As for Innovation: My Bet Is on Women in STEM
The visionary founder of USA Network explains why she’s thrilled to be an Ambassador for Innovating Women.
Kay Koplovitz (Founder, USA Network)
I am so gratified to read all the activity around the Innovating Women project created by Vivek Wadhwa as a part of the Singularity University initiative together with Google For Entrepreneurs. Not only am I a devotee of Singularity, I have been pursuing the success of women in science and technology for the last 13 years, ever since I stepped down as the founder and CEO of USA Network and the SyFy Channels.
I had the opportunity to bring what was in the 1970s a breakthrough in technology to life in media, when I was fortunate to launch Madison Square Garden Sports, the forerunner to USA Network, via satellite and cable. This, along with HBO, propelled the cable industry and challenged the status of the broadcast networks. It was a heady experience. I want other women to have the same opportunity, including access to capital.
That’s why I co-founded Springboard Enterprises in 2000, to select, train and present women entrepreneurs in technology, media, e-commerce and the life sciences, including biotech, devices, diagnostics, clean tech and green tech to raise venture capital for growth. We have created the platform for them to compete effectively in the high testosterone world of venture capital. We do this our way, by creating the human capital network of screeners, coaches, investors and service providers who want to see these entrepreneurs succeed.
We are not alone. Others have followed and the list is growing longer: Women 2.0, Astia,Boldcap Ventures, Golden Seeds, Belle Capital, Women’s Venture Capital Fund, Texas Women Ventures, and 37angels to name a few, and now a growing network of women in STEM businesses who are collaborating, supporting and funding these amazing women.
We need not doubt ourselves for one moment no matter how high the mountain we have to climb. The results of the 517 women-led companies Springboard has brought to market is quite remarkable. 83% of these companies raised capital; 82% are in business today over the 13 year period. They have raised over $5.6 billion in capital; almost a third have had positive liquidity events for their investors, including 10 IPO’s. Importantly, they have created 10’s of thousands of jobs. We should all celebrate them.
Results like these are the reason I am an Ambassador for Women in Innovation. The problem of women being left out of the innovation economy is real and the more we connect the dots, not just among entrepreneurs in these fields, but with academics, corporations, researchers and governments looking for public private partnerships, the more successful we will be. We are in charge of our own destiny.
About the guest blogger: Kay Koplovitz is the visionary founder of USA Network and was the first woman to head a television network. She also launched the Sci-Fi Channel (now The Syfy Channel), USA Networks International and Springboard Enterprises, which aims to get women entrepreneurs to “think big” about their companies and to raise venture capital to fund them. In 2001, she co-founded Boldcap Ventures, a venture fund backed exclusively by high net worth women.