Degree from Emory University, 1985
· Masters of Business Administration in Marketing from University of Florida, 1987
· Thirteen years of varying marketing and management positions with IBM
· Seven Years as a Venture Catalyst, during which time Karen launched Kugarand Holdings, LLC (2001) to provide access
to resources and capital for early stage and growing businesses. This led to the founding of Launch Funding Network
in 2004, which provides business development and operational strategies for companies to move through the funding cycles
as they grow. Recognizing that angel investors are the heartbeat of economic development and a critical source of capital
for early stage companies, Karen authored the “Learn to Be an Angel Investor©” series of e-Books educating
over 2000 prospective investors, and acquired the Network of Business Angels and Investors (NBAI) in 2005. NBAI
was founded in 1994 and is currently the most active angel investor organization in the Southeast, with members investing
in over 59 transactions valued at over $36M.
Acquired Skills and Experience:
Business Acumen: Specific strengths include negotiation, establishing marketing
strategy, conduct marketing research and analysis, bringing products and services to market, developing distribution channels,
• Negotiated international procurement contracts on behalf of IBM Global Services
to resell and integrate key mobile and wireless OEM’s products. Ultimately responsible for the market analysis, strategic
alliance, break-even analysis, the delivery infrastructure system to produce a return on investment for IBM’s Mobile
and Wireless Services business unit. Achieved broke-even status in 9 months and built a $20M pipeline
in second year of operation.
• Developed the marketing strategy for multiple products while
at IBM and was instrumental in building the strategy for the launch of IBM strategic partner products including printers and
new emerging technologies. Established and developed the appropriate distribution channels for those offerings.
• Consulted over 30 companies with strategic advice and securing needed resources and capital for
them to grow though the resources available from the Kugarand Holdings family of companies.
Launched new products and services through her family of companies which doubled revenues from 2006 to 2007. Launched
an initiative with KYRMedia as a portal to purchase original e-books, available to the public for the first time, and
select information products for investors and entrepreneurs.
Specific strengths in understanding high-growth business models including: R&D, Information Management, Product Lifecycle,
Marketing Strategy and Distribution Strategy.
IBM customers who were emerging growth businesses to develop marketing and I.S. strategies for business launch, 12 month outlook,
and long-term planning. Industries included healthcare, hospitality, professional business services, wireless
application and services, mixed media, consumer goods, transportation, life sciences, supply chain management, and CRM.
· Developed business cases for IBM to invest in specific emerging
technologies and markets relating to wireless, delivery of internet service to hotel rooms, and handwriting recognition.
· Coached entrepreneurs in the development of their business plan,
executive summaries, and single page prospectus to present their business as capital friendly for investors and lenders.
· Established a structured review process for entrepreneurs to determine
their “investor readiness” and establish a proper funding strategy appropriate for their company’s stage
of operation. Over 20 companies have received capital directly through these efforts and many more have learned
to grow organically or through creative alternative financing.
funding strategies for companies including acquisition, convertible notes, direct private offerings, small business loans,
working capital lines of credit, advance capital against client leases, asset based lending, and traditional private equity
investing from venture capitalists and accredited investors.
7-9 Private Equity Investor Events each year bringing together qualified early stage companies and active angel investors
in a private setting.
Programs: Applying business acumen to community
development initiatives to help minority and disadvantaged businesses grow and attract capital.
· Acted as Co-Chair for Business Plan Review and Development Committee
of mITE (Minority Internet Technology Entrepreneurs),
Plan Review Committee for EVN (Emerging Venture Network),
Community Development Fund task force with Business LINC as part of MED (Minority Enterprise Development) Week 2003,2004,
· Committee for Bridging the Capital Divide with
the Minority Business Development Center and Business LINC,
Sponsor and Chair for the Progressive Investor Network (PIN) as part of the initiative with Atlanta Urban League and
the Minority Business Development Center at GA Tech,
Chair for capital events and Run it By the Pros on behalf of the MIT Enterprise Forum.
· Speaking engagements covering Access to Business Capital (The
Money Hunt©) include:
Educational forums for mITE,
Rudison’s Business Plan Seminars,
SBA sponsored seminars,
Women Business groups,
Dekalb County Small Business Expo,
Inventors Association of GA,
GA State Entrepreneur Network,
Kennesaw State Entrepreneurs Program
Launched a free e-course on “How to Be an Angel Investor©” to educate a new generation of Angel Investors
on the dynamics of private equity investing and how to be productive investors in private companies, generating over 1000
subscribers in less than 90 days. This e-course became the full ebook, “Learn to Be an Angel Investor©”.
· Host Podcasts for entrepreneurs and investors on how to create
wealth through growing companies. Acted as guest speaker on 7 internet radio broadcasts.
· “Entrepreneur In Residence” for the University of Florida’s Executive
MBA, MBA and Entrepreneur programs for the spring of 2008.
To learn more about Karen Rands, please visit the following websites:
Videos and Testimonials:
References available on request