Sandra Kurtzig in 2014

Sandra Kurtzig is an American businesswoman and technology entrepreneur. She was one of Silicon Valley's first female entrepreneurs, and as the founder of the business and manufacturing software producer ASK Group in 1972, was the first woman to take a Silicon Valley technology company public.[1]


Sandra Kurtzig was born in Chicago on October 21, 1947.[2] Kurtzig earned a Bachelor's degree in mathematics from University of California, Los Angeles in 1968,[2] and a Master's degree in aeronautical engineering at Stanford University.[3]

In 1972, she quit her job selling computer time-sharing for General Electric and devoted more of her time to starting a family.[4] She founded ASK Group as a part-time job, using $2,000 of her own savings.[5][6] Kurtzig wasn't able to give up working completely and launched a small, part-time contract software-programming business out of her second bedroom "to keep her mind occupied" and increase her income, never intending the business to operate outside her house.[4] She was asked to create an inventory-tracking program that could efficiently provide manufacturing information by her first client. Realizing that other manufacturers might find such a program useful, she recruited several graduates with degrees in engineering and computers. They wrote standardized applications that addressed problems faced by local manufacturers under her direction.[4]

Kurtzig reinvested all profits into growing the company. Her company required access to minicomputers and she persuaded employees at a nearby Hewlett-Packard plant to allow her company to use one of the company's HP 3000 minicomputers outside of normal working hours. By 1978, ASK released a package of programs called Manman, one of the first enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suites.[4] She later concluded a deal for Hewlett Packard to sell Manman for use on HP3000 minicomputers, at a time when most ERP software was only available to run on more expensive mainframe computers.[7] The company went public on NASDAQ in 1981, and in 1983, Kurtzig's personal stake in the ASK Group was worth $67 million.[7] She resigned from her role of CEO of the ASK Group in 1985.[7] but returned in 1989 to refocus and once again grow the company. ASK bought Ingres Corporation in November 1990. At its peak, the company's annual sales were just under $1 billion U.S. dollars.

In 2010 she founded the enterprise management software company Kenandy, where she served as the CEO through 2015 and is currently the Chairman.[1][8] Kenandy specializes in producing cloud ERP solutions for manufacturing businesses.[9] Kenandy is named after Kurtzig's sons, Ken and Andy,[9] who are serving as CEOs at other tech businesses.[7] In June 2013, Kenandy announced a $33 million round of funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.[5][7] valuing the company at $350 million. Other investors are Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers,, and WSGR (Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati).

Kurtzig's autobiography, CEO: Building a $400 Million Company from the Ground Up was published by Harvard Business Press.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Silicon Valley Pioneer Sandra Kurtzig Back In Start-Up Game With Kenandy". Wall Street Journal. 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  2. ^ a b "Kurtzig, Sandra L." American Men & Women of Science: A Biographical Directory of Today's Leaders in Physical, Biological, and Related Sciences, edited by Katherine H. Nemeh, 31st ed., vol. 4, Gale, 2013, p. 699. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 3 Feb. 2017.
  3. ^ "Sandra L. Kurtzig | Profile". CrunchBase. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  4. ^ a b c d "Sandra Kurtzig". Entrepreneur. 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  5. ^ a b "Sandra Kurtzig's Kenandy cloud startup scores $33 million from Lightspeed". SiliconBeat. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  6. ^ a b Sandra L. Kurtzig and Thomas Trebitsch Parker (1991). CEO: Building a $400 Million Company from the Ground Up. Harvard Business Press. ISBN 978-0393029635.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Sandra Kurtzig, Founder Of ASK Group, Secures $33 Million For New Venture". TechWeek. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  8. ^ "Executive Leadership and Board of Directors". Kenandy. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  9. ^ a b Gould, Lawrence S. "Manufacturing Meets Social Networking." Automotive Design & Production 124.1 (2012): 26-27. Business Source Complete. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.

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