Kelly Fitzsimmons is a 4X serial entrepreneur and pioneer in voice recognition technology, cyber security and virtual reality with several 8 and 9 figure businesses and exits to her name. She shares her ups and downs and important advice for women about how to leverage, profit and grow (and never hide) from failure, with a new book out this fall that tells the story of how entrepreneurs bounce back from extreme adversity.
Kelly Fitzsimmons is a wildly successful serial technology entrepreneur who has “been there, built that” – with innovative 8 and 9 figure businesses and exits across voice recognition, cyber security and now virtual reality.
In all her success no one ever knew what that Kelly was going through.
She was plunged into deep depression and business failure after being sexually assaulted by a venture capitalist – and, lumbered with $5 million in debt, she kept hidden what she perceived as her failure from the outside world, and all the intense shame and isolation she felt.
In this episode, Kelly shares the ups and downs of her journey, what she’s learned along the way, and why entrepreneurs must learn to embrace failure as growth and learning opportunities – and reach out for help rather than hiding in those moments.
Kelly has a new book coming out this fall called Wayfinding for the Weary Entrepreneur and in it she details the inspiring stories of successful entrepreneurs who came back from incredible public failure. Kelly herself is so courageous in how openly and authentically she shares the true ups and downs of the entrepreneurial path.
She generously shares her story in this episode, plus practical advice:
- How to leverage failure as a positive learning experience
- Why you should never fail “alone”: Ask for help!
- How to break negative patterns in your life that manifest in business
- How to love yourself even when you’re making mistakes
- How and why women must step up to help each other if we are to succeed and change the game in business
- Why women-led companies are more likely to survive and thrive
Tips on how to raise money from venture capitalists
- Get mentors and networks and surround yourself with people who have your back
- And more!
More about Kelly here
Kelly’s new book comes out this fall. It’s called Lost in Startuplandia: Wayfaring for the Weary Entrepreneur and WINGS listeners can get their free digital copy by registering here.
Kelly is a pioneer in voice recognition technology as the founder of HarQen, a pioneer of cyber security software in the late ‘90s, and now is the co-founder of a gamechanginng virtual reality company.
She’s the co-founder Custom Reality Services, a virtual reality production company whose first project, Across the Line, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
She is also the co-founder of the Hypervoice Consortium, which researches the future of voice communications.
This is a fast growing area – I know too because I just got back from speaking at Voice 18, a conference sponsored by Amazon’s Alexa on the cutting edge leveraging our human voices with new technologies, including artificial intelligence. It is a fascinating space and Kelly was way ahead of the game:
Her first startup was way back in 1996 when she founded Sun Tzu Security, an information security firm. She later merged it with Neohapsis, where she led the combined company as CEO through 2006 – before selling to Cisco 2014.
Her success is breathtaking: In 2011, the Angel Capital Association awarded her the Silvertip PwC Entrepreneurship Award. In 2013, Speech Technology magazine honored her with the Luminary Award. She is a regular contributor to Information Week and Inc. magazine. Recently, several of her Inc. articles were published in an anthology Been There, Run That. She is an angel investor and she also serves on the board of the Executive Women’s Forum, the largest member organization serving female executives in the Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy industries.
In 2011, the Angel Capital Association awarded her the Silvertip PwC Entrepreneurship Award. In 2013, Speech Technology magazine honored her with the Luminary Award. She is a regular contributor to Information Week and Inc. magazine. Recently, several of her Inc. articles were published in an anthology Been There, Run That.
Kelly is an angel investor and she also serves on the board of the Executive Women’s Forum, the largest member organization serving female executives in the Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy industries.
Read the full transcript here
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