Accentuating on the leadership traits like unwavering passion, the ability to bring out change and redefining entrepreneurship, CIO Look brings to you the journey of a zealous entrepreneur, Kim Vogel the President and Co-founder of Base Venture.
Following is Kim’s story, possessing the potential of inspiring and motivating everyone.
It was a disaster. The washer and dryer floated into the family room, the dog was barking from the only elevation it could find on the highest point of the couch amid the elevating water. She received a call from her home security provider, he said, “there is an emergency at your house, please call the Cemetery District.” What in the world was going on? She called the number she was given, it was the Sanitary District, was this burial or sewage, frankly neither sounded like something anyone would want to deal with, on an otherwise normal Friday afternoon.
Kim Vogel, a highly skilled and resourceful executive in the high-tech start-up industry, isn’t easily fazed, and so when this flood – caused by a major water rupture – destroyed her home, she didn’t panic, she acted.
Kim’s persistence and determination to solve the most challenging problems whether it is in her personal life or in her professional life is part of her DNA. In her current role as co-founder and President of Base Venture, the Company has become an innovative force in the alternative investment and wealth management industries. It is a cloud-based software company that develops innovative solutions in the areas of financial reporting, data visualization, and process management. The enterprise’s award-winning platform, “FundManager.io”, helps organizations to simplify and automate how private funds are administered and managed. By providing users with data intelligence, reporting, workflow management, and document storage, “FundManager.io” radically simplifies the process of fund management and provides a platform that is intelligent, scalable, affordable and secure.
As a key innovator in the alternative investment industry, Base Venture built a modern, easy-to-use platform that directly addresses the industry’s greatest challenges – instead of merely improving issues “FundManager.io” empowers private funds and fund administrators by equipping them with the tools necessary to radically improve quality of service and operational efficiency.
The following features offer just a glimpse of what “FundManager.io” has to offer, a drastic improvement for fund administrators that use the platform:
Digital Dashboards: it displays dynamic key performance metrics for fund managers and their investors.
An Intelligent Document Management System: It allows them to upload and filter documents based on industry-specific terms, thereby saving time when they try to locate specific documents.
Investor CRM and Collaboration Tools: It is used to simplify how they communicate with investors and reduce their reliance on email.
Digital Workflow: It is an engine that expedites the completion of key processes like capital statement preparation and cash management requests.
Kim’s journey began when she started to work as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at KPMG. Shortly thereafter, she earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School, which then lead to securing a position as Vice President in Investment Banking at Montgomery Securities. Her venture into entrepreneurship and innovation began in the late 90s as the CFO of Semaphore Partners which was one of the first digital marketing agencies. Kim was one of the original members of the executive team that grew the company into a global powerhouse, attaining clients like General Motors, Orbitz, and more. Innovation was at the core of Semaphore Partners and Kim, along with her cohorts, designed many of the first websites and intranets for their clients.
When Semaphore Partners was sold to a marketing conglomerate, Kim had little time to decide her next step. Many thoughtful ideas bubbled up, but she kept coming back to her childhood dream of being a professor, something she often considered through the years. Shortly thereafter, Kim landed a position in teaching finance and business at St. Mary’s College of California. Little did she know at the time that within a few years, she would be turning the corners and stepping into another venture.
Teaching and interacting with college students was very rewarding, but Kim could not pass up a suggestion from one of her colleagues from Semaphore to ‘bring the band back together’. She shifted her expertise in teaching to become one of the initial executives at a pioneering mobile banking and payments technology company called mFoundry.
As the key innovator in the space, mFoundry helped to redefine the way people bank by introducing the then crazy notion of banking on the phone. mFoundry was one of the first to introduce mobile check deposit technology and also in submitting a mobile banking application to the Apple App Store. Under the watchful guidance of Kim as the CFO, mFoundry became the largest provider in North America. The company was later sold to FIS (NYSE:FIS) in 2013. Shortly thereafter, Kim and John Pizzi co-founded Base Venture and started to build their amazing team.
Key leadership from the team that built mFoundry from the ground up is now replicating that success at Base Venture. What distinguishes the team from others is the overall composition: the leadership of the company is comprised of technology, product, and alternative investment experts. In fact, the head of product ran his own hedge fund for a decade, which helps to ensure that the Company is better equipped to tailor its product to the specific pain points and needs of the private fund management and administration industry.
As per some of her leadership ideologies, Kim loves being surrounded by really, really smart people. Being around high caliber performers, forces her to make sure that she always brings her “A” game to the table as others spark new interests, introduce new ideas and offer different perspectives. Building great companies is a team sport and it starts with having the best people. Kim always tries to create and be a part of her own “dream” team. She says, “Think big. Look around, pay attention to opportunities, and keep your eye out for the best and brightest. The energy is real and when the dream team is in place, magical things happen.”
One of the things Kim worries about is that many budding entrepreneurs today have grown up in the Mark Zuckerberg era and are schooled in thinking to be successful; one must create a game-changing idea and put it into motion immediately. Her advice is this: “Climb the ladder. I don’t mean that facetiously; learn the steps, observe the process, act like a leader. And keep your eye on the ball. It’s a process, not a happenstance.
There are amazing opportunities to learn on someone else’s dime. Take the time to study the dynamic workings inside a company and learn from the actions and decisions of leaders that have decades of learning under their belt. See what works and doesn’t work for your own style. Pay attention to the details, and picture what you would do. There is a plenty of time to develop and own your idea, but building and running successful companies is not a skill one is born with. And more importantly, having a good idea is just one of many parts of building a successful business. It’s all about piecing everything together, including (and especially) your dream team. No one has to jump into the raging rapids on day one. Wade in consciously.”
It took two grueling years of ongoing negotiations with an army of insurance agents and city officials. Her persistence was constantly tested. She knew that she was just small potatoes up against the 800 pound gorillas in the insurance industry but she didn’t give up. She was determined to rebuild what was destroyed and someday return some semblance of normalcy to her family. After two years, she saw the light when a mediation judge offered to help. She created a similar partnership that she does with so many others in her professional career and together they settled the issue. Kim now lives in a new beautiful home on the top of a hill, away from any threat of a downhill flood, in Northern California.