Kauffman Foundation Extends Grant to Astia to Accelerate the Growth of Women-led Firms

Release Date: 6/12/2012

Media Contacts:
Rose Levy, 646-660-8641, rose@goldinsolutions.com, Golden Solutions
Barbara Pruitt, 816-932-1288; bpruitt@kauffman.org, Kauffman Foundation
Sharon Vosmek, 415-421-5500 x6; sharon@astia.org, Astia

$600,000 grant to drive innovation to market through the scaling of women-led high-growth companies

(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. and KANSAS CITY, Mo.) June 12, 2012 – While the number of women-led firms continues to grow, the size of those firms does not. Yet those who are successful at accessing networks and capital perform on par with their male counterparts. In an ongoing commitment to women high-growth entrepreneurs, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today announced a two-year extension of its previous grant to Astia, an organization dedicated to the success of women-led high-growth startups.

“Kauffman’s previous grant substantially impacted Astia’s programs and ability to continue its exceptional success rate for its companies, so we are doubling down on our commitment to the organization and its methodology,” said Lesa Mitchell, Kauffman’s vice president of advancing innovation. “Research shows that women are under-represented in networks that provide external equity financing and strategic business relationships. Our collaboration with Astia ensures that women gain access to the rich networks that deliver expertise, customers, capital and new markets.”

According to Kauffman data in A Rising Tide, a recently published book on financing of women-led companies, men raised about 80 percent more capital in their companies’ first year of operation than women did. Women rely more on internal financing to start their firms and subsequently lead smaller firms overall. The book reveals “that although women-owned firms have begun to make an impact in terms of numbers, they are still in the early stages of making an economic impact on a larger scale.” The authors conclude that for these firms to achieve their full potential, the women founders need access to networks.   

Since the first Kauffman grant was awarded in 2010, Astia has provided access to high-growth expertise and networks to 198 companies, 168 of which used the network to increase their access to outside capital. The Astia community is comprised of more than 1,500 men and women, including more than 300 investors and more than 300 current and former CEOs, dedicated to propelling women-led businesses into high-growth.

“Research shows that successful high-growth companies hit an inflection point that results in hyper growth. The Astia community is a unique and invaluable resource that ensures that the Astia companies successfully navigate to this hyper growth,” said Sharon Vosmek, CEO, Astia. “Astia is profoundly appreciative of this renewed endorsement and strategic commitment from Kauffman to help extend the impact of the community that is the rocket fuel behind the growth of these tech and life science companies. True to Ewing Marion Kauffman’s original vision for the Foundation, the funding will drive innovation to market.” 

The Astia program offers peer-to-peer, industry and investor connections. Funding from the extended grant will be used to implement the following enhanced offerings. Annual growth metrics will measure the impact to the companies.  

  • Astia Access – For startups that aspire to high growth and whose founders seek expert-level feedback. Access members receive timely, targeted and unfiltered feedback as well as access to online tools and the Astia community.
  • Astia Global Entrepreneur Program – For entrepreneurs leading emerging companies who are poised to take advantage of Astia's global community. Chosen by the community via in-person screening, companies participate in the Astia Global Entrepreneur Program that includes a week-long boot camp followed by three months with a team of Astia Advisors. Advisor teams drive to mission-critical business milestones and are comprised of an investor, a c-level entrepreneur and two additional industry leaders.
  • Astia Portfolio – Launching the second half of this year, this program is for breakout companies on the fast track to success. By invitation-only, these companies from around the world will present to and be selected by industry leaders. 

About Astia

Astia is a global not-for-profit organization with a distinct focus and mission – to propel women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic growth. Guided by a proven philosophy that gender diversity is an essential element of innovation, Astia works with startups around the world as they access capital, grow their businesses, and hone the leadership skills of their founding teams. 

The Astia model of engaging a community of experts to the benefit of the select startups it serves has resulted in an exceptional success rate: since 2003, over 60 percent of companies that have participated in the Astia Investor Forums have secured funding or achieved an exit within one year of presenting, totalling more than $1 billion raised and 25 exits, including two IPOs. Headquartered in San Francisco, Astia delivers programs for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, New York, London and India. Astia is generously supported by the following sponsors: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, The Three Guineas Fund, Fenwick & West, SNR Denton, Silicon Valley Bank, Moss Adams, Microsoft, SAP, Lowenstein Sandler, Cisco, PricewaterhouseCoopers, AOL, Wells Fargo, BNY Mellon, The Althea Foundation, Gust, SalesForce, Citrin Cooperman, ideaSpace, Prolog Ventures, Golden Seeds, Illuminate Ventures, Alloy Ventures, Opus Capital, AOL Ventures, SAP Ventures, Asset Management, StarVest Partners as well as the generous support of individual donors. For more information, visit www.astia.org and follow the organization on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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