Mom Interviews

Donna Novitsky

CEO of Big Tent

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Big Tent was an oporuntiy to pull all of the diverse activities that I care about together into one place. It's a really different kind of business from what I had been working in. It's all about working for these volunteer-powered groups led by moms like you and me. Beyond a business-oriented mission, they have a community... this is something that helps them achieve their mission and helps them in running their group. It's a really great opportunity to take what I know about technology and building companies tand help other people who are actively doing things in their communities.

Tell us a bit more about Big Tent. Who can benefit most from membership?

We're a platform or infrastructure. We're the enabling technology for groups. It's not great for really tiny group, like a book club, unless you're already on the system for someone else -- then it's easy to add a book club to an existing group. But a lot of our benefit is handling the back-end administration for big groups, 100 people in a group and more. The group needs to have a membership concept.

I think adults, parents, people who are working ... they are busy. I think they already have the social networks that they want to have. They're in alumni groups, they know other parents in school that they want to hang out with, old friends keep in touch with, so Big Tent is not about meeting new people as much as it is about keeping in touch with the social networks you already have and helping people participate efficiently in the things that they care about.

It takes a lot of optimism to become an entrepreneur, but a lot of people in Venture Capital feel that you need the exact opposite in order to succeed in the Venture world. What do you think?

I'm too much of an optimist to be in venture. I tend to believe in people, tend to beleive that they know what they're doing and are smart and will figure it out. I really love the roll up your sleeves... in venture, yo uadvise and consult, but it's not your baby. But it was a great hands-on role -- I changed companies every six months or so, worked with great entrepreneurs, always experienced the heyday. You know, you get it started right, going right, and you don't have to fix it later. But, after a while, it got little old working at everyone else's company and I kind of got the itch to do it again, like back in my Clarify days.

What is your personal passion?

Helping these community groups, helping them be more successful. And the people I interact with on a dat-to-day basis are such great people, I'm so happy we're doing this for them. It's very rewarding.

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