The true definition of success is remembering where we were when we started our journey, and realizing the fact that how we persist through it, aids in believing that we’ve attained success. Similarly, the journey of an ardent entrepreneur, Kathryn Petralia, has come a long way from getting her start as an English Literature major to now helping lead one of the most successful FinTech companies in the U.S.
Even during college, Petralia’s interest in technology and financial services led her down a path of entrepreneurship. She has spent the past 20 years working with tech startups and established companies, focusing on credit, payments, and e-commerce. Currently, she is the President and Co-founder of Kabbage Inc., an online financial technology company providing small businesses access to funding through an automated lending platform.
Rob Frohwein, Kabbage’s CEO, had the idea to automate small business lending via APIs and analyzing the live business performance of a company. After connecting with Kathryn, Kabbage and another co-founder, the company launched in 2009. To this day, the company leads its industry with a focus on data, maintaining more than 2 million persistent data connections with its customers, and by delivering a fast and simple lending experience which approves and gives small businesses access to funding in minutes. To-date, Kabbage has provided more than 165,000 small businesses access to over $6 billion.
In an interview with Insights Success, Kathryn shares her valuable insights on avidly leading a comprehensive lending platform.
Below are the highlights of an Interview:
Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur.
I have always been attracted to technology and its potential to change the way we live. I was fortunate enough to build a career in financial services and the rest is history when Rob called with his idea to automate small business lending.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
When we started Kabbage, we didn’t prove that small businesses needed capital. That was evident. We proved there was a better way to access it. Replacing dated paperwork and waiting months for a response, we allow businesses to connect their live business data to apply, qualify and access a Kabbage line of credit in minutes.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess.
A tremendous amount of hustle. We recently surveyed 400 small businesses to understand what drives and motivates entrepreneurs. You can see those findings here: https://www.kabbage.com/motivation/
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
Competition is healthy for your market. It validates your product or service and is unavoidable in business. Instead, put that energy in designing the best products for your customer, deliver the best experience and ensure you’re delighting them every step of the way. The rest will fall in place.
What are the frequent challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the workplaces and what are the ways to tackle them?
Be the expert in your field. A lot of confidence comes from knowledge. If you prove your knowledge in your business, everybody will look to you as a trusted, valued and equal partner.
What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur?
All businesses have challenges, especially the ones you start. My approach is it is never as bad as you think it is. There is a solution, just break down the core elements of the problem and prioritize the top challenges.
Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
We have a lot to accomplish at Kabbage, and we’re committed to helping small businesses grow successful and long-lasting companies.
What is your advice for budding and emerging Shepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Instead, celebrate them. If you aren’t afraid to fail, greater opportunities will open up for you.