Christy Brown, a three-time exited founder and now investor, mentor, and advisor to early stage companies, especially women and minority entrepreneurs. Hear about how Christy learned business acumen from her entrepreneur grandmother and tenacity from her mother, raising her and her sister solo while working. She goes on to excel at male-majority Georgia Tech and then a skillful run of working for big corporate, to startup founder, to acquisition, back to corporate, then back to startup founder - rinse and repeat 3 times. Now she is an investor, volunteers for the causes she cares about, and helps women and underserved founders navigate the waters of early stage business and capital-raising.
SPONSOR: Executive Launch (www.execlaunch.com) – from corporate executive to startup founder
Full Episode (YouTube): https://bit.ly/2AELfia
1:50 Discussion on how first-time founders don’t always understand the long game needed to raise capital, months or years of relationship building before a check is written.
2:30 Staying in touch with potential investors is critical. Christy says getting monthly updates from companies is what she values the most.
4:00 Discussion on what it says about a founder that takes the time to send out monthly updates to current and potential investors.
5:30 If a potential investor has a great feeling about you and what you’re doing, they are likely to introduce you to someone (else) that could invest. The founders that know how to communicate effectively are the ones that win.
7:00 How many mentors does an entrepreneur need? If you are growing as a company, it would be normal that you outgrow your mentors along the way and need new mentors as you grow.
13:00 Christy’s bio: President Launchpad2x, advisor to Tone Networks, venture partner w/ Republic crowdfunding, mentor with TechStars, board member with Venture Atlanta Conference, Board Ambassador with American Cancer Society, former chairperson of C5 Georgia for teens, and advisor to several other non-profit and social cause organizations.
14:05 Christy is in the 3X club having built and sold 3 companies a.k.a ‘exits’ that provided her financial gains that each time enabled her to recharge for another run.
15:00 She lived a playbook of going from corporate to startup, back to corporate, then startup again. This is a winning strategy for exits and acquisition.
18:05 Allen & Christy talk about how they both struggle to watch Shark Tank the TV show
22:10 Christy talks about the influence of her grandmother and mother. Her grandmother was one of the first women entrepreneurs in the Atlanta area. Working mother of 4, amazing storyteller, stood in the boardroom with men, didn’t take no for an answer.
25:35 Christy talks about the influence of her mother. She demonstrated work ethic, tenacity, and competitiveness.
27:40 At 7 years old, Christy got her first computer, a Commodore 64 and started programming.
29:35 She didn’t realize she was unique as a young girl that liked science, complicated math, and computers.
31:40 Christy wanted to be a fashion designer, wanted to study textile/fiber engineering at Georgia Tech. An internship with telecom giant WorldCom steered her to electrical & computer engineering.
34:20 Christy talks about often being one of the few girls in class at Georgia Tech and the challenges.
37:10 Her first job after graduation at WorldCom, what she learned from their massive bankruptcy.
39:10 Then her first startup, a web development and e-commerce company. Just one starting client and no money. Later cashed out to her partner and took a year off, competed in several triathlons around the world, contemplated what to do next.
45:30 Recruited to open an Atlanta office for a large staffing/recruiting company. Financially exited later to open her own firm – which was then acquired a few years later by a large company.
50:00 Able to financially exit again and recruited to be a senior executive with ADP. After four plus years, left to start investing and create another startup.
54:40 Began dedicating more time to helping women entrepreneurs and executives – the ‘broken rung’ problem.
57:00 Christy describes the challenges for female founders and founders of color.
1:04:20 Discussion on the unique psychological challenges of women and minority founders – and the dramatically disproportionate lack of investment.
1:06:50 Studies show that women founders outperform male founders in investor ROI. So why are women severely under-represented on both sides of the table?
1:09:50 Founder confidence isn’t the only issue, it’s often allowing for the founder’s ‘authentic self’ to shine through.
1:13:10 Final thoughts from Christy on how anyone can be an entrepreneur if they set their mind to it. It’s similar to endurance running and triathlons. Not everyone can be a competitive sprinter, but nearly everyone can be a competitive endurance runner or triathlete if they commit.
Christy's LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christy-brown-a54aa0/
Full Episode (YouTube): https://bit.ly/2AELfia