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It’s Not Just
A Dream, It’s
K I M L A V I N E
I thought the biggest barrier holding
women back was reluctance by male
investors to invest in women-led
businesses. I Was...
In 2002, after my husband lost his job, I took my kitchen table idea, the Wuvit® – a designer spa
therapy pillow you heat ...
My search for serious money took me to the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, where the first Tuesday of
every month th...
I worked for three months to put together an initial meeting with The Grand Angels in Grand
Rapids Michigan at the brand n...
“Everything begins with a dream, a search for something better, an idea, the
courage to face a challenge, and the passion ...
My first book tour appearance would be on the #1 morning news program, THE TODAY SHOW. I had a 5
minute segment with 4 rem...
My book tour was supposed to be three weeks, but it turned into three months. I was crisscrossing the
country hitting ever...
.”
Around us were seated a star-studded cast of
celebrities and media executives in a room coursing
with power lunchers. J...
But I had investors and I was fighting a battle in the board room to control the direction of my company.
Raising capital ...
“Closing the Gender Gap is estimated to
boost US GDP by 9% Eurozone GDP by
13%, Japan GDP by 16%.*Companies with
a higher ...
A few weeks later I was back in New York staying at the Melia hotel on West 35th near Fox Studios where I
was appearing on...
I was shocked to promptly find myself seated next to the Governor with only 8 people in
attendance: her Chief of Staff, Pr...
They called me back that week and I would return to the Governor’s residence and capitol offices many times in
the next ye...
It was early spring when I drove to Kalamazoo to meet with my first investor contact. Intoxicated by the beauty
of orchard...
IWith this one investor I realized I had some of the smartest money in the country
enthusiastically behind me. I started c...
I realized the solution to this mess was never going to come from Washington, or Wall
Street. I had invested so much preci...
At times of historic change comes historic opportunity, and I was all about opportunity. What I feared from the
beginning ...
I checked into the Andaz Hotel on Sunset and looked out from the rooftop pool over the Hollywood hills; they had lost
my r...
This time I stayed at the Hollywood Roosevelt, eating my breakfast of granola and fresh
fruit next to the David Hockney po...
I was back in New York to meet with the world’s biggest advertiser and I needed to find a publicist to turn my
dream into ...
I told him I was putting together a Private Equity Summit designed
to connect women with capital. He asked me when it was ...
WHAT DO INVESTORS REALLY WANT? Find out in this interview with Terry
Cross at my Private Equity Summit kick-off at my H.O....
I put together pitch criteria for the event and an application process online. With almost no
marketing behind it, I had d...
How To Shift a Paradigm
• Break down conventional wisdom that investors are
only interested in high-tech ventures.
• Take ...
I bumped into one of the organizers of this TED event
and asked him what he thought would happen if you
plugged TED into a...
But THE NEXT BIG DREAM was about to get exponentially bigger. And so were the challenges, when we put
together meetings in...
Free market capitalism was the only solution and some people were giving it a bad name. Somewhere in-
between Wall Street ...
Who knows how long this train of investor money is going to be around before it leaves the station? We are
living in histo...
It was the holidays, a time for family
and friends and love and laughter. I
started putting all the pieces
together and re...
K I M L A V I N E
۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
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www.TheNextBigDream.com ™

  1. 1. It’s Not Just A Dream, It’s
  2. 2. K I M L A V I N E
  3. 3. I thought the biggest barrier holding women back was reluctance by male investors to invest in women-led businesses. I Was Wrong. Never in a million years would I have thought that putting together $100 million in investor commitments for THE NEXT BIG DREAM would have been the easiest piece of this epic journey. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ Women own 48% of all businesses, but only receive 4% of all private equity to start and grow those businesses. As a result, only 3% of women-owned businesses have annual revenues of a million dollars or more. I’m here to change that. Kim Lavine
  4. 4. In 2002, after my husband lost his job, I took my kitchen table idea, the Wuvit® – a designer spa therapy pillow you heat in the microwave – to $225,000 in sales in just 8 weeks. In 2004 we rolled out to 250 Saks Inc stores in just 4 months, quickly followed by Macy’s, Gottschalks, Von Maur, Bed Bath & Beyond, Whole Foods, and Tabi, a 90-store chain in Canada. In 2005, at Saks request, we launched a signature line of designer pajamas under the Green Daisy brand to record sell-throughs. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ I accomplished these feats of design, sales, manufacturing and distribution with little more than determination, the equity in my home and personal savings. Now I needed serious money.
