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 Forum. 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 experiences. 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