Hometown | Bristol, Virginia
2007 - 2013 | Seattle, Washington
2013 - Current | Silicon Valley, California
Total Experience | 15 years
Startups Built | 3 (4th in the works)
Corporate Years | 3.5
Consulting Years | 6
Incubators Completed | 2
KATE'S LIFE ON INSTAGRAM
Kate Walling started her career in technology and marketing in 2004 when she built Secret Ingredients, one of the first "make your own cookbook" websites. The concept was similar to Shutterfly and iPhoto books and synced with the same printers. Digital print technologies were radically evolving as large conglomerate printers looked toward digital integrations to serve more customers at scale. And web 2.0 and user-generated content fueled this. Secret Ingredients was embracing these two trends (as well as the online recipe movement) but it was too early - preceding social media and APIs.
Kate was the solo founder of Secret Ingredients working with remote teams of developers, designers, marketers, publicists, customer support, and print vendors. Secret Ingredients acquired customers in 49 states and a database of 42,000 user generated recipes before running out of funding in October 2008, several weeks after the banking crisis.
After closing Secret Ingredients, Kate consulted Seattle startups, SMBs, and product companies - working with creative, technical, marketing and management teams to deliver products and experiences with powerful branding and digital platforms. This was such a success that Kate turned the business into a full service agency, Scrappy Face, with over 20+ consultants including creative directors, designers, writers, marketers, publicists, and more.
Kate closed Scrappy Face in 2013. She went through a divorce while aggressively growing Scrappy Face (not for the faint of heart!), in a particularly rainy year in Seattle, and ultimately burned out - deciding that Silicon Valley corporate experience would make her a better entrepreneur.
Kate landed at Thinknear, a location-based mobile advertising platform owned by Telenav, where she ran marketing for 3.5 years. Telenav was the first company to put GPS on mobile devices in the 90's and went public doing so for most major carriers and device companies. They are now working on connected car solutions for OEM's and are uniquely positioned to provide innovative advertising solutions as we move toward robust in-car experiences with the connected car and self-driving. Thinknear exposed Kate to public company challenges and issues that are unique to the Silicon Valley.
But Kate's entrepreneurial bug came back in the winter of 2016, when she decided to build an art startup, Beledor, in a Silicon Valley tech accelerator while working at Thinknear. Despite three months of sleepless nights, Kate graduated as one of only two women graduates. The program started with 38 entrepreneurs and only 7 made it through to graduation. Kate learned an incredible amount about the art world and decided that Beledor would come later...
In August 2017, Kate came back to Beledor, along with a cofounder this time, and launched Beledor in early 2018 with twenty artists and over 80 pieces of art. Beledor was well-received and initially reached an audience that the art world has been seeking - the Silicon Valley tech buyer. But while Kate had learned many startup lessons in her previous startups, there were still more to learn. Beledor came to an end very soon after its launch due to typical startup and partner issues.
Kate is now consulting technology companies on their marketing strategy. She is known for creating edgy brands, aggressive growth plans, and for building powerful marketing teams that know how to GSD (get shit done). Kate is also building Traction Hero, a marketing agency platform that will connect her consulting clients to the best and most reliable freelance talent. She also advises startups and mentors marketers and women in tech.
In her free time, Kate loves to collect art, drink wine, and enjoy all the Bay area has to offer.