  5. 5. My search for serious money took me to the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, where the first Tuesday of every month three entrepreneurs pitched a panel of investors. Everybody here, including Nobel laureates, was in a state of Code Red when it came to money. There was blood in the water and sharks in the audience and the investor panel spared no egos as they tore apart business plans, technology, burn rates and especially, presenters’ attire. I was scared just sitting in the audience. There were at least a hundred spectators in the crowded room, all focused on a panel before them made up of three investors, one of them the most buttoned-down, formidable-looking Master of the Universe I had ever seen in my life whom I called Smart Money. The presentations were over and I dashed up to the front and made my pitch to Smart Money. It wouldn’t be long before we were talking regularly . ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  6. 6. I worked for three months to put together an initial meeting with The Grand Angels in Grand Rapids Michigan at the brand new Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences. One of the investors at that meeting tore up my business plan and threw it in my face. I closed the deal with that same group three months later. I understood this was a big chess game with all kinds of players who needed to sense risk and imminent fear of losing in order to keep forward progress. Emotions were just the playing pieces, not the players. Suddenly I was pulling strings, applying pressure and threatening to walk, not meaning one word of it. I could have never done it without the help of Smart Money. The question was: would other women be able to do this? And who would teach them how? ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  7. 7. “Everything begins with a dream, a search for something better, an idea, the courage to face a challenge, and the passion to get it done. You can do it. Believe in yourself. Change the rules. Join the revolution.” from MOMMY MILLIONAIRE ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ I saw a segment on Oprah where she was interviewing moms who created million dollar businesses in their free time while homeschooling their children and thought it was a myth that would demoralize millions of women. I wrote a segment pitch for her producers called the “Myth of the Mommy Millionaire.” My assistant thought it would be a great book. I emailed it to 6 agents that day and had 2 contracts on my desk by the end of the week. I’ll never forget the day I got out of a cab on Broadway and looked up at the famous Flat Iron Building, star-struck. I didn’t know it then but I was about to go in and meet the most fabulous person in New York, who would change my life forever. She was one of the biggest franchise makers in publishing, and soon to be my Editor.
  8. 8. My first book tour appearance would be on the #1 morning news program, THE TODAY SHOW. I had a 5 minute segment with 4 remotes answering questions from 4 viewers around the country. I had to prepare 3 bullet point answers in advance for each question which would be displayed on TV’s, but not on my monitor, and I had to hit each one in order. My publicist and I were standing just outside the studio entrance to the Today Show rehearsing as Martha Stewart walked out, having just finished her segment, looking me up and down. We tried to find a seat in the tiny green room, but it was filled up by Paula Dean and her entourage of sons and family. I was so rehearsed I could hit the bullet points in my sleep; it was a good thing because when we went live with the interview, Anne Curry asked me the wrong question first, sending the producers into a panic behind her as I adlibbed, not remembering a word I said. “An inspiring gift and road map to success.” STARRED REVIEW: “an impressive entrepreneurial saga…a top-notch how-to guide on launching a business…..a rare gem. “Loaded with resources for a fledgling business, woman or man." ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  9. 9. My book tour was supposed to be three weeks, but it turned into three months. I was crisscrossing the country hitting every TV and radio station on the way promoting book store and speaking events. I was staying at the Conrad Hotel in downtown Indianapolis when I woke up one morning and had to call the front desk to remind me what city I was in. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ Everywhere I went everybody wanted to know how to raise angel capital. Those who had already read my book said they were afraid to try. I couldn’t sugar-coat the process but I had to put it into sweet sound bites for the media. Raising capital was the most important job any entrepreneur had and nobody was teaching anybody how to do it. The only way you could learn how to do it, was to do it; there were land mines and deal breakers every step of the way. The dramatic and honest description of how I did it made my book read like a page-turning novel, and turned it into a bestseller.
