Sandra Kurtzig

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Sandra Kurtzig in 2021

Sandra L.[1] 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.[2]


Early life[edit]

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

Contract programming[edit]

In 1972, she left 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 "a $2,000 commission check from GE;"[5][6][7] the $2,000 was needed to rent a time-sharing terminal.[8] Kurtzig launched ASK as 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 by her first client, Halcyon, to create an inventory-tracking program that could efficiently provide manufacturing information.[5][9] Realizing that other manufacturers might find such a program useful, she recruited several graduates with degrees in engineering and computers. Under her direction they wrote standardized applications that addressed problems faced by local manufacturers.[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,[10] 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 HP-3000 minicomputers, at a time when most ERP software was only available to run on more expensive mainframe computers.[11] The company went public on NASDAQ in 1981, and in 1983, Kurtzig's personal stake in the ASK Group was worth $67 million.[11] She resigned from her role of CEO of the ASK Group in 1985.[11] 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[12] she founded the enterprise management software company Kenandy, where she served as the CEO through 2015 and is currently the Chairman.[2][13][14] Kenandy specializes in producing cloud ERP solutions for manufacturing businesses.[15] Kenandy is named after Kurtzig's sons, Ken and Andy Kurtzig,[15][16][1] who are serving as CEOs at other tech businesses.[11] In June 2013, Kenandy announced a $33 million round of funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.[6][11] 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.[7]


When Kurtzig was awarded the Wall Street Transcript's Bronze Award and was shortly thereafter "profiled in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post,"[10] she said "It's fun to clip articles and send them to your mother, but ASK is really a team." Her former husband's name was Arie,[17] and their sons Ken and Andy Kurtzig were born c. 1973 and 1976;[1] their parents divorced when the boys were 12 and 9.

Her father's name was Barney Brody. Her mother "Marian (Boruck) Brody[18] came from a wealthy Chicago family, graduated from the University of Illinois, and worked for a time as a police reporter in Chicago."[5]

See also[edit]

  • (company founded by son Andy Kurtzig)


  1. ^ a b c Andrew Pollack (October 13, 1981). "She programs a success story". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b Deborah Gage (August 29, 2011). "Silicon Valley Pioneer Sandra Kurtzig Back In Start-Up Game With Kenandy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c d "Sandra Kurtzig". Entrepreneur. October 10, 2008. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  5. ^ a b c "Kurtzig, Sandra L." Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Sandra Kurtzig's Kenandy cloud startup scores $33 million from Lightspeed". SiliconBeat. June 10, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  7. ^ a b Sandra L. Kurtzig; Thomas Trebitsch Parker (1991). CEO: Building a $400 Million Company from the Ground Up. Harvard Business Press. ISBN 978-0393029635.
  8. ^ "Sandra L. Kurtzig: Founder and Chairman of Kenandy; Founder of ASK Computer Systems Inc". Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  9. ^ Halcyon: "a fast–growing company that built telecommunications equipment."
  10. ^ a b Nina M. Fishwick (February 1984). "She Didn't 'ASK' for the Limelight". Hardcopy. pp. 66–68.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Sandra Kurtzig, Founder Of ASK Group, Secures $33 Million For New Venture". TechWeek. June 10, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  12. ^ Ari Levy (June 17, 2015). "Tech Giant's Second Swan Song". CNBC (Cable NBC news).
  13. ^ Adam Bryant (December 1, 2012). "Don't Chase Everything That Shines". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "Executive Leadership and Board of Directors". Kenandy. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
  15. ^ a b Gould, Lawrence S. "Manufacturing Meets Social Networking." Automotive Design & Production 124.1 (2012): 26-27. Business Source Complete. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.
  16. ^ Ages 37 & 34; see NYT/'81 "mother of two boys, 8 and 5"
  17. ^ died late 2001 Patrick Hoge (August 17, 2012). "Kurtzigs' entrepreneurial flair runs in family: Mother, sons have started six ventures". BizJournals (San Francisco). Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  18. ^ who lived til 100 "Oral History of Sandra Kurtzig" (PDF). September 29, 2017. My mother just died last year at the age of a hundred

External links[edit]