Sheri Atwood: An Intersection of Technology, Business and Courage

Can a woman run a technology business? This question always made investors or consumers skeptical about woman’s capability of leading a technology business. But, when a woman steps up, she doesn’t stop until she makes things happen. Similarly, an avid entrepreneur, Sheri Atwood has taken vigorous efforts to eradicate this skepticism by inculcating evolving technology in building a top notch solution for making family life easier for parents who no longer live together. Serving as the Founder and CEO of SupportPay, Sheri is changing the way modern families live, manage finances and communicate. She sets a noteworthy instance of dedicated and determined leadership.

Reformation Tale 

After spending 12 years in high tech and accumulating an enriching experience, Sheri decided to risk it all and start her own company. She taught herself how to code and became an expert in front end development. Her first company, Ittavi, Inc built SupportPay and successfully rose over $7M in venture funding by top Venture Capitalists including Tim Draper, salesforce.com & Aspect Ventures. She was fired from her own company after 7 months of raising a Series A and the company was liquidated 3 months later. She was devastated as it was the darkest time of her life.

But, this was not the end as she went an extra mile to reform SupportPay. During that time, she met another female founder who turned out to be her guardian angel. Not only was she there for support, she also helped Sheri in negotiating the purchase of the SupportPay’s assets. In the early 2018, she took out a personal loan and used the rest of her savings and successfully acquired the SupportPay assets back. She formed a new company Smart Family Tech, Inc. Now, Sheri is continuing on her mission to help the millions of parents and children who deal with child support, sharing child expenses and financial conflicts in order to make everyone of their lives just a little bit easier.

Sheri firmly believes that every business leader should possess the vital attributes of determination, grit and courage to get back up after one fails because failure is where one learns.

Child Support Management Platform 

Most of the modern families, which also include single parents, blended families, divorces, multi-generational households and many other combinations find it difficult to manage and track their child support and their shared expenses. Since child support is not just a single monthly payment but also a broad collection of shared expenses, parents must continually manage, communicate and negotiate over child related expenses. The entire process is complex, time consuming and very stressful. SupportPay seeks to eliminate child support conflict and enable collaboration with an easy to use online application, providing both parents transparency while saving time & money.

SupportPay® is the first-ever automated child support payment platform, poised to transform the complex, time-consuming & stressful process that impacts nearly 300 million parents exchanging more than $900 billion in child support and child expenses worldwide. With SupportPay, today’s modern families can spend less time managing and arguing about child support, expenses and alimony and more time focused on raising happy, healthy children.

Heading towards the Future 

Despite the roadblocks that Sheri has faced, she is now striving to make SupportPay successful. She is now looking forward to mentoring more woman / minority entrepreneurs, as she believes that the journey of women.

Entrepreneurs is very different than the typical young white male. She has learned plenty of things over the past several years and hopes to be able to share that wisdom with others so that they don’t repeat the same mistakes that she made.

Encouraging Women Entrepreneurship 

There is a dire necessity of encouraging women in taking up leadership positions. According to Sheri, this can be achieved by uncovering the potential of woman as well as young girls that demonstrates what is possible. Secondly, a way to enforce some of the equality is making the law of pay equality a requirement. “Right now everyone talks about how woman only receive 2.2%of venture capital and only make up less than 5% of CEO’s for fortune 500 companies yet consistently deliver higher levels of return. Despite the data and proof there it seems nothing has changed. Until there is an incentive or reason for a change nothing will. There has to be a compelling reason for white men to change,” says Sheri. She believes that hopefully the recent push of woman being unafraid to voice their stories will slowly make a difference in bridging the gender gap.

In order to encourage the emerging women business leaders, Sheri says “Have tough skin. Know you have to do better because the standard is higher but you bring a unique perspective to the table. Don’t be afraid to voice that perspective. Support other woman, if not, none of us will ever succeed.” 

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