  10. 10. .” Around us were seated a star-studded cast of celebrities and media executives in a room coursing with power lunchers. Joan Rivers was at one table. Atoosa Rubenstein sat next to us wearing a bright green dress. It could have been my imagination, but they all seemed to be looking at Diane, who’s table commanded the center of the room. She had invited me here to tell me that she and some partners were starting a new media company, including the former Creative Director of one of the world’s biggest ad agencies, and the former Editor at a major women’s magazine. These were some of the smartest people in the business. “Was I interested?” Was I dreaming? Michael himself ushered me to where she was seated, exclaiming, “Diane is your Editor? You’re so lucky, she’s the best Editor in the world.” I thought I knew just how fabulous the most fabulous person in New York was, until she took me to Michaels, where we sat at her “own table ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  11. 11. But I had investors and I was fighting a battle in the board room to control the direction of my company. Raising capital nearly killed me. I had no idea I had to continue the fight with the same kind of stamina and determination in the board room, and no idea what I was in for in the months ahead. The first cannonball was launched over my bow over lunch at the Bryant Park Grill in NY. My CEO wanted to convert to a licensing model, and if anybody could do it, he could. It all looked good on paper, but I was the only one in the board room who worried if the vertical money would run out before the licensing revenues kicked in. My business was built on a vertical business model of design, manufacturing, sales and distribution into premiere retailers like Saks Inc, Bed Bath & Beyond, Gottschalks, Whole Foods and others, all of which I had brought on before bringing on investors. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  12. 12. “Closing the Gender Gap is estimated to boost US GDP by 9% Eurozone GDP by 13%, Japan GDP by 16%.*Companies with a higher percentage of women in top management experienced 35% higher Return on Equity and 34% higher Total Return to shareholders. Emerging Global Talent Crisis resulting in ‘Brain waste’ due to widespread gender gap caused by traditions, conservative attitudes and social norms. Global economy will face demographic shock of a scale not yet observed.” Nadereh Chamlou in a report to the World Bank I was home with my kids when I caught an interview with John Micklethwait, Editor-In-Chief of THE ECONOMIST on C-SPAN. I was immediately captivated by his urbane yet modest demeanor and witty command of recondite economic theories. I devoured THE ECONOMIST’S irreverent reports of the raucous exploits of ‘Davos Man.’ I read the reports by Nadereh Chamlou and wondered why no one had heard of her before ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  13. 13. A few weeks later I was back in New York staying at the Melia hotel on West 35th near Fox Studios where I was appearing on the nationally-syndicated Morning Show Mike & Juliet. My limo driver picked me up from La Guardia and spent the whole drive into the city telling me how worried he was about the economy. I told him everything was going to be alright, that a few sub-prime mortgage brokers were going to go under, but they probably deserved to. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ I remember watching in horror from my hotel room that week as the reports on CNBC gradually became more frantic by the minute as the true reality of the financial crisis began to materialize before the nation’s eyes
  14. 14. I was shocked to promptly find myself seated next to the Governor with only 8 people in attendance: her Chief of Staff, Press Secretary, the VP of the MEDC, and the Directors of the MWF and the MWC. The Governor had to excuse herself throughout dinner to take calls from leaders at Chrysler as she negotiated a multi-billion dollar bail-out in Washington as I watched The economy was in free fall and Michigan was ground zero. Michigan was about to become a state of entrepreneurs, by necessity, not choice, and they wanted to know my ideas for helping laid-off autoworkers make the transition. “Connect women with capital,” I boldly told them, “and stop incentivizing failure by giving investors the tax-deduction when they put their money into the start-up, instead of when it fails.” I spoke my mind and by the time I was done I was confident they would never invite me back. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ In October of 2008, the Governor’s office called with an invitation for dinner at the official residence in Lansing. I pulled up to the iron gates in the dark of an unassuming, ultra-modern dwelling and was asked to state my name by security into an intercom. A guard met me at my car and led me to the mammoth red front door, opened by the First Gentleman.
