• World Biz Magazine

SHARZAD RAFATI AND OTHER FEMALE CEO'S ARE TAKING BUSINESS TO NEW HEIGHTS



'Already, Rafati has become one of the most influential women in media and tech today. In October 2020, she led BBTV to the largest TSX IPO with a sole female founder and CEO, raising CA$172 million (US$130 million) in the process. How did she do it? She has built a company that now captures a very generous share of the billions of dollars of digital advertising revenue related to consumers watching videos online. The company’s growth can be directly traced to both its partnerships with top companies like NBA, Sony Pictures, PBS, and Viacom, as well as its commitment to helping individual content creators excel.'

- MicroSmallCap


After decades of being largely underrepresented in leadership roles, the number of female executives is finally beginning to improve and it's easy to see why. Research shows that company profits and share performance can be close to 50% higher when women are well-represented at the top.


What's more, a study from S&P Global Market Intelligence revealed that firms with female CEOs saw a 20% increase in stock price momentum compared to their male counterparts in their first 24 months in office.


Companies are clearly catching on and adding more women to their leadership rosters. Multinational consumer electronics retailer Best Buy brought in Corie Barry as its CEO in June 2019. And in 2020, several more women have joined the c-suite, including Hayden Brown as CEO of Upwork Inc., Carol Tomé as CEO of UPS and most recently, Karen Lynch as CEO of CVS Health Corp., making her the 40th female chief executive on the Fortune 500 list.


Then, there is the recently listed media tech company BBTV Holdings Inc., which was built from the ground up by a woman.


BBTV was founded by Shahrzad Rafati in 2005 and has since grown into the second largest video property in the world behind Google. In October 2020, BBTV completed the largest TSX IPO with a sole female founder and CEO at a price of C$16 per share for gross proceeds of C$172.4 million. On top of that, the company is one of the Top 10 Tech TSX listings of all time and the first TSX IPO with a sole female founder and CEO in the technology sector.


Since its TSX debut, BBTV has continued to pump out positive news. On November 13 2020, the company announced record Q3 revenue of $120.7 million, which represents a 31% year-over-year increase. The company also grew its views by 18% in the third quarter, from 102.7 billion in Q3 2019 to 112.2 billion.


According to BBTV CEO Shahrzad Rafati, the pandemic has helped with its video consumption growth. "The global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift of consumption from mainstream media to digital media, and we are seeing advertisers follow these audiences online as digital advertising has rebounded following a temporary slowdown in growth in early 2020," she said.


Apart from growing its revenue, BBTV also recently launched a new mobile gaming app, TheOdd1sOut: Let's Bounce, which was swiftly ranked the #1 family game on the US Apple IOS store while also achieving a top 10 position for all games on both iOS and Android, and has signed on several new partners including five new international gaming partners who collectively achieve 217 million monthly YouTube views and have over 23 million YouTube subscribers. BBTV now has partnerships in place with three of the top 10 gaming channels on YouTube, and five of the top 20 gaming channels on YouTube, based on total subscribers.


Companies Continue to Bolster Female Leadership

This spring, McKinsey released an in-depth report that analyzed diversity and inclusion in the workplace and noted that during the COVID-19 crisis, it matters more than ever. Female representation among leadership teams has grown over the last five years and although the progress has been slow, more and more companies are realizing the benefits of putting women in power.


In 2020, the UPS Board of Directors announced former Home Depot executive and UPS board member Carol Tomé as the company's chief executive officer. Since being in office, Tomé has wasted no time putting her mark on the company through various initiatives. UPS reported adjusted earnings that were twice as high as analysts had anticipated at $2.13 per share. The company's international business profit margins also soared in 2020 after adding more flights to meet a spike in demand for products from Asia. At the same time, domestic average daily volume was up almost 23% during the COVID-induced e-commerce buying frenzy.


Thanks to the quick thinking of female CEO Corie Barry, Best Buy was also able to post gains during 2020 despite having to shutter their stores during lockdown. Although she was forced to temporarily lay off 41,000 employees, the decision helped preserve the company's financials, which speaks to her experience as the former CEO of Best Buy. She also cut her salary by 50%, while her executive team took a pay cut of 20% to help alleviate the storm. It clearly paid off, with enterprise same-store sales rising 5.8% and earnings per share jumping 58% year-over-year.


Upwork Inc. CEO Hayden Brown was also forced to jump into the role with both feet when the COVID-19 lockdown began and her leadership ability has helped send the company to new heights. In the last six months, Upwork has increased its number of freelancers and corporate registrants by 50% and is now the world's largest public online freelance marketplace with a primary focus on providing remote job listings.


The most recent addition to the list of female-led companies is CVS Health Corp. who named Carol Lynch as their new CEO. The appointment makes Lynch the 40th female chief executive on the Fortune 500 list, joining other newcomers Clorox's Linda Rendle and Citigroup's Jane Fraser. Of course, women still only represent about 8% of the Fortune 500 CEO list and only 6% of the CEO positions at S&P 500 companies, revealing that they are still grossly underrepresented.


As one of the leading women in tech, BBTV's founder and CEO Shahrzad Rafati is passionate about job creation, education, and advancing opportunities for women and girls and hopes to help influence this positive change towards diversity and inclusion at the top.


For more information on BBTV Holdings Inc, please visit this link: www.bbtv.com