Kay Koplovitz is co-founder and Chair of Springboard Enterprises, a US initiative of a highly-vetted expert network of innovators, investors and influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women”.
“I’m inspired by what human capital means to a business,” she says. “In today’s world women have the education, financial influence, and expertise to make an impact as never before in all areas of science, technology, business and the economy.”
Ms Koplovitz will be keynote speaker at InnovationAus.com’s Women in VC forum, to be held in Sydney on 23 February 2017.
The forum will bring together Australia’s leading female venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to examine the important barriers to funding and recognition that still need to be overcome, and look at successful strategies for fundraising, deal sourcing, and portfolio management.
It will also look at successful case studies and international best practice.
“Women helping other women to build their companies and create jobs is having an impact on our economy,” says Ms Koplovitz. “That’s what we do at Springboard Enterprises.”
“We have a well-developed network of human capital, and we partner with business angel funds, VCs and corporations to help them find sources of funding. Our approach has yielded extraordinary growth levels and positive liquidity events for investors, including IPOs.”
In 1977 Ms Koplovitz was founder of cable channel USA Networks, the first advertiser-supported cable network. She was the first female head of a major TV network, and has subsequently served on a number of boards, including Liz Claibourne (where she became Chair), Time Inc., CA Technologies, and Oracle.
“One key to success for a good board is to have diverse membership,” she says. “I am dedicated to promoting more women for board membership to ensure our companies are competitive in the diverse global economy.”
Other speakers at the Women in VC Forum include:
- Elaine Stead, founder of Blue Sky Venture Capital. Established in 2012, Blue Sky now has over $100 million in assets under management across a broad range of industry sectors
- Laura McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer at Scale Investors, a female focused angel investor network founded in Melbourne in March 2013. It was inspired by the US based organisation Golden Seeds
- Topaz Conway, Chair of Springboard Enterprises Australia. An entrepreneur, angel investor, and an advocate to the creation of a stronger Australian innovation culture, Ms Conway works with early stage companies on commercialisation strategies and investment
- Marty Gauvin, Chair of the Innovation Investment Committee at Innovation and Science Australia. He is a serial entrepreneur in IT services businesses which have progressively spread from his home in Adelaide to have global impact
- Rick Baker, co-founder of Blackbird Ventures, an Australian VC firm which invests in Internet and software companies. Blackbird has been built around a group of Australia’s most successful tech founders, with close ties to Silicon Valley
On the Advisory Board for the event is InnovationAus.com’s publisher Corrie McLeod. “Most people in the industry agree there is a pervasive bias against women, but not everyone agrees on what to do about it,” she says.
“We want the forum to ask some key questions. What do we need to do to hit the tipping point for women in VC? What policies and strategies will improve outcomes? What are the latest global trends in this space?
“And what tools and tactics can women use to reach their full career potential in the VC industry?”
Ms McLeod said InnovationAus.com expects more than 200 delegates at the event, including private equity and VC leaders, technology entrepreneurs, innovation thought leaders, and key government advisers supporting women in STEM and entrepreneurship.