Tech Women's Event: Funding Womens' Businesses



  • Our Piece of the Pie:   What women entrepreneurs can do to successfully fund their businesses


    Last year, SDForum Tech Women hosted a panel of women entrepreneurs and then a panel of women VCs.  During these sessions, we heard about some of the challenges women face in getting investors to back their companies.  In this session, the panel will focus on what steps women entrepreneurs can take to increase the attractiveness of their ventures to investors and to find alternative sources of funding.  

    Drawing on the research she's done for her recently released whitepaper, High Performance Entrepreneurs, VC (and former high tech CEO) Cindy Padnos will moderate a panel of investors and women entrepreneurs who will address such questions as:
    •    How can women entrepreneurs increase the likelihood of finding funding for their ventures?
    •    What can we do to make investors aware of opportunities they miss if by not looking at women entrepreneurs?
    •    What can  SDForum do to help ??

    Michelle Bonat, RumbaFish, CEO and Founder
    Cynthia Ringo, DBL Investors,Managing Partner
    Vicki Saunders, Zazengo, CEO 
    Steve Goldberg, Venrock , Partner
    Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures, Founding Managing Director (Moderator)
    Susan Lucas-Conwell, SD Forum, CEO (closing address)

    Michelle Bonat, RumbaFish, CEO and Founder
    A second time CEO, Michelle has 20 years of experience in marketing, enterprise applications, analytics and social media. She has a successful track-record of launching and scaling B2B technology products and solutions in high-growth markets. As a social media and online marketing expert, Michelle's prior experience includes leading Oracle's $50 million self-service web applications Financials/CRM suite, driving the first on-demand mid-market applications and monetization of the supplier network at Ariba, and directing marketing and product groups for several high-tech startups.  Most recently she led a social media marketing consulting firm, and created the successful award winning online social game stompBox Tunes which became a top Facebook application.

    An analytics geek and prior money-center banker, Michelle has an undergraduate degree in English literature and an MBA in Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management, both at Northwestern University.

    Cynthia Ringo, Managing Partner, DBL Investors
    Cynthia is a Managing Partner of DBL Investors, an investment firm focused on delivering strong financial returns together with positive social, environmental, and economic impact, which she joined in April 2008. She currently is a board observer for LiveScribe and Aeris Capital. She was formerly a Managing Director of VantagePoint Venture Partners from 2002 to 2008 where she was Group Leader of the Communications, Systems Internet and Media Practice. Prior to VantagePoint, Cynthia served as the CEO of Coppercom, a next-generation network switching company. Cynthia served on the board of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) from 2000 to 2004, and as Chair of the Board for 2001 through 2003. Winner of 2000 FWE’s Entrepreneur Award. Advisor to Astia. Cynthia received a B.S. in Legal Systems from Georgia State University and a JD from Emory University School of Law.

    Vicki Saunders, Zazengo, CEO 
    Vicki Saunders is a serial entrepreneur committed to developing sustainable, thriving businesses that tackle major challenges we are facing in society.

    Zazengo works with companies committed to sustainability to activate consumers and employees to take positive, meaningful action towards corporate sustainability goals.

    Previous to Zazengo, Vicki was co-CEO of the NRG Group, a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The NRG Group grew out of KidsNRG, Canada's leading catalyst and supporter of youth entrepreneurship, when KidsNRG merged with a $40M venture fund to develop an internet incubator and youth marketing consultancy.

    In 2001, Vicki was selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. She has spoken widely at events around the world including; The World Economic Forum in Davos, Women of Influence Series in Canada, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs events and the Tallberg Forum.

    Steve Goldberg, Venrock , Partner
    (Venrock recieved 2 awards for funding Women !)
    Prior to joining Venrock, Steve was CEO of four early stage startups in the wireless and signal processing industries; DataRunway, Vidient, CoWave Networks, and Verticom. He was also Vice President of R&D at Nokia Internet Communications where he had overall responsibility for designing and building networking and security infrastructure products. Before that, he was VP & GM of the Wireless Communications Division at Cylink Corporation which was part of the successful Cylink IPO in February 1996. In addition to the above, he has also held senior management and engineering positions at Applied Signal Technology, Hewlett Packard, and Trimble Navigation.
    Steve’s investment interests at Venrock include the energy efficiency and novel energy generation technologies within the Cleantech sector, networking, computing, and storage, location/GPS-based businesses, and generally, high-technology products with some physical/hardware component.

    Steve holds a Ph.D. E.E. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and M.S.E.E. and B.S.E.E degrees from Washington University in St Louis, Mo. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a past president of the IEEE Communications Society, Santa Clara Section. He is a licensed ham radio operator (WQ6L), a Level 8 USSF soccer referee, and was the 1996 US Figure Skating Assn. Adult Pairs Champion in 1996.

    Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures, Founding Managing Director
    Illuminate focuses on Internet, SaaS/cloud computing, digital media, technology-enabled services and mobile communications investments. Cindy currently serves as a director of privately held companies BrightEdge, CalmSea, Wild Pockets and Xactly Corporation.

    Prior to founding Illuminate, Cindy was a Director of Outlook Ventures where she was one of three investment professionals responsible for committing the firm’s $140M fund. During her tenure with the firm she participated in numerous new and follow-on financings, including sourcing more than half of the firm’s new investments.  Cindy took an active role within the firm and the portfolio – codifying the firm’s investment sector thesis, establishing a CMO knowledge exchange between portfolio companies and facilitating Outlook’s annual investor meeting.  Immediately before joining Outlook, Cindy’s long-standing relationships within the VC ecosystem allowed her to “apprentice” in the industry as a venture consultant, working with several top-tier venture capital firms and their portfolios.  Her work ranged from interim CEO assignments to new investment due diligence.

    Before entering the venture capital community Cindy gained almost 20 years of operational experience culminating in her role as founder and CEO of Vivant, an innovative SaaS company, where she successfully led this venture-backed company to its acquisition (EVLV).  Prior positions include roles as President and CEO of Acumen (M&A), founding vice president of marketing at Scopus Technology (IPO) and management positions at IDE, Ingres and AT&T.  Earlier in her career Cindy also served as a management consultant with Arthur D. Little and Booz, Allen & Hamilton where she worked closely with executive teams in both large and small companies across the tech sector focusing on sales acceleration, new business spin-outs and go-to-market strategies.

    Cindy earned her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, at the University of Michigan and her MBA/MSIA with honors from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. She serves on the Board of Advisors for the Tepper School and for Astia.  Cindy is a member of SpringBoard Enterprises, FWE&E, Women 2.0 and is active in a number of other organizations that support entrepreneurship.

    Join us for this lively and informative discussion hosted by Pillsbury Law


    6:00 - 6:45 p.m  Registration, Networking and Appetizers

    6:45 - 8:30 p.m. Program / Q & A