The Refinery


The Refinery


Our Mission

To fuel the growth of women-led companies.

The Refinery was founded in mid-2014 to fuel the growth of companies with diverse teams. Through an intense, customized curriculum and structured mentoring, companies develop a growth and funding strategy that is supported by an engaged community of peers, advisors and investors.

In 3 years, The Refinery has achieved rapid results: 31 companies mentored by 80+ subject expert mentors, through four program cycles, raising $10 million+ in funds. 

“We Won’t let you Fail.” 

Read More from our Entrepreneurs



Our difference

  • highly individualized program 
  • value added mentors with industry specific and relevant experience matched to each participant's needs.
  • engagement with early stage investors and highly experienced entrepreneurs.
  • CT location allows for accessing both NYC and Boston networks.
  • starting point for a longer term relationship; our mentorship does not end at the end of the formal twelve week period.

Why do we get results?

  • our drive, and the work we expect from each cohort.

  • teams are pushed to understand their customer, refine their business model, build their team, develop their financial outlook and clearly articulate their businesses value to customers, partners and investors.

  • at the end of the Refinery program, companies really know their business — and have a rock-solid foundation that will allow them to scale and grow.

Our programs

  • Winter Boost Program
    • three months
    • interactive content/webinar sessions
    • in-person group discussions
    • structured mentor meetings 
    • end results include growth and funding strategy, milestones, and roadmap
  • Membership
    • Awards, Prizes
    • Mentor Office Hours
    • Workshops

The Founders

The Founders

Janis Collins


Janis has been helping companies innovate, create and quickly launch new businesses for more than 25 years. First, through her own company, which focused on helping high tech startups and then later advising and funding new financial service companies.  Janis has helped found and launch several companies including two non-profit organizations.

As a Consulting Partner at KPMG, Janis worked with top financial service firms, leveraging innovation techniques to recreate businesses and new electronic markets.  As Managing Director at JPMorgan's LabMorgan, she ran the financial services business incubator where they advised and funded new Financial Services Technology ventures.  

Dedicated to community service, always an innovator, and creator of pragmatic solutions, Janis served on Westport’s Board of Finance, and as Chairman of Westport’s Parks and Rec, where she created an innovative public/private solution to continue the investment in the Town’s parks and recreation facilities.

TEDx -Janis Collins

Don't go it Alone (Connections are Important)

Jennifer Gabler


Jen has over twenty five years of experience as CFO for venture backed and startup companies in multiple industries.  She has the unique ability to manage detail while engaged in strategy alongside CEOs, boards, financing and strategic partners. Recent clients include venture backed high tech and biotech companies, media and e-commerce companies and consumer product companies.

Jen began her career as an investment banking analyst at Merrill Lynch.  After Columbia Business School, she focused on developing her operational finance expertise as a senior manager and CPA in the entrepreneurial services and administrative leadership at Coopers & Lybrand.  She was the CFO for Extraprise (now Quickpivot) for its first seven years where she built and oversaw finance, HR and IT.  She has deep expertise in financial modeling, fund raising, mergers and acquisitions, HR and back office operations, and a strong track record raising venture capital and early stage financing. 

Jen has an AB from Dartmouth College and has been a lecturer and researcher at both Tuck and Harvard Business Schools.

Read Jen's views on Improving Your Chances for Funding