SupportPay: Providing a state-of-the-art platform for automated child support and child support payments
SupportPay is the very first automated child support and child support payment platform that enables parents to manage child support, child support, and shared expenses directly with one another. The platform helps children get the financial support they deserve from both parents, while parents can focus on what matters most: raising happy, healthy children.
Founder and CEO Sheri Atwood rebuilt SupportPay from the ground up when she was going through the process herself with her ex and needed a solution that would help her track and manage child support along with her daughter’s expenses. The whole process is complex, time consuming and stressful. The SupportPay app aims to remove the complexity and allow users to manage support, share expenses and make payments, all with a certified record that is automatically created for each individual. Everything is stored in one place via the web platform or mobile app, so parents can easily access payments, upload receipts and make payments – parents have a complete history of all child support payments made or received and since SupportPay handles all notifications and reminders, parents are less likely to be able to remember Worrying about awkward financial conversations.
An inspiring leader
Sheri Atwood is currently the founder and CEO of SupportPay. Prior to SupportPay, Sheri was a Silicon Valley executive and divorced single mom who juggled her career and raised a child. During that time, she found the intricacies of child support were difficult and felt sure there was a solution to help – you get a bill for everything in life, but you don’t get a bill for that Child support.
Sheri searched high and low for a solution and was shocked to find that nothing was available. At the same time, her daughter had to undergo emergency brain surgery, which forced her to think about how to spend her time. Sheri then realized that if she was going to spend that much time without her daughter, she wanted to work on something that would have an impact on the world. So the idea behind SupportPay was born: an app that makes it easy for separated and divorced families to exchange money without the drama of struggle.
Learning from real lessons and experiences
One thing that shaped Sheri’s path as a successful female executive was leaving her own company in 2017. After programming the app herself and working tirelessly for years to build her company from the ground up, Sheri moved from the CEO position terminated. Even more disappointing, after they left, the company began a rapid decline – losing most of its customers, having a non-working product, and laying off countless employees. And just three months after she left, she learned that the company had been wound up.
Sheri knew she couldn’t allow this, and when she offered to return and her help went unanswered, she began her journey of buying back the assets herself. In 2018, Sheri took out a personal loan and used all of her remaining savings to buy the SupportPay assets. Since then, she has focused all of her energy on rebuilding the product, winning back customers and growing the business. Although it’s been a long, hard road to get to where she is today, Sheri hopes her story can inspire even a person not to give up, even when one feels like all hope is lost.
Fight the challenges and barriers
According to Sheri, the challenge in the early stages of building the company was the lack of capital to get SupportPay off the ground. Not to mention that to date women are receiving less than 3% of venture capital. Sheri worked hard to overcome this from the start, and over the course of five years she has raised over $ 7 million in funding. Before doing this, she also had to overcome the lack of awareness that there was a solution to this problem. Many parents do not know that there is a solution to the problem and so do not think about looking for one. The company has overcome this by always trying to educate parents and family lawyers about SupportPay.
Important qualities that every manager should have
Sheri believes that entrepreneurs make mistakes and many hear no – so resilience, determination and courage are among the most important qualities of a successful leader. She also says that passion is a big part of it. You must be passionate about what you do to aid you in your journey.
Strategic innovation to increase target groups
As the CEO and parent facing the issues of managing child support and sharing expenses with their daughter’s father, Sheri has a unique perspective of truly understanding the customer and finding a beneficial solution.
Disruptive technologies that influence today’s innovation
As the technological age keeps changing and evolving, Sheri believes she’s always looking for better ways to achieve business goals. “You have to keep adjusting your mindset to keep up with the changes and never stop thinking about new ways,” says Sheri.
Way into the future
Sheri says the goal going forward is to be successful and grow the company, not only to help parents support their children, but also to use the same platform and help siblings support their parents. You and your team want SupportPay to become the modern family finance platform.
Important advice for aspiring women leaders
Sheri advises you:
“First and foremost, I would tell aspiring executives to make sure that their idea or company solves a real problem. Ask yourself the critical question, “Are people willing to pay for the solution I offer?” If not, the idea is probably not a viable endeavor. Additionally, my best advice is to be prepared for a long, tough ride and have tough skin. There will be challenges, achievements, unexpected hiccups, and more to deal with along the way. You can hear no’s and you can run into problems, so keep staying resilient and hungry for success in order to assert yourself.
With regard to female leaders, I would also advise them not to be afraid to speak up. Women bring a unique perspective, especially in industries like tech, and they shouldn’t be afraid to share that perspective. “