Susan Strausberg has recently relocated to Austin, TX, from New York where she has co-founded and is CEO of 9W Search, Inc., a next generation mobile financial search platform.
In 1995 Susan co-founded EDGAR Online, Inc. She served for 13 years as CEO until her retirement in 2007, and additionally as President from 2003 to 2007.
EDGAR Online, Inc. is a leading provider of interactive business and financial data on global companies to financial, corporate and advisory professionals. The company was a pioneer in the information industry revolution using cutting edge technology to bring high value to publicly available data and to democratize access to information that was formerly unavailable to non-professionals.
Under Ms. Strausberg’s leadership EDGAR Online became an internationally recognized brand as the trusted source for SEC filings while at the same time delivering value-added applications that produce the fastest and most accurate financial information in the market. She was instrumental in developing strategies that produced subscription and licensing-based revenue models as well as leveraging business partnerships to grow revenues and brand. .
She took the company public in 1999 (NASDAQ: EDGR) raising $34 million dollars. She also managed other financing, as well as two acquisitions. The number of employees and contract workers has been as high as 200 located in Connecticut, New York, Rockville, Maryland and India. EDGAR Online’s current revenues are running in excess of $20 million.
Prior to founding EDGAR Online, Ms. Strausberg co-founded Internet Financial Network (IFN), an EDGAR-based financial information vendor. IFN was acquired by America Online, a division of Time Warner, Inc.
Ms. Strausberg’s extensive experience in the information and publishing arenas began in the 1970’s when she co-founded a publishing company specializing in providing custom-made textbooks to the college market. During this time she also edited and published “The Women’s Guide to Books”, a two volume catalog of works written by notable women. She was aided in this venture by a board of consultants ranging from Gloria Steinem, Joan Ganz Cooney (Children’s Television Network), Nora Ephron and fourteen other thought leaders of the period. She went on to establish a book fulfillment company in partnership with McCall’s Magazine to become a supplier of the books featured in her catalogs.
Film development provided another vehicle for her information packaging and presentation skills. In 1972 she started her own film development company that co-produced a documentary about Kansas City Jazz entitled “The Last of the Blue Devils.” Following that, she produced “It Came from Hollywood,” a Paramount Pictures film.
Her earliest employment was at the Foreign Policy Association, followed by a two year assignment at Hunter College as manager of a US Department of Education grant that funded the development of curriculum materials aimed at the educational needs of disadvantaged inner-city children.
Ms. Strausberg has received numerous awards recognizing her success as a businesswoman. She has been featured in many articles as the CEO/spokesperson for EDGAR Online and was the subject of a chapter in “DotCom Divas”, a compilation of biographies of important women in the emerging Internet business world. She has appeared on industry panels to discuss financial and business issues as well as emerging trends in the information industry.
She was formerly on the board of RKO Pictures. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and has served the college on a presidential advisory board.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?
Things are a lot different today than when we started, and that's because the information business, as any business, is an evolutionary business. You keep on moving forward and adding value, and moving up the value chain, or moving sideways, or in whatever direction you're compelled to go. I think that my skills are in recognizing a concept, and then 99% is really good at execution.
What execution means to me is fielding a phenomenal team under sometimes very difficult circumstances, particularly in a startup, having a really, really, really tight, intense focus. Not to get distracted, very important, and to have the ability to empower other people to line up and follow your vision and make it their own vision as well.
ANY ADVICE FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS?
My advice for a woman entrepreneur is a slightly eccentric one. I think you need to have a really good partner. I think to start a business of any kind, you need to have a really good partner. I think also, probably for many women, their spouses, whether they work with them or they don't, their support is really important. If it's not a family member, you need to have a really good wing man or a really good supportive team.
TALK ABOUT 9WSEARCH...
9WSearch is a company that we've started now that we're here in Austin. When we left EDGAR Online, when I left as CEO, I had a three-year non-compete. During that time, it never occurred to me actually that I'd ever particularly go back into the space of financial information, so that it wasn't constraining and I did undertake a venture that ultimately I decided to abandon.
In the midst of doing that, we moved to Austin. I continued for a bit to try to get interest in this -- it was a company concerning sustainability and so on, and Austin seemed a good place for that, as well. Suddenly we had an epiphany and 9W was going to become our next and best and greatest EDGAR Online.
9W is an answer engine that delivers the one right answer to a financial question or to a series of financial questions. It's aimed at a mobile audience, and it's designed for mobile devices. It provides information -- not data -- but information that billions of people are going to want to consume in a format that is what people expect to be receiving their information today.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT AUSTIN'S TECH COMMUNITY?
My feelings about the Austin tech community are largely positive. I think that I somewhat miss a slightly more professional approach that's taken in New York. But the end result may be very, very similar.
Austin is weird, and that's part of the big reason why we're here. So I expect that the behaviors are going to be slightly different. As long as the outcomes are similar, then that's what's important. I think that Austin is a good place to get started.
HOW WILL AUSTIN LOOK IN TEN YEARS?
So what do I think Austin is going to be like in the future? What I hope is that it will be a place where companies will prosper, and where they will stay, where they will not be seduced into going to other parts of either coast, and where there'll be more and more successful "A" teams operating.
WHY WE ARE_AUSTIN TECH?
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