Sheri Atwood, founder and CEO of SupportPay, was named No. 5 on a list of the top 50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley. In her interview with Startup Grind Sacramento, Sheri discussed her entrepreneurial journey.

Chaotic Childhood

Sheri's childhood was chaotic, having to attended more than 20 schools by the time she received her diploma. After graduating from UC San Diego, she started working with Sun Microsystems and later attained an MBA to sharpen her business skills. Shortly after the birth of her daughter, she parted ways with her husband and put her best foot forward to end on a good note. She quickly realized that despite her efforts, the side effects of a divorce can complicate things. One day while doing an expense report for Symantec, Sheri started to imagine how such a report could be used to benefit her child support dilemma. She quit her high-paying VP position, learned how to code and started to build her application. Within a year she was able to get her first 100 users and gained valuable insight on the most-needed features and ideal price point.

"The Bigger the Pain, the More They'll Pay"

It didn't take long to discover that some divorcees would pay virtually any amount to automate child support tasks. But when in the room with venture capitalists, many had doubts and solidified the price point at $9.99/month. After continual pitches and little response, funds started to get low and Sheri needed to find an investor — and fast. Almost miraculously, two of the biggest Silicon Valley players, Marc Benioff and Tim Draper, gave the green light on a $100,000 investment. If Sheri hadn’t received funding at that precise moment, she planned to apply for food stamps the following day.


Since then, SupportPay has successfully raised a $4 million Series A round and moved its operation to Sacramento. You can watch her Startup Grind Sacramento interview here.