Casey Shultz Named Executive Director of Beta.MN
Beta.MN has tapped Casey Shultz to serve as its next executive director.
She replaces Reed Robinson, who announced plans to step down in late 2019. Robinson co-founded the organization in September 2013.
Shultz, who grew up in Alaska, is the first woman to lead Beta.MN. She joined the organization in February 2019 as director of Twin Cities Startup Week. Before she took the job, Shultz was working in the startup scene in San Francisco. Most recently, she was head of business operations for cloud computing firm Serverless Inc. Her resume also includes consulting stints at Facebook and Google.
So, what led Shultz to leave Silicon Valley and head to the North Start State? In short: The Twin Cities’ “vibrant startup ecosystem,” she says. And, after living in the San Francisco area for a decade, Shultz and her husband were looking for a more affordable place to live.
She got to know Minnesota’s startup community through Twin Cities Startup Week’s “fly-in program,” which reimburses out-of-staters for flights and local transportation.
“That gave us the confidence to move here,” Shultz says. “I realized I could still do quality, meaningful work here.”
As Beta.MN’s executive director, Shultz aims to help level the playing field for women and people of color, she says. It’s widely acknowledged that women face more obstacles than men when trying to launch a business. According to Forbes magazine, just 2.2 percent of 2018’s venture capital dollars went to women. The trend held true in the Twin Cities, where women-led business received 3 percent of the total venture capital invested between 2013 and 2018, according to Greater MSP.
For Shultz, Beta.MN is well-positioned to help change those statistics. She views the organization as a “connector” between founders in need and investors.
“One of our goals over the next few years will be helping to create a pipeline to direct funds to founders who haven’t gotten them in the past,” she says.
And that’s something that’s already been on Beta.MN’s agenda, she notes. For instance, 80 percent of the companies in the organization’s recent accelerator cohort were founded by women or people of color.
“It’s important to me in this role to continue working with local organizations to ensure that those dollars are getting equally distributed to founders,” she adds.