Sara Brand and Kerry Rupp: Who is Behind Your Favorite Business?

November 30 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Gender Matters

Today, we’re going to dive into why you should care about who is behind the businesses you support. When companies come into the spotlight for corruption or beliefs you disagree with, it’s easy to say, “I’ll never shop there again.” But have you given a critical eye to your favorite brands?

Write down three items you use or places you frequent, and do a little digging. Is the company owned or run by a woman, or does it support women’s causes? Considering women make as many as 85 percent of consumer-purchase decisions, it wouldn’t hurt to know a little more about who we’re supporting with our dollars. Today, do some Internet sleuthing on your favorite brands so you can be certain you’re putting your money where your heart is.


Personally, I’m a fan of supporting female-led businesses, which are becoming increasingly popular, but girlfriend, it’s taking a minute. In fact, only 3 percent of venture dollars go to women-led startups, even though women-led companies often perform better financially than businesses led by men. Research backs up what we enterprising women already know, that women not only have great business ideas, but when companies boast women leaders, they’re more likely to succeed.

WOMEN TO WATCH: Sara Brand and Kerry Rupp, Co-founders of True Wealth Ventures

When I spoke to Sara Brand and Kerry Rupp on the phone about this topic, they were running errands, picking up kids and dishing out stats like it was nothing. They’re the two impressive businesswomen who started True Wealth Ventures earlier this year.

True Wealth Ventures is a venture-capital firm that focuses on female-led projects. That means that at least one woman must play an integral role in the company, typically in leadership. If Sara and Kerry don’t see a pencil skirt or a rockin’ pantsuit and at least one woman harnessing her business prowess, they aren’t going to fund a given company. For Sara and Kerry, this business model is simple. They’ve found that women who are part of startups consistently help make those startups successful. So it’s just common sense for these knowledgeable investors to put their money where it’s most likely to flourish.

And when it comes to knowing a thing or two about business, these women are definitely experts. Sara has a degree in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in green design and manufacturing, has worked with major companies like Intel and also co-founded a super cool craft brewery. Kerry has a master’s degree and 20 years of experience in launching startups.

Sara and Kerry have a couple tips for those running a women-led startup who might be nervous about acquiring funding. First, they say, try to get a warm introduction from a mutual friend or acquaintance who can introduce you to some venture capitalists. And make sure that before that first meeting, you know all the elements of your business plan like the back of your hand because you might just be making your pitch in a more relaxed locale, like a coffee shop, and sans PowerPoint.

There are certainly countless challenges facing women-led startups. But by focusing on what makes the world go ’round—money—Sara and Kerry are giving women business owners a fighting chance.


When given the tools and support, women can accomplish phenomenal stuff and break right on through the glass ceiling. As Hillary Clinton, said:

“When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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