An advisor to and long-time supporter of Third Wave Fashion, Kelly Hoey is nothing short of an inspiration. After hearing that she was joining Cuurio, we thought we’d find out what else was new for this woman that’s changing the world.
Tell us about your new role.
I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Cuurio as Chief Marketing Officer. Cuurio is an index of startups and an ideation platform that connects brands and agencies with emerging technology to create breakthrough partnerships.
Founder Lexie Kier has a rather impressive background which uniquely positions her to solve the brand problem of finding clarity, context, and connection in a rapidly-fragmenting emerging tech landscape (Lexie led strategy for brands like Applied Materials, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bristol Myers Squibb, Campbell’s, Canon, Coca Cola, Green Mountain Coffee, Estee Lauder, FedEx, Fisher Price, Frito Lay, H&R Block, IBM, IKEA, Intel, Kodak, Kraft Foods, Mondolez, Nokia, Pfizer, Philips, Proctor & Gamble, Takeda, and Zappos AND she has worked as a senior digital strategist and planner for leading advertising agencies (Vaynermedia, 360i / Dentsu, and Omnicom’s Ketchum and CAHG\TBWA\WorldHealth).
Prior to founding Cuurio, Lexie was senior strategist at VaynerMedia where she directed strategy for social / community management / content creation and emerging technology partnerships. Did I mention Lexie was impressive? Yes, she has me lifting my startup game and hustling!
You’ve wound down Women Innovate Mobile. Why?
The founders of WIM (me, Deborah Jackson and Veronika Sonsev) remain committed to seeing more women founding companies and successfully scaling however, we realized we could have a bigger impact by pursuing other avenues in early-stage ventures. Deborah is the founder of Plum Alley Co., a crowd funding platform for products and services founded by women (New York Tech women’s Jenn Shaw successfully crowdfunded her venture BellaMinds using Plum Alley). Veronika is the co-founder of the social commerce platform, inSparq and a member of the 2014 class of the prestigious NYC Venture Fellows. In addition to my role as CMO of Cuurio, I’ll be mentoring startups for ER Accelerator, Grand Central Tech and Straight Shot as well as writing a weekly column on entrepreneurs for Irish Central. I’m also the independent director on the board of ephemeral photo-sharing app Glimpse and on the advisory boards of mobile startups Rchery and BFF.
In addition to WIM, you’re known for a ton of other events. What’s the latest with those?
Founders Breakfasts continue (next one is May 21) and the Meet The Innovators speaker series continues monthly in the Apple Store in SoHo, with events are being planned for Chicago. The first Meet The Innovators is happening in San Francisco on May 1. So, I guess the message for the startup community and those with an interest in engaging with innovative companies creating break-through technologies and products, is that those events will continue in full force!
Where do you suggest women entrepreneurs look for resources?
Here’s a quick hit list of suggested sites (other than those I’ve previously mentioned in this interview and of course, Third Wave Fashion):
Big point for women entrepreneurs: there are resources out there, and there are lots of startups competing for them so get comfortable with bragging and apply for opportunities. You can’t win the startup game by not diving into the thick of the game.
What’s the #1 thing you wish new entrepreneurs knew?
I’m a broken record on three points:
•Know your financials. If you’re the founder of a startup, knowing the bottom line/how to read a balance sheet, is your job.
• VC funding is not a revenue strategy
• Brand partnerships are about what your startup can do for the brand, not vice versa.
What’s the #1 thing you wished that people looking to be mentors knew?
How to give honest advice. Honest advice isn’t always “nice” or “kind”. If the startup idea before you has no chance of success, don’t sugar coat the advice. Not every startup idea is going to (or should) succeed. Not every “founder” is cut out for entrepreneurship. My role models for mentoring are two angel investors, both who happen to be women. They are blunt and direct in their guidance to entrepreneurs, sometimes in a “I don’t like” or “why the *&%# would you do that” sort of way, which I think is far more helpful to the entrepreneur than !@#$%^&*-footing around a poorly thought out idea.
How can we stay in touch with you?
I’m a Twitter addict so find me online @jkhoey and yes, launching my own website soon which will aggregate my social media profiles, blogs and calendar of activities in the startup world.
Anything else we should know?
I’d like to see more female founders on The Embargo List. The Embargo List is an alternative PR firm for startup founders, bridging the gap between media outlets and expert entrepreneurial sources. I am not amused to learn that female founders are not putting their hand up to say they are “experts” on the business issues of startinga scalable early-stage tech venture in numbers equal to their male counterparts…..I had hoped my generation was the last of the expertise/qualification self-doubts. Put your hand up and say yes to opportunities, ladies.
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