I know you’re all curious about who made the cut for the Neal’s Running Start program and why.  So I wanted to profile our 4 winners before they join me in Silicon Valley on April 23.  I’ll introduce one entrepreneur each week on the blog, in alphabetical order by their company name.

Our first winner is Katherine Regnier.  Katherine comes from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Harry Marshall first met her at Web Summit in Dublin last year and was so impressed, he made an introduction and asked me to consider her for the Running Start Program.

She founded a company called Coconut Calendar that allows customers to book appointments with businesses online. Now, you might be yawning at this, thinking this has been done. However, in 2015 Katherine saw an opportunity in the retail industry to introduce a white label calendaring product, which has garnered interest from some top name brands.

I like Katherine because of her drive.  I like her willingness to learn and pivot the company with her new knowledge. I’m impressed that she’s built a thriving company despite living so far away from any tech center, and that she has landed an impressive list of customers with no investment.  She has many of the characteristics I look for in phenomenal entrepreneurs.

Saskatoon is a long way literally and figuratively from Silicon Valley. I hope this time in Silicon Valley will be a fantastic opportunity for Katherine to network and experience first-hand how to drive a high-growth company with Silicon Valley aggressiveness while keeping her small city corporate values.  Besides me, I’m sure she’ll meet some mentors who can guide her when she needs it after returns to Canada.  I’m excited about the unique talents she’ll bring to the program.

And Katherine has her own goals for the trip:

“First and foremost, I’m grateful for Neal’s generosity in offering this truly unique opportunity. During this fast paced ride, I hope to learn as much as I can from the best in the business. Taking an idea and turning it into something grand is my passion, and with this opportunity I will be able to launch my business into new heights.”

Welcome, Katherine!

Twitter: @katregnier

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