Ann Winblad is an American tech coach and venture capitalist. She is the co-founder of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. She is known for being the ex-girlfriend of American business magnate Bill Gates.
Ann L Winblad Bloomberg was born on Wednesday, November 1, 1950 (age 70 years; as of 2020), in Red Wing, Minnesota, US. She was brought up in Rushford and Farmington cities of Minnesota. In her high school days, she was a cheerleader and high school valedictorian. In 1973, she gained a BA in Mathematics and Business Administration from St. Catherine University, Saint Paul, Minnesota. In her sophomore year of graduation, she learned Fortran programming language. Between 1973 and 1975, she did an MAEd in Economics at the University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Ann Winblad – LinkedIn She also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree, which she received from the University of St. Thomas. Meetup
Wired Height: 5′ 2.75″
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Family & Ethnicity
She was born into a family of Swedish origin; her great-great-grandparents immigrated to the US. Star Tribune
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Wilbur Winblad, was a high school basketball, baseball, and football coach at Rushford High School and later a history teacher, guidance counselor, basketball coach, and athletic director at Farmington High School. Her mother, Elizabeth Stark, was a nurse.
She has four younger sisters, Mary Regenscheid, Susan Shields, Patty Jorgenson, and Kathy Winblad-Polk. She also has a younger brother named Dave Winblad.
Relationships & Husband
In high school, she dated a boy. In the early 1980s, she began investing in Microsoft. However, she did not meet Bill Gates till 1984. Their first encounter happened at the Ben Rosen-Esther Dyson computer conference. They both began dating soon, but in 1987, they broke up because she was ready for marriage and Bill wasn’t. They both chose to remain friends.
On December 16, 2015, she got married to Alex Kline, who is a San Francisco private investigator and the younger brother of actor Kevin Kline. From Alex’s previous marriage, he has two children.
In 1973, she began her career with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as a systems analyst. She worked there for two years and founded her accounting software company Open Systems, Inc., in 1976; she opened it with three other employees of the bank. In 1984, her company was sold to Dallas-based UCCEL Corp. for $15 million. St. Thomas In 1984, she moved to California. She then became a tech consultant for IBM and Microsoft. She worked as a director for many software companies like,
- Central Point Software (1990-93)
- Oracle Hyperion (1991-96)
- Net Perceptions (1996-2001)
- Intrinsa (1999-2003)
- Liquid Audio (1996-2003)
- Xo Group (then (The Knot)1999-2005)
- Krillion (2006-11)
- Star Analytics (2007-2013)
- Karmasphere Inc. (2010-14)
- Voltage Security Inc. (2002-15)
- MuleSoft (2006-18)
- Sonatype (2010-19)
- OptiMine Software, Inc. (2014-Present)
She has also worked as a director for other companies such as
- Marketwired (2000-2006) – PR and Communications
- Silicon Valley Forum (1998-2004), also Chairwoman- Non-Profit Organization
- Ace Metrix (2008-20) – Advertising Analytics
In 1987, she met former NBA player John Hummer for the first time.
They decided to start a company and collected funds for two years. Upon investments from IBM and other St. Paul companies, the duo co-founded a venture capital firm called ‘Hummer Winblad Venture Partners’ (HWVP) in San Francisco. In its fledgling years, the company helped in launching atleast sixteen startups.
She became a trustee of the University of St. Thomas, her alma mater, in January 2000. Since 2014, she is a trustee and on the board of directors of Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.
Awards & Achievements
- 2017: Exemplary Women honoree at 4th Annual Global Women in STEM Conference (WiSTEM)
- 2013: Innovation Catalyst Award
- 2000: Inducted into the Fortune Small Business Hall of Fame
- 1999: Ranked 64th in Upside Elite 100 list
- 1998: Ranked 24th in Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in American business
- 1998: Ranked 22nd in Time’s Cyber Elite 50
- SVForum Visionary Award
- Dessert: Cinammon roll
- Drink: Kool-Aid
- TV Series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
- Film: This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
- She has a beach house in North Carolina’s outer banks. Wired
- She has a house in Florence, Italy. Wired
- When she was seven, she did a job of strawberry picking. As she was young, her employer allowed her to work only for few hours. Her payment was ten cents for a plant. Fresh Dialogues
- She participated in a regional track event in high school, just because her boyfriend taught her long jump once.
- During her college days, she had three jobs; a cocktail waitress at a joint (where the bartenders called her Sunshine); a bookkeeper at a hardware store; a customer service representative for Northwestern Bell. She did part-time till she graduated in 1973.
- When Ann and Bill Gates were dating, they used to go on vacation to many places; in their visit to Brazil, they studied bioengineering together; in their visit to Santa Barbara ranch in California, they took tapes of Richard Feynman’s lectures and studied physics; in their visit to Zanzibar Island, they took knowledge of human evolution and were helped by the anthropologist Donald Johanson. On every trip they went, they always went to beaches with other couples for bonfires and games, where they followed a tradition called sing-down; sing-down was a game in which couples competed by singing a song that featured a given word.
- After Bill’s marriage to Melinda Gates, Bill chose to keep his tradition of vacationing with Ann from the dating years, making an arrangement with his wife. The tradition comprised of Bill and Ann spending a long weekend every spring with each other at her beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. They spent their vacation riding dune buggies, hang-gliding, walking on the beach, and sharing their thoughts about the world and themselves. It is not known whether they still follow the tradition.
- In an interview, Ann talked about Bill’s impression on her as a fellow businessperson and said,
Bill and I went for a walk on a beach and Bill tells me, ‘I can see my way, if I really squint, to $500 million in revenue.’ In 1984 there was not yet a software company that had achieved $100 million in revenue. Bill was a great influence on me and I was thinking, wow, you can actually build a company that big in the software industry? Are you kidding me? I remember making him take a stick or a rock and drawing the numbers out on the sand for me. How was he going to get there? He then said, ‘What troubles me is I can’t see how I am going to get past $500 million.’ I thought, ‘You’re troubled about that?’ I was jazzed that someone could think their way through to $500 million. There was a lot of inspiration from each other back then because there was so little collective wisdom.”
- In her spare time, she likes traveling, biking, and fly fishing.
- She is a dog lover and owned a dog, who is dead now.
- Ann is well-versed in Spanish and Italian apart from English.
- In 1990, she collaborated with Samuel D. Edwards and David R. King to write a book titled ‘Object-Oriented Software.’
- Ann is a public speaker and has given tech-related coaching to entrepreneurs in various conferences and meetings. She has given speeches to the public at TED conferences.
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