About Astia

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why I Picked Astia In The Jungle Of Startup Accelerators, Incubators

“I made new friendships with CEOs from around the world building products solving a variety of problems.”

Published on: June 12, 2012 

By Poornima Vijayashanker (Founder & CEO, BizeeBee)

When I left Mint.com to start BizeeBee, a number of startup incubators approached me about joining.
While I liked the concept of having focused time to think, learn, and mentors who had help build some pretty amazing technology companies, I decided against joining an incubator.

I needed some time to myself, and quite frankly, I wanted the first six months of starting BizeeBee to be unstructured. Instead of spending time inside brainstorming, I got outside and met potential customers. I interviewed a number of them to understand their needs before a single line of code was written.

After the initial prototype was built, launched, and I had raised a seed round of funding an investor and mentor suggested that I look into Astia. I had heard about Astia before and had also seen many success stories come out of it.

Read the full original post on Women 2.0, here>>>

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kauffman Foundation announces $600,000 renewed investment in Astia

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

$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 the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students’ math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

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 Wealth Management, 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 and Facebook and follow us on twitter: @astiaglobal

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Give them what they want. Give them what they need...

Sharon Vosmek
Sharon Vosmek
CEO Astia
This month's newsletter is the final in a three-part series about our endeavor to increase our impact and mainstream our message to the broader business community.

In our conversations with you, we learned that our global community has become a unique and invaluable resource for entrepreneurs. You have told us that where we can increase our impact is by increasing our focus on how we engage that community to help ignite the growth of the Astia companies.

Every successful high-growth company hits an inflection point that results in hyper growth. You told us that the Astia community and offering, when thoughtfully engaged, can be the resource to ensure that the Astia companies successfully navigate to this hyper-growth. The peer-to-peer connections, the industry connections, the investor connections - when mapped to this objective - can be the rocket fuel for growth for the companies we serve.

We listened to you, and to this end, allow us to present the newly refined Astia offering for women-led, high-growth start-ups:

Astia Access - A broad offering for exceptional startups that aspire to high-growth and who seek expert-level feedback. Access members receive timely, targeted, and unfiltered feedback - an invaluable tool for any smart entrepreneur's toolbox - as well as access to online tools and community. Early 2013 Launch

Astia Global Entrepreneur Program - A premier offering for exceptional entrepreneurs leading emerging companies (the "e-suite") 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 other industry leaders. Launched Spring 2012

Astia Portfolio - A premier offering for breakout companies on the fast track to success. By invitation-only, best-of-class companies from around the world will present to and be selected by industry leaders to join this elite cohort. Launching the second half of this year. 
For each level of engagement, companies will receive:
  • Unparalleled access to the global community of entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders.
  • Unfiltered feedback, strategic guidance & high-level introductions.
  • The opportunity to engage with and learn from a global cadre of exceptional entrepreneur peers.

To help you extend our message, we listened to our entrepreneurs and here are the key messages they would want us to share:
  • Astia is extremely competitive and highly selective: Companies are sourced, screened, and selected by the global community of experts.
  • Astia offers select ventures an opportunity to achieve high-growth: We focus our work on the difficult stages of growth. When things get tough, Astia is with you.
  • Astia is a community: We short-cut the pathways to success through the development of rich relationships. We make the right connections at the right time.
  • Astia offers women entrepreneurs the resources to be successful:  Being a successful high growth company requires rapid professional growth for the founders. Astia's offering provides the leadership skills necessary for founders to become CEO's.
  • Astia advances a woman-led not a woman-only mission. In everything we do we strive for a 50/50 representation of men and women.  
We are excited to implement the ideas you have shared with us and have every confidence that this refined approach will deliver on our desire to increase our impact.

I very much look forward to working with you in the coming months as we roll this out.

Cheers and thank you to all who continue to engage, support, and lead this important work,