Former Ed Tech Company President Kat Kennedy Joins Utah-Based Venture Fund to Launch Large-Scale Investments in Mountain West


Kennedy brings with her 15 years of experience in developing businesses and fostering innovation.

SALT LAKE CITY, August 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Throw, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on Mountain West, today 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. Her courageous entrepreneurial spirit and passion for helping fellow entrepreneurs was exactly what we were looking for,” said Gavin Christensen, general partner and founder of Kickstart. “Adding Kat allows us to scale 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 are 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 evolve Degreed from a $0 at $1.5 billion evaluation in 9 years and brings with her deep experience in acquisitions, growing into a global company and scaling 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. Women wear makeup only about 11% investment partners in companies in the United States 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 Utahwho 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 Mountain West than by supporting founders who are beginning their own journey,” Kennedy said. “Kickstart has always done an amazing job finding and funding entrepreneurs from all walks of life, and I’m thrilled to extend that support.”

“Kat is an inspiration to women Utah and beyond when it comes to the growing influence women can and should have in the future of business. I’m proud to see her take this next step in her career, because Kat is proof of the impact one person can have on her community, her business and her industry. I am confident that she will take everything she has learned as an operator and deploy not only capital, but also her experience,” said David Blakeco-founder and CEO, Graduate.

Kickstart was founded in 2008 as the first seed fund in Utah and his fund grew along with the explosion Utah tech scene. To date, the company has $311 million assets under management, over 150 active portfolio companies and has raised $2.7 billion in the capital.

About Kickstart

Kickstart is an early-stage venture capital firm with a mission to help build great startups in Utah, Colorado, and the West Mountain. Founded in 2008 as the first seed fund in Utah, Kickstart worked with local universities, angel investors, entrepreneurs, venture capital funds and other key stakeholders to create a seed fund for the community to rally around. 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.

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