Venture Atlanta is proud to announce that brrrº is the first company to be selected to present on the Venture Atlanta 2018 stage. A textile technology startup in Atlanta, brrrº was founded by Mary-Cathryn Kolb, who secured the company's spot on the Venture Atlanta stage as a part of the prize for winning today’s launchpad2X pitch competition.
Launchpad2X was created by Bernie Dixon to empower the female entrepreneurship community. Bernie has been on a mission to close the gender gap when it comes to venture capital funding, and in partnership with Venture Atlanta, she launched today’s pitch competition for women-owned businesses. We’re proud to award Mary-Cathryn and the rest of the brrrº team this opportunity to step into the spotlight at Venture Atlanta.
After the event, we sat down with Mary-Cathryn to hear about her experience as a female entrepreneur, starting and growing brrrº, and being a part of the launchpad2X and Venture Atlanta community.
What was the inspiration for brrrº, and what was the “aha” moment where you felt this could be a successful business concept?
I’ve always been passionate about fashion, and my previous work experience was in the fashion industry. But I’ve also always had a creative and inventive mind and an interest in technology. When I saw that there was an opportunity to have a career that married the two, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
In terms of the “aha” moment, this goes back to my first few roles. I was either a founder or an early hire at each of my previous jobs. When you’re one of the first members of a company, you automatically assume a client-facing role, and when speaking with these customers, I learned a lot about what they need and expect from their clothing.
This led me to the cooling concept. It at first appeared to be a very saturated market — a lot of companies claim to do cooling but their fabrics really just whisk away moisture. There wasn’t anything out there that offered a “true” cooling technology. When I saw the demand for it, I decided I was going to be the one to satisfy the need by introducing a technology that authentically disrupted the market.
How were you introduced to launchpad2X and Venture Atlanta?
When I first came to Atlanta, I was introduced to Bernie through a mutual friend. Launchpad2X is an incredible organization to be a part of, and basically, everything good that has happened to my company somehow ties back to them. In fact, it was through launchpad2X that I met Allyson - Executive Director of Venture Atlanta. She encouraged me to apply for the showcase at last year’s conference and it was such a great experience. I received the funding that I needed, and now I’m able to pitch on stage at this year’s event. It’s just amazing.
Historically, we’ve received very few company applications from female leaders for Venture Atlanta. What would you say to encourage other female entrepreneurs to put themselves out there?
Do it. Even if you don’t feel 100% ready, you just have to go for it. There’s so much help available. Plus, the entrepreneurial community is especially good about paying it forward, with people who have gone through every phase of the journey always willing to lend a hand to those who are just beginning thiers.
Register today for Venture Atlanta 2018 to see brrrº and other top emerging tech companies of the southeast. Interested in getting your company on Venture Atlanta stage or presenting in the Showcase? Apply here.