Springboard's First Survey of Venture-Backed Women-Led Enterprises Shows Strong Performance

Survey Shows 79 Percent of Springboard Companies in Growth Mode

Apr 29, 2003, 01:00 ET from Springboard Enterprises

    WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Venture-backed women-led enterprises
 are moving well beyond start-up stages of corporate formation to revenue
 generation, and almost 20 percent report profitability, according to
 Springboard Enterprises, whose program for women entrepreneurs has helped
 raise $1.76 billion in equity capital for women-led companies.
     Since Springboard's launch in 2000, 250 women CEOs and founders have
 participated in the non-profit organization's pioneering venture programs for
 women entrepreneurs.  197 of the 250 companies that have presented at
 Springboard Venture Forums continue to grow, and 97 have raised over $1
 billion in venture capital following their participation in a Springboard
     A recent survey of Springboard Alumnae, conducted by Springboard and
 McKinsey and Co., showed that 83 responding Springboard companies are
 generating an average of $3.4 million in revenues, and 19 percent have already
 achieved positive cash flow or profitability.  An additional 16 percent
 forecast profitability by the end of 2004.  Companies reported raising an
 average of $7.6 million in equity.
     "High survival and growth rates among Springboard's funded companies
 validate the Springboard experience as being crucial not just for getting
 women into the game, but also for keeping them there," said Kay Koplovitz,
 Board Chair of Springboard, the DC non-profit.
     According to the survey, a significant 14 percent of Springboard Alumnae
 companies have broken out of the pack to grow more rapidly.  Not surprisingly,
 these breakout companies generally demonstrate longer operating histories than
 their sisters.  Of 11 companies with annual revenues above $5 million, all but
 one have five or more years of operations and most were founded by serial
 entrepreneurs, such as SatisFusion Founder and Chairman Fay Wood.  One of 20
 percent of Springboard Alumnae with more than three previous start-ups, Wood
 raised over $15 million in equity and led her four-year-old Long Beach, CA,
 aftermarket sales and support infrastructure company to profitability.
 SatisFusion experienced double digit revenue growth in 2002.   Marquee
 customers, more than 100 employees and rapid revenue growth resulted in a
 recent successful strategic merger with a subsidiary of Warranty Corporation
 of America (WaCA), the largest independent extended service contract
 administrator in the United States.
     A substantial number of Springboard Alumnae (69 percent) are serial
 entrepreneurs, with 35 percent having three or more entrepreneurial
     Over 75 percent of Springboard Alumnae hold advanced or professional
 degrees; 39 percent hold M.B.A.s, and 21 percent hold Ph.Ds.
     Springboard alum Fran Bartlett of Dallas is leading her 3rd successful
 venture, Federal Liaison Services, Inc. (FLS).  This profitable compliance
 services company was founded 15 years ago, with current revenues in the range
 of $10 to $20 million.  Bartlett raised $1 million in equity following the
 Springboard experience and is seeking an additional $5 to $10 million to take
 the company rapidly to the next level of growth.  Serial entrepreneurship may
 be inherited: Among FLS's more than 75 employees is Bartlett's daughter,
 Carrissa Adams, who currently serves as Senior Account Manager.  Adams was one
 of FLS' first employees and has filled several support and management roles
 for the company.
     With profitability on the horizon as it pushes out of the product
 development stage and into operations, biophotonic imaging company Xenogen of
 Alameda, CA, is led by serial entrepreneur Pamela Contag Ph.D.  Founded in
 1995, Xenogen participated in the first Springboard Venture Forum and has
 raised over $80 million from multiple sources.  Now commercializing its
 technology, Xenogen employs more than 100 people and its annual revenues
 exceed $16 million.
     Not every Springboard star is a serial entrepreneur.  Janet Kraus, the CEO
 of loyalty management solutions company Circles, Boston, MA, created a now-
 profitable company reporting nearly $20 million in revenues and more than 100
 employees.  In her sixth year as an entrepreneur, this Stanford MBA has raised
 more than $27 million, $10 million after presenting at Springboard's New
 England 2000 Venture Forum.  Her top tier backers include TL Ventures, Trident
 Capital and Axxon Capital.
     Since the first Springboard Venture Forum in 2000, 33 percent of the women
 entrepreneurs have left the companies they founded.  "This is not unusual when
 the entrepreneurial demands shift to operational issues, and controls become
 as important as sparks," commented Amy Millman, president of Springboard
 Enterprises.  "But Springboard's serial entrepreneurs are a highly
 credentialed farm team for corporate America's next wave of entrepreneurs.
     "To keep pace with their growth, Springboard has expanded the services it
 provides to its Alumnae, providing them with continued access to investors and
 experts," said Millman.  "We want to support these talented women in managing
 their present companies and taking their future opportunities to optimum
 levels of success."
     And this support is even more critical given the fact that, according to
 the National Venture Capital Association, the total number of companies
 obtaining venture funding declined in 2002 by more than 25 percent.  Venture
 One, a source of data on investments in firms led by women, suggests
 investments in women led firms have declined as well.
     "Springboard Alumnae over the past two years have demonstrated a high
 overall survival rate, with a significant percentage showing substantial
 revenue growth.  This validation of our selection and training process in the
 midst of an abysmal economy demonstrates that the Springboard experience, our
 network and ongoing coaching opportunities will pay off for women
 entrepreneurs, investors, and the economy in general," observed Millman.

SOURCE Springboard Enterprises