For over 15 years, City Builders' CEO, Kirstie McCool, has worked with community leaders in local, state and international entrepreneurial ecosystems.
As she visited communities around the world, she realized a common theme occurred time over time. There was a communication gap between the innovators, institutions, and policy makers that prevented these communities from reaching their full potential. Entrepreneurs were busy starting companies, and often were unaware of public resources available to them. Policy makers and economic developers were focused on attracting large companies to their regions instead of focusing on growing existing economic assets. And established companies often complained about difficulties in finding qualified talent to fuel their growth.
City Builders engages a broad network of community leaders, and facilitates a town hall framework to catalyze problem solving and strategic planning around innovation-based entrepreneurial economic development.
Meet Our CEO
Kirstie has over 25 years of experience with technology companies and as a community leader in building entrepreneurial ecosystems. Before founding City Builders, Kirstie was the President & CEO of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a global non-profit that serves over 900 business incubators, technology accelerators and entrepreneurial economic development organizations in over 60 countries. During her tenure at InBIA, Kirstie met with hundreds of community leaders that were dedicated to entrepreneurial, innovation-based economic development.
Before joining InBIA, Kirstie was the Executive Director of two Florida-based technology accelerators - Starter Studio and Igniting Innovation. In these roles, Kirstie was responsible for developing curated educational programs and deploying a statewide network of mentors and investors. Collectively these two accelerators mentored over 100 companies that went on to raise over $50 million in equity capital. In addition to her leadership roles with these two accelerators, Kirstie was the founding director of Startup Florida under the Startup America initiative.
In 2004, Kirstie joined the University of Central Florida (UCF) to design and launch UCF’s Venture Lab where she facilitated the spin-out of three startup companies based on faculty inventions, and mentored hundreds of local entrepreneurs in business strategy and financing. In 2007, Kirstie was tapped to become the Executive Director of the Winter Park Angels, a 50+ member angel investment group.
Before joining UCF, Kirstie spent thirteen years with five venture-backed technology startups, including founding her own company. Kirstie was the CEO and Co-founder of DigitalOwl, an Orlando-based educational technology software company, where she raised over $13M in venture capital and successfully navigated the company through the dot-com market crash.
Kirstie is the recipient of the Orlando Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award, the Working Woman Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, and the Dr. W. Judson King Entrepreneurship Memorial Award. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Computer Science from UCF, and holds an MBA from UCF.