Q&A 4Her: Kathryn Petralia, Co-Founder of Kabbage
Entrepreneur Kathryn Petralia, has spent the past 17 years working with both startups and established companies focused on credit, payments, technology, and ecommerce. With experience in strategic planning, product development, business development, and new markets, Kathryn and her two co-founders started Kabbage, a financial product for businesses that sell online.
MyCity4Her discussed Kathryn’s ideas on business in our latest Q&A 4Her interview. She tells us about barriers she faced, advice she has for other women in business, and more. Read on for her interview!
What is the unique problem or situation your product or service solves?
Online sellers are rapidly expanding in number and variety, and these sellers are also in need of more capital with which to operate their businesses. When polled, most businesses suggest that access to capital is the single biggest roadblock to growing their business. Online merchants are under-served by financial services products because traditional underwriting and funding criteria do not account for a virtual commerce business model or the value of recently sold inventory. Kabbage provides a solution for these merchants by offering them access to the amounts of capital that they need within minutes.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about this particular industry or running your own business and why?
As is expected, we did not fully anticipate the challenges of breaking into a new technology arena: we have had no one go before us to pave the way and work out the kinks so to speak. In addition, we did not anticipate how quickly our business would grow and the challenges that would come with managing this growth and development. From the ever-expanding product and requirements, to hiring the people to fulfill those requirements, to maintaining a quality core service.
What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
While this advice was not given to me directly by Steve Jobs, it is something that stuck with me from his now famous Stanford Commencement Speech: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” I believe that he was correct in implying that success can come through doing both.
What were the hardest barriers in getting your idea off the ground?
Getting initial funding was difficult. We knew we had a great idea, but sometimes it takes a moment to convince others of this. It is very easy for the large venture firms to be dismissive. Another barrier was in deciding the type of company we wanted to be, and working very hard to maintain this environment.
What do you enjoy best about being an entrepreneur?
The flexibility it gives us as employees and employers to create a great business environment. It is also great to be able to work in a field you are passionate about.
Do you feel becoming an entrepreneur has helped you grow as a person? If so – how?
Definitely. I think it makes you a better listener, and more open to new ideas.
Where can people learn more about your company?
Most recently, you can read about us in the LA Times, and watch us on MSNBC:
- LA Times: Microlenders provide speedy lifelines to online enterprises (8/17/12)
- MSNBC Where’s The Money: What is Kabbage?
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business – what would it be?
Keep your goals in mind and trust your instincts.