Tara Rosander on How to Create Better Access to Capital for Female Founders

Tara Rosander is the Managing Director of Xceed Consulting, working with some of Utah’s leading technology companies on strategic initiatives focused around improving/developing process, communications and execution of key objectives through transitional phases of the company. Additionally, she works with early stage companies on developing funding strategies. Tara is on the executive board of the Women Tech Council and serves on the advisory board of VentureCapital.org.

Prior to Xceed, Tara was the Chief Operating Officer for 3DplusMe, a personalized merchandising platform for 3D printing. Her team built the leading customization software platform for 3D printed merchandise, partnering with major brands such as Disney, Marvel, Hasbro, NFL, Target and others. 3DplusMe was acquired by Whiteclouds in December of 2015.

Tara spent the bulk of her career in Private Equity as the Director of Operations at Mercato Partners, a growth capital investor with over $300 million under management. Previously, Tara managed Gazelle Investments, an angel investment fund as well as helped found and direct the Junto Partners program, a training program for entrepreneurs taught by Greg Warnock.

As an alumnus of the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, Tara loves the Utes, especially around football season. She enjoys cheering on her girls at their sporting events, exploring the outdoors here and abroad, and is an Audible addict.

Tell us about Xceed Consulting?

Xceed is my consulting firm. I came about consulting unintentionally following the acquisition of 3DplusMe. I've worked on a variety of strategic projects, however where I have focused a great deal of my work has been in transitional phases of companies. There is a need for companies to upscale their processes when they shift from start-up mode to growth mode. Balancing the culture, they need to provide more clarity in roles and responsibilities that can tie back to measuring impact and metrics. I work with companies to refine their process, define objectives and improve their overall execution.

During the course of the ten years you were at Mercato Partners, what was your most high-profile investment?

As a team we had several high-profile investments, the ones that stand out most to me were in our early years with Stance, MediConnect, Skullcandy, and FusionIO. All had top-decile returns and hyper-growth achievements.

Access to capital for female founders is challenging. Last year companies with a female founder or co-founder received 2.7% of all capital raised, which was approximately $130B? What can we do to change this?

First, I believe it's important to understand what type of capital is appropriate for your stage, sector and size of company. Many companies are not suited for venture funding and I believe that most go into the process naively. Female founders (and really all founders) should educate themselves on the process. Each investor has a specific focus, round size, and internal process that can be found with some diligence. Getting more females, in both diligence and decision making roles, inside of venture would also help bring more diverse insights to both the selection of portfolio companies and the deal pipeline. I am also a huge proponent of male allies and advocates. There are great men in the industry working on this issue, which is why we are seeing small improvements. More will come with time.

How do we get more women involved in the venture capital space?

As I mentioned above, we need to educate more female founders on the process of funding, get more women in the VC space and women need to align themselves with male allies.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Salt Lake City?

I love catching a powder day in the winter season and hiking and biking in the summer with my family.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I'm not sure how to answer this question, travel maybe. We love to travel as a family. We don't do that extravagantly, but make it a point to make memories through adventures with our girls. I travel as often as our busy schedules allow.

What is your current state of mind?

Hopeful. I always tend to lean more optimistic. I am hopeful that there are bright days ahead. I see people banding together in crisis. Collections of great minds from government, business and community working to address the needs of those impacted by the issues facing us currently.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Patience. Don't wait for life to happen to you, go out and seize the day, make a difference, add value and create opportunity!

On what occasion do you lie?

I do my best not to lie. I find integrity to be the most important quality in both personal and professional life.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I try not to focus too much on my imperfections. I work out regularly (obsessed with F45 and Yoga) and do my best to eat well most of the time. If I focus too much on my appearance it takes the fun out of life.

How are you handling this current crisis (working from home, dealing with clients, etc) and what is Xceed Consulting doing to manage things at

this time?

Like many, I am working remotely. I feel so fortunate to work with some really great companies. MX in particular has been a stand out in the leadership they have had, both supporting remote work and giving back to the community. Truly an amazing company.

In our family, we are trying to juggle two remote working parents, be active in my non-profit boards and community support roles, and keep our girls on track with homeschool/home sports being mindful of their needs. We are finding time to have fun together as a family and continue our mantra of work hard, play hard, it becomes even more important when we are in crisis mode.

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