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  • Writer's pictureCory Cleveland


Updated: Jun 5

Melissa Widner currently serves as the CEO of Lighter Capital. She has extensive experience as an entrepreneur seeking funding and as an investor!

When it comes to funding for your business, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Melissa is a former venture capitalist and entrepreneur who has facilitated several high-value exits throughout her impressive career. She is also the co-founder of Heads Over Heels. The company helps female entrepreneurs that run high-growth companies connect to resources.

“I realized I was the best leader and the best manager when I got out of people's way. When I hired people, really good people, and let them just do what they wanted, and helped them where they needed it.” — Melissa Widner [0:12:32]

In our conversation, Melissa details Lighter Capital’s approach to financing early-stage companies. As well as how they create conditions for friendly debt funding.

She expands on some of the biggest lessons she’s learned about leadership. Melissa reflects on the challenges of balancing motherhood and professional life.

We discuss the importance of downtime and learn the ways Lighter Capital encourages employees to disconnect and recharge too.

“It doesn't matter what your strategy is if you don't have a culture, and a team that can implement it.” — Melissa Widner [0:31:32]

Melissa shares her advice for her early-stage entrepreneurs and how to choose investors with care.

Today’s episode is a must-listen!


  • Melissa’s history in venture capital and why she still sees herself as an entrepreneur.

  • An overview of Lighter Capital and how they help finance early-stage companies.

  • How Lighter Capital creates friendly debt funding.

  • Why there is no one-size-fits-all solution for companies seeking funding.

  • What Melissa has learned about leadership throughout her varied career.

  • Understanding why some companies can differentiate themselves and succeed over others.

  • How downtime replenishes your creativity, improves your decision-making abilities, and increases your output.

  • The radical steps Lighter Capital have taken to encourage downtime.

  • How Melissa has balanced her family and professional life throughout her career.

  • Why Melissa co-founded Head Over Heels in 2010.

  • How Head Over Heels helps female entrepreneurs connect to resources

  • Melissa’s advice to early-stage entrepreneurs who are moving to raise capital.

  • How to choose your investors — provided you have a choice!

  • The concept of a future investors report

  • Melissa’s book recommendations for entrepreneurs.


Melissa Widner on LinkedIn

Lighter Capital

Heads Over Heels

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

Insider’s Guide to Finance on LinkedIn

Cory Cleveland on LinkedIn

For more information on our sponsor, please visit Olympia Trust Company

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