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Women ARE Raising Venture Capital: Kerry Cooper, CEO of ChooseEnergy (Part 2)

Posted on Thursday, Jan 21st 2016

Sramana Mitra: Six years at Levi. That brings us to 2008?

Kerry Cooper: Right. Then in 2008, I left to join Walmart.com. I had a hundred-person team at Levi’s and I left to go to a three-person team at Walmart where I ran business development first. I had this entrepreneurial job. I launched Marketplace, which is the ability for third-party sellers to sell on Walmart.com. I also launched a couple of big multi-channel programs. It was an amazing experience to figure out how to connect the world’s largest retailer to the Internet. 

Sramana Mitra: How long did you stay at Walmart?

Kerry Cooper: A total of three years. I became Chief Marketing Officer the next year. The first year went into just starting business development. Every year at Walmart, they move you around. In my third year, I ran products for the global e-commerce team, which eventually became Walmart Lab. I had a global role working with Walmart China and Walmart Canada. 

Sramana Mitra: Cool. What happens after that?

Kerry Cooper: I met ModCloth and I fell in love. ModCloth, if you don’t know, is an online women’s retailer. They had just raised their Series B with Excel and decided to move out here. It was a business founded in a dorm room at Carnegie-Mellon. I joined as CMO originally. I ended becoming COO a couple of months after. I ran merchandising, marketing, customer care, and warehouse logistics. 

Sramana Mitra: What was the business?

Kerry Cooper: It’s called ModCloth.

Sramana Mitra: I don’t know the business. What do they do?

Kerry Cooper: They’re still around. They are an online retailer for women’s apparel focused on 18 to 20 year old women. It was an amazing customer. The customer is a digital native. She shares everything. 60% of our product reviews have sizing on them where a woman would tell you she’s size 2 and a 36 DD.

It was such an amazing experience to see how different people shop. We raised $25 million Series C. It got to be a really sizeable business. In 2013, I decided that I wanted to start something on my own. I left and took the summer off. I had 10 different business plans that I spent time working on. I spent some time traveling with my children. Then I found ChooseEnergy, which brings us to today finally. I joined here September of 2013.

Sramana Mitra: What does ChooseEnergy do?

Kerry Cooper: ChooseEnergy is the leading marketplace for energy choice. When you live in California, that doesn’t make any sense. Half of the US population lives in a state where you can choose who provides your power. The closest analogy is as Kayak is to travel, we are to energy.

Sramana Mitra: How big is that search business? I guess Kayak’s business is a very large business because lots of people are traveling and lots of people are making travel decisions multiple times a year. How often do consumers make energy choices?

Kerry Cooper: That’s a good question. This year, we have a hundred thousand customers who have switched their energies through us. If you look at the world in meters for the consumers, about a third of the business is commercial and two-thirds is residential. It’s not just home owners or apartment dwellers. It’s also small to medium-sized business.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Women ARE Raising Venture Capital: Kerry Cooper, CEO of ChooseEnergy
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