  15. 15. They called me back that week and I would return to the Governor’s residence and capitol offices many times in the next year. Over 10 million jobs had been lost overnight—with Michigan the hardest hit. Everyone in the state was trying to figure out how to create jobs. The answer was obvious to me: women were starting businesses at twice the rate of men, When 70% of all new jobs come from small businesses, connecting women with capital to start and grow businesses was job #1. At the Governor’s request, my team worked for months to come up with CONNECTING TO SUCCESS, bringing together public and private organizations to connect women to billions of private equity. I started using all my personal connections to call up all the VC and angel investors I knew to ask them personally to participate in my mission. Getting them to get behind a government-sponsored initiative was almost insurmountable—but I did. “Kim, you continue to be an inspiration to us all… under Governor Granholm’s leadership.” Lisa Danscok, VP MEDC ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  16. 16. It was early spring when I drove to Kalamazoo to meet with my first investor contact. Intoxicated by the beauty of orchards in bloom I missed my exit and arrived late. He was gracious as I told him women owned 48% of all businesses and were starting businesses at twice the rate of men, yet only received 4% of all private equity to start and grow those businesses. As a result, only 3% of women-owned businesses had annual revenues of a million dollars. It was my strategy to look him in the eye from across his desk and ask him why he wasn’t investing in women-owned businesses. I wasn’t prepared for his answer. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ He was as shocked as I about the 4% statistic. He told me the problem wasn’t a conscious decision on his part to not invest in women- owned businesses; the problem was, women weren’t asking him for money. They weren’t even pitching him. I asked him, “If I vet and qualify women entrepreneurs to pitch you, will you come—and will you bring your money?” He answered "Yes. Just make it about money—not about women.”
  17. 17. IWith this one investor I realized I had some of the smartest money in the country enthusiastically behind me. I started calling other connections. I had $100 million lined up in three phone calls ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ was back in the Governor’s office for a final meeting. Our part of the deal was done; we needed $1.8 million to manage the infrastructure necessary to connect the $100 million with women entrepreneurs. The Governor’s staff rushed from the capital building across the street to our meeting. The grounds were covered with news trucks running live satellite feeds from every station in the state. There was bare-knuckled debate going on on the floor as the national economic crisis was creating catastrophic budget shortfalls for states dealing with historic levels of unemployment, foreclosures, corporate bankruptcies and bail-outs. The writing was on the wall: Governor Granholm was a lame duck, budgets were being slashed, and Lansing was embroiled in all-out partisan infighting. This deal was dead but I wasn’t about to let my dream die.
  18. 18. I realized the solution to this mess was never going to come from Washington, or Wall Street. I had invested so much precious time and resources into my dream of connecting women with capital—without a dollar in return—that I decided to go all in. I was spreading my time between being a mom to my two boys, one autistic, and trying to run my own companies in a business environment in total meltdown. It would have probably driven anyone else to give up, and I asked myself frequently if I should. My boys always answered that question with a resounding ‘NO.” ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ Every one of my national retail accounts went bankrupt and closed. The retail industry went into crisis and shut down, freezing new buying indefinitely. The credit markets disappeared overnight, making it impossible to carry 180 day manufacturing runs out of China like I had been. My father died. I decided it was time to start that media company everyone wanted, but this time without investors or loans. It. Was. Not. Easy. But things were going to get much worse before they got better. When the bottom fell out of Wall Street, it fell out of my business, and millions of other businesses across America.
