Global venture capital (VC) firm 500 Startups announced the appointment of Courtney Powell as Chief Operations Officer (COO). A 500 Startups “Batch 4” founder as CEO of PublikDemand, Powell most recently served as Head of Corporate Development at Keller Williams, an American technology and international real estate franchise.
COO Powell will lead day-to-day operations and drive initiatives to scale 500 Startups’ global business. She will also lead the VC firm’s expansion into new business lines and regional markets. 500 Startups credits Powell’s expertise with franchise models and her first-hand experience as a 500 founder as key factors in her hiring.
“I share 500’s most sacred belief that talent exists everywhere, but opportunity does not,” Powell said. “Our mission is to invest in world-class founders and create thriving ecosystems all over the world. In addition to a global commitment, I’ve come home to 500 because their commitment to diversity and inclusion on both sides of the founder/investor table has been sincere and evident since my time in Batch 4 back in 2012. My experience founding companies and raising money as a female, and young mother outside of Silicon Valley, opened my eyes to the adversity many face when doing the same. 500 was a beacon of hope to me as a founder, and now, I’m ecstatic to join 500 in bringing opportunity to great founders all over the world.”
In her previous role at Keller Williams, the largest real estate franchise in the world by agent count and transaction volume, Powell established the company’s first corporate innovation program. Additionally, she acted as a liaison for Keller Capital, helping the investment arm acquire real-estate-focused technology companies. During her tenure, Keller Williams expanded from a brokerage firm to a technology company. Powell has also sat on the SXSW advisory board since 2017.