Kat Kennedy joins venture capital fund Kickstart to increase investments in the Mountain West
Salt Lake City—Kickstart, a West Mountain-focused, seed-stage venture capital firm, announced Kat Kennedy as General Partner. Kennedy brings with her 15 years of operating experience, and her appointment will allow the company to continue to create successful opportunities for the Mountain West region.
With the experience of going from a startup’s first employee to president – one that went from seed to late stage under her leadership – Kennedy brings a fresh perspective and empathy to founders navigating the mountains. Russians growing a venture-backed business.
“Kat has an unparalleled skill set when it comes to scaling businesses. His courageous entrepreneurial spirit and passion for helping other entrepreneurs was exactly what we were looking for,” said Gavin Christensen, General Partner and Founder of Kickstart. “Adding Kat allows us to grow at a time when so many venture capital firms are backsliding, not just on investments, but on building their teams. Kat truly embodies everything we value here, and we We’re excited to see what the future holds with his perspective on board.
Prior to joining Kickstart, Kennedy spent the past decade at Degreed, a workplace skills-upgrading platform, where she most recently served as President and Chief Experience Officer of the company. Kennedy helped grow Degreed from a valuation of 0 to $1.5 billion in 9 years and brings with her extensive experience in acquisitions, growing a global business and scaling businesses. a world-class product.
Kennedy’s nomination makes her one of the few female partners in the state. Despite years of efforts to increase diversity among venture capital decision makers, a significant gender gap still exists. In the United States, women make up only about 11% of corporate investment partners, and because venture capitalists play a critical gatekeeper role in deciding which ideas, products, and innovations receive capital, only About 13% of venture capital dollars go to startups with a woman on the founding team.
“The goal of venture capital is to generate returns by fostering innovation. As a woman born and raised here in Utah, who has gone through the various stages of growing a venture-backed company, I couldn’t think of a better way to make an impact in the Mountain West than by supporting founders who begin their own journey,” says Kennedy. “Kickstart has always done an incredible job of finding and funding entrepreneurs from all walks of life, and I’m thrilled to extend that support.”
“Kat is an inspiration to women in Utah and beyond about the growing influence women can and should have in the future of business. I’m proud to see her stepping through this new step in her career, as Kat is proof of the impact that one person can have on her community, her business and her industry. I am confident that she will put everything she has learned as a operator and will deploy not only capital, but experience as well,” said David Blake, co-founder and CEO of Degreed.
Kickstart was founded in 2008 as the first-ever seed fund in Utah, and its fund has grown alongside the explosion of Utah’s tech scene. To date, the firm has $311 million in assets under management, over 150 active portfolio companies, and has raised $2.7 billion in capital.
Kickstart is an early-stage venture capital firm with a mission to help build great startups in Utah, Colorado and the Mountain West. Founded in 2008 as the first seed fund in Utah, Kickstart has worked with local universities, angel investors, entrepreneurs, venture capital funds and other key stakeholders to create a seed fund. seed to which the community could rally. The company is committed to being accessible, directing investments to promising but early-stage teams, and being fair with entrepreneurs and investors. Kickstart aspires to always be the choice for seed capital in the region with a reputation for fierce loyalty, deep competence and complete alignment with the founders.