  19. 19. At times of historic change comes historic opportunity, and I was all about opportunity. What I feared from the beginning had become reality: the vertical revenues dried up before the licensing revenues replaced them. Everyone was reinventing themselves so I did, too. I went to the mat with my investors and fiercely negotiated the buy-back of my company Green Daisy, assuming all the debt in return. I was back in New York on business. The licensing model my CEO had envisioned had become a reality. We had just launched a new home décor line in New York’s premiere showplace on Fifth Avenue. My Creative Director and I were invited to celebrate with my Editor and her (rabbi, Vietnam veteran, Wall Street attorney) husband at the Yale Club. I ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ t was the best of times, and it was the worst of times. The conversation over dinner that evening at the Yale Club will be forever memorable. My Editor convinced me that Hollywood was the place to be, and she had just the agent to take me there. At her urging I signed with him, and within months I was putting together a production deal and new book deal, certain they would make my dream of connecting women with capital a reality.
  20. 20. I checked into the Andaz Hotel on Sunset and looked out from the rooftop pool over the Hollywood hills; they had lost my reservation, it was late so they ‘comped’ me an upgrade to a suite where Robert Plant reportedly stayed during the heyday of Led Zeppelin, with pictures of them riding in on motorcycles adorning the walls. Looking down Sunset Boulevard at night from the rooftop pool, with Tom Petty singing “the future was wide open” in the background, I was totally swept away by Hollywood glamour. We had a half dozen meetings, including the biggest production company in the world. This show was going to be about people raising angel capital; the VP I pitched said “just tell me you open suitcases till you win a million dollars.” The next day we met in Santa Monica with one of the biggest hit-makers on TV. The Managing Partner told me what a fan her sister was of my book. They got my concept and we were on the same page when it came to developing it. I told her that as long as we worked together for the greatest good of all parties, we couldn’t help but succeed. I was right. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  21. 21. This time I stayed at the Hollywood Roosevelt, eating my breakfast of granola and fresh fruit next to the David Hockney pool, as I went over our busy pitch schedule for the day. I met my team members at CBS. We were pitching a top exec when the talk turned to 401k’s, the economy, and the disastrous real estate market in LA. People had lost everything, including top executives. He asked me if I wanted to be on ‘Survivor,’ and I said no. We had a dozen meetings lined up, and the next was with Oprah Winfrey’s new network OWN. They were just launching and everybody in Hollywood was standing in line to make a deal; after months of meetings, we would be the first. We got a green light and everybody I knew suddenly wanted to be my friend. The deal died in negotiation and all my new friends disappeared. We could have taken the deal, but it could have been the end of my dream. I wasn’t putting fame before fortune—or history. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ We worked for months producing a sizzle reel for the show, writing, casting, filming, and then to my surprise, summarizing it all in a PowerPoint presentation. Forget about all the glamour, this was big business, and in Hollywood there were no barriers to entry—as long as you had a dream. This time I stayed
  22. 22. I was back in New York to meet with the world’s biggest advertiser and I needed to find a publicist to turn my dream into THE NEXT BIG DREAM. I called my Editor; she had two recommendations: Rosemarie Terenzio and Gregg Sullivan. I called Gregg and he was on fire with passion for my NEXT BIG DREAM; he took the train in and met us at Aquavit on E 55th. Before he arrived I got the PAGE 6 gossip from my Editor about the feud between her and Liz Smith. “Didn’t she know that anything said at FREDERIC FEKKAI in the early hours reserved for private clients was off the record?” ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ I returned to my hotel just as Rosemarie Terenzio called. My heart skipped a beat when she said she was JFK Jr’s personal assistant until CAMELOT was INTERRUPTED. I couldn’t believe she wanted to work with me on THE NEXT BIG DREAM. But we had crossed wires; she was planning on meeting the next day and I was planning on leaving. It was one of those moments my Editor would call “beyond coincidence.” Instead she would go on to write a blockbuster bestseller about the young man whom I could tell in her voice she still dearly loved and mourned
