Broadcasting change—Kay Koplovitz

Part of the business owner to business owner series, ‘Flight paths’

See how Kay turned serendipity into a $4.5 billion company

Kay’s gut instinct has been worth billions. Decades ago, she made it possible for sports fans to watch live events, broadcast via satellite, from anywhere in the world—starting with the now-famous boxing match, “The Thrilla in Manila.” It drew millions.

She opened eyes then, and she’s not finished changing the world. Her mission now is to see that women who are building sustainable businesses have a fair shot at raising capital. “There is a 25% gap, and we’ve got to close it,” Kay insists.

Kay is one of the entrepreneurs who shares her story with us for our special report and video series, 'Flight Paths." Watch highlights from her interview.

Kay's advice: Step back to move forward

Career milestones

Valedictorian of high school class

Gets denied honor of making commencement speech

Masters in Communication at MSU

Writes thesis on how satellite technology can transform broadcasting

Invests in first satellite receiving station

Helps UA-Columbia Cable Systems invent an industry

Negotiates with major sports organizations

Starts knocking on the door of the “boys’ club”

Runs cable company for 21 years

Grows it to $4.5 billion, setting pace for others

Recognizes systemic unfairness in venture capital

Launches firm that invests in women-led companies in the growth stage

We all have these serendipitous moments in our life where we decide or don't decide. I leapt into it.

On a college campus in 1967, Kay walked into a lecture by Arthur C. Clarke about the burgeoning technology of geosynchronous satellites. She walked out astounded. Satellites, she learned, might be able to transmit video images to the other side of the world instantaneously. “We could communicate with people behind the Berlin Wall or the Great Wall of China."

Years later, with television producing experience under her belt and $600,000 in funding, Kay acquired the satellite equipment that would change television history, and set the stage for a new industry.

Women deliver twice the revenue for invested dollar that men deliver. I’m an investor. I like those odds.

Kay negotiated the first contracts for cable coverage with organizations like Major League Baseball, The NBA, The US Open tennis tournament and the Masters golf tournament—a remarkable feat, considering the Augusta National Golf Club didn’t even allow women into their meeting rooms at that time.

As CEO of USA Networks, Kay grew the company’s value to more than $4 billion before she exited.

More than 20 years later, she continues to help rewrite the rules for women, investing her time and resources to help other female founders achieve dramatic growth in the companies they own. She has helped raise more than $9.5 billion in capital for female founders with more than 190 exits and 19 IPOs. “More and more women are creating wealth through entrepreneurship and using that wealth to invest in other women. It is finally our time.”

Learn more from the entrepreneurs of ‘Flight paths’

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