Forbes Post: Winning A 5 Minute Pitch

Forbes Post: Winning A 5 Minute Pitch: How Candace Klein Won $1.7M in 25 Competitions (And Why She and SoMoLend Are Giving Money Away)

The following article originally ran in my regular column at

“Tell me something unique or quirky about you. Something nobody knows.” Candace Klein, the founder of Bad Girl Ventures and SoMoLend, an online lending platform, was still in high energy last night after presenting her live pitch strategies to several hundred entrepreneurs in Salt Lake. The small dinner group was the denouement of an intense evening. She’d flown in earlier in the day to give her presentation at the University of Utah for Grow America and the local Entrepreneur Circle Meetup. Response was so overwhelming, Grow America EVP Richard Swart had moved the event to a bigger facility. Twice.

Clearly Candace is not an individual accustomed to getting turned down. We oblige, and one by one the group of eight (all highly accomplished) produce some surprises. One is planning a run for mayor and secretly loves competitive dance. Another skis moguls, and had a key role in event organization for six prior Olympics events. Investment super-connector and strategist Judy Robinett, covered in Kathy Caprino’s Forbes article on June 18, started her first business, a restaurant in Idaho, at age 41 with a $1.4M SBA loan. Marty Tate, an investor, attorney and crowdfunding advocate, played bass for a budding rock band that opened for Gwen Stefani and No Doubt.

Candace went last. The things we learned left me stunned:

  • Born to a teenage mom, she’s the oldest of 5 children. Her childhood was impoverished—her father left the family when she was five.
  • Candace holds four degrees—communications, political science, marketing and management. “At a certain point you realize ‘It’s only two more classes, and I could have another degree’—so why not?”
  • She saved $35,000 by working as a Series 6 investment trader during college to pay for graduate school. With her heart set on a law degree, she left Cincinnati for the West coast in her Geo Metro, but never made it to class. She became ill, and diagnosed with ovarian cancer, returned home. Ultimately the cancer went into remission (she’s now dealt with it twice), but her savings were gone, to cover medical costs…

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