  23. 23. I told him I was putting together a Private Equity Summit designed to connect women with capital. He asked me when it was and how much money he should bring with him. He gave me his card and told me to follow up with the details, and he would make sure all his associates would attend as well. He told me to bring it to Israel, because there was a lot of money and a lot of deals being made with women. He offered me the same advice I had heard almost word-for-word before: “Don’t make this about women. Make this about money.” I felt like I hit another dead end and I needed a call from my kids to tell me to “Suck it up!” Instead we decided to stop at the Plaza Hotel to see if we could grab a cup of tea. The dining room was packed so we went back outside to survey our options from the incomparable vantage point of the hotel’s front steps. Our meeting was shattered by a bomb drill in a building just blocks from Times Square where a real bomb had been left weeks before. There was a family visiting from Israel waiting for a cab, and we fell into casual conversation. Originally from New York, he was a venture capitalist visiting on business. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  24. 24. WHAT DO INVESTORS REALLY WANT? Find out in this interview with Terry Cross at my Private Equity Summit kick-off at my H.O.M.E. Office. I had just shown my proprietary blueprints for a ground-breaking digital media project it took me a year to build at immeasurable cost to potential competitors in meetings in New York. I didn’t want to wake up one day to see someone else calling MY BIG DREAM theirs, so I decided to hold my own PRIVATE EQUITY SUMMIT. A lack of patience is probably one of my biggest character flaws. My passion can also sometimes make me come on too strong. At this point, I had an overabundance of both. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ In late January, in the midst of a blizzard, I tested the waters by hosting a kick-off at my H.O.M.E. office in Grand Haven, Michigan, a small venue in a small town, where dozens of women entrepreneurs from across the U.S. and Canada came to pitch real investors. I hadn’t seen media frenzy that we attracted since the launch of MOMMY MILLIONAIRE, but I was in for another paradigm shift.
  25. 25. I put together pitch criteria for the event and an application process online. With almost no marketing behind it, I had dozens of women from around the U.S. and Canada in just days who wanted to pitch ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ We gave everyone two minutes in an actual elevator. My brightest star of the evening was already doing a million in sales annually on her product at top retailers around the world—out of her garage. She was a lawyer, graduated Summa Cum Laude; even though I prepped her to dream big, the bottom of my stomach fell out when she asked for $45,000 in funding. How did I fix that?
  26. 26. How To Shift a Paradigm • Break down conventional wisdom that investors are only interested in high-tech ventures. • Take networking opportunities out of Silicon Valley, boardrooms and "old boys clubs.” • Teach women how to package and drive a deal. • Elevate women’s business funding from a charitable subsistence model to one of exponential financial return. • Vet and qualify women to be money-ready investments, then empower them to be leaders in the boardroom. • But the most difficult and most important paradigm shift is teaching women to think they can. I was on the top of the Empire State Building, overwhelmed by the task at hand. I put my personal reputation on the line to enlist investors from around the world to bring hundreds of millions of dollars to this event, so there had better be fast-growth, high-profit women-owned businesses “money-ready” pitching. The problem wasn’t the investors, the problem was with the women: they didn’t know how to ask for the money, they didn’t know how to drive a deal, they didn’t think investors were interested in their business models, they didn’t know how to frame a Value Proposition—and they didn’t think they could. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  27. 27. I bumped into one of the organizers of this TED event and asked him what he thought would happen if you plugged TED into a $100 million of investor capital. He eagerly answered that he wanted to know more. I had the same response from event speaker Lisa Gansky, who as a rare woman in the tech field had raised millions years ago before selling her company to Kodak. The smartest and most successful investors are the ones who can discern a needle of opportunity in a haystack of mundane moments that make up any normal business day—then act on it with haste. I was beginning to realize that some people just could not see the opportunity, unless they were a “crazy person, or a person with vision.” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that “Innovation never comes from the establishment. It comes from a graduate student, a crazy person, or a person with vision." I was about to meet some of those people at TED @MotorCity. I was coming off a high generated by the spectacular media success of my modest Summit just weeks before. I arrived slightly late and had to wait to be seated during an intermission between speakers ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  28. 28. But THE NEXT BIG DREAM was about to get exponentially bigger. And so were the challenges, when we put together meetings in New York with some of the world’s biggest banks. At another meeting I was speechless when he said he would come, but only if I could put together 10 women asking for a minimum of $10 million each. This was really smart money and I couldn’t disappoint him, but I asked myself how I could possibly vet and qualify the 10 women worth $10 million each when I couldn’t even find one. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria and the OCCUPY movement was in full swing. There were protesters in the street with bullhorns and banners and a news team was filming them as we entered the building. Security was tight and we were escorted up to offices high above the street where we looked down on the protestors. They were so loud, their voices carried over our meeting and our hosts apologized for the intrusion. What they said next stunned me: a percentage of billions in public funds they managed was earmarked for investment in women and minority-owned businesses, and there was more money than there were businesses. But there was more to follow. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  29. 29. Free market capitalism was the only solution and some people were giving it a bad name. Somewhere in- between Wall Street and Occupy New York was the truth—and that truth was Angel Investors, who were pumping over $20 billion a year into early or first-round financing for emerging companies, with that amount growing by over 20% a year. I could understand the anger of the Occupy protesters, but I could not understand what they wanted. This was America, land of the free and home of the brave, and from where I was standing, it looked like a tinderbox full of money ready to explode. Even in the midst of these historic times, America is an embarrassment of riches, a melting pot of freedom and democracy and money that makes this the greatest country on the face of the earth to start a business. This new reality wasn’t easy, but it was the cure, and entrepreneurs—not protesters— were the heroes, taking on personal risk today to create the wealth and employment opportunities for millions tomorrow. A new class of Super Angels were being born, using feet on the street to snap up deals, and one of the smartest guys in the room confided in me off the record that he thought Wall Street would become irrelevant in our lifetimes. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  30. 30. Who knows how long this train of investor money is going to be around before it leaves the station? We are living in historic times, which we’ll look back on as being as influential in transforming America’s future as the Industrial Revolution—but this time it will be the Women’s Revolution. This isn’t just happening in the U.S., it’s happening in every country in the world. According to statistics from the World Bank, women are leading a global economic revolution—and the only piece that is missing is the capital. Missing this window of opportunity could cost a generation of women their opportunity to start billion dollar companies, and millions of men the investment and employment opportunities they create. Crowd-funding was the newest phenomenon, but it was a temporary solution to a Big Problem: Raising capital was the most important job any entrepreneur had and nobody was teaching anyone how to do it—until now. The forecasted growth of women-owned companies from 48% to 55% over the next 4 years is a powerful phenomenon that will rewrite the American cultural landscape, changing work and family life in revolutionary ways. ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  31. 31. It was the holidays, a time for family and friends and love and laughter. I started putting all the pieces together and reflecting on the journey. We had climbed a mountain, but everywhere I looked were new peaks to scale. I’ve never made anything happen by following rules, and not following rules has proven to be an effective strategy. I've never worked harder, traveled further, dug deeper, dreamt bigger, risked more for so many--on a dream. It would have been so much easier to just give up, or give in. Who did I think I was to show up at these places and ask these people to join me in my dream and dare them to tell me 'no?’ Maybe I wasn’t the best person for the job, but I was the only person willing to do it. I looked at my 15 year old son from across a dinner table; he told me after watching what I had been through he would never do it. He said I was his hero because I followed my dreams. I had sacrificed so much financially to get here, but at that moment I felt like the luckiest person in the world. Money is just the machinery that makes ideas work. The person and their dream is the commodity worth millions. This is the story of that dream and history being made ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰
  32. 32. K I M L A V I N E ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰ ۰

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