Sandy Jen, CTO Meebo
Vivek Wadhwa, Columnist Washington Post
Sandy Jen, CTO Meebo
Vivek Wadhwa, Columnist Washington Post
Silicon Valley-based Venture Capital firm, KPCB and Girls in Tech cordially invite you to attend “Net Effect: The Impact of Women on the Web – Start-up Edition”. KPCB partner Aileen Lee talks with four distinguished female execs who recognize women as not only influencing the overall tech landscape, but increasingly leading it. Join Aileen and her industry-shaping guests on Nov. 9th as they discuss how women are breaking the glass ceiling. The panelists will share their distinct insights on leadership and how businesses across the social web, e-commerce and advertising are achieving success with the female demographic.
Please click on the following infographic to purchase a ticket to the event:
Girls in Tech LA is proud to be a sponsor of Women 2.0′s Founder Thursday networking event this week. Meet female entrepreneurs and founders, and enjoy food, drinks and networking with a gorgeous ocean view on the deck of Siemer & Associates in Santa Monica.
The event starts at 6pm, and the ticket price includes appetizers, drinks and the opportunity to meet Women 2.0 members and high-level entrepreneurs in the LA area.
Our hosts for the evening will be Giang Biscan (AsAble Founder and Mixergy Producer), Katrina Razavi (Marriage.com Founder and CEO), and Cassie Rice (SocialBlaze Co-Founder). Between the incredible women producing this event, and the great mix of women slated to attend it, this is one networking opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Use the discount code GITLA to get 20% off tickets, and be sure to RSVP by Wednesday, October 13, as space is limited for this exclusive event.
What: Women 2.0 Founder Thursday
When: October 14, 2010 (6pm)
Where: Siemer & Associates Ocean Deck — 1333 2nd St. #600, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Senior Vice President
New York City Investment Fund
Jalak Jobanputra is Senior Vice President at the New York City Investment Fund and manages the Fund’s investments in the information technology, media and cleantech sectors. Prior to joining the Fund, Jalak was a Principal at New Venture Partners, a $300M early stage venture fund where she was a director of Procelerate Technologies and Real Time Content. Previously, Ms. Jobanputra worked at Intel Capital where she led and managed strategic investments in software, digital media and services companies. Cont…
My twitter stream and email inbox has been full of links to the NY Times article published yesterday — Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley.
It is great to see that a conversation is finally evolving on the importance of gender diversity in the technology and venture capital sectors. On my trip to Rwanda last year I wrote a blog post on why I thought diversity in general was important.
When I meet with startups one of the first reactions/comments is that they have never met a female VC before. We exist, and I count close friends, and investors that I admire greatly, in the ranks. I have also worked with many male VCs who have funded women led companies and are supportive of women. However, after 11 years as a venture capitalist, I can say this industry is one of the most male dominated that I have encountered (including investment banking — many larger firms have diversity programs, shareholders and boards that provide incentives and oversight on this issue).
Successful companies grow out of an ecosystem and network of support, and that includes mentors, investors and role models. Integration of different viewpoints and backgrounds is not always easy but research validates that there is long term payoff for any short term challenges that may exist:
For those with a bottom-line approach, analysts say it makes a difference when women are in the garages where tech start-ups are founded or the boardrooms where they are funded. Studies have found that teams with both women and men are more profitable and innovative. Mixed-gender teams have produced information technology patents that are cited 26 percent to 42 percent more often than the norm, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology.
Building out an ecosystem that gives ALL smart, talented entrepreneurs access to funding, and support for their fledgling businesses will benefit everyone in the long term. When I helped launch NYCSeed with Owen Davis a couple of years ago, the goal was to provide this network of support in addition to seed funding. And everyone, including the most successful serial entrepreneurs, can benefit from these networks.
But this access becomes particularly important for first time entrepreneurs, and I am seeing an increasing number of women in this category. These women are thinking just as big as their male counterparts (and sometimes are better at weighing the risks and alternate scenarios!) As technology usage becomes more mainstream and diffuses into more industries and disciplines, more women are becoming creators and users of technology as a default.
That’s why I sat on the board of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs in 1999 in Silicon Valley when I started my venture career, and continue to support women entrepreneurs through Astia, Girls in Tech and a host of other organizations. That’s why I am moderating a panel of incredible women entrepreneurs on the topic of Social Media for Social Change this Monday April 19 at GreenSpaces with Echoing Green and NYWSE. And stay tuned for a panel of tech company founders who have successfully raised venture funding, including Heidi Messer (LinkShare, WorldEvolved) Stephanie Sarka (goto.com, new stealth startup), Jen Bekman (20×200) and Jenny Fleiss (Rent the Runway) on May 27 with GIT and Astia hosted at Polaris Ventures‘ Dogpatch Labs in NYC.
This is not about singling out women just because they are women, but because they are building businesses that are going to make a significant impact on our lives in the future (while generating a nice return for their investors along the way….)
What we planned to do: publicize an event to girls in Silicon Valley, an iPhone app store competition in which they, grouped into teams, were to design and storyboard a brand new iPhone app. They would have to think through a quick and dirty business plan and pitch it in 60 seconds. And the winners would take home brand new iPod Touches!
We hoped that by hosting a fun, enticing, and engaging competition, we could show the participating girls that careers in engineering and science weren’t limited to the stereotypical images of pocker protectors and protractors we see on TV.
What we did do: exactly that, and more.
As I walked around the room while the girls and their mentors were chattering excitedly about their ideas, I knew we had done it– we had clusters of girls at each table from all different schools in Silicon Valley, including a group of girls who traveled to Cupertino all the way from San Francisco that had already completed high school but were now participating in a program which prepares them for particular trades that require a certification program or two year degree. Everybody was talking to each other freely, shooting off ideas with confidence and finesse. Nobody cared that the tables were mixed up with girls of different ages (14-17) or that they hadn’t ever met before. Likewise they were interacting with each mentor with enthusiasm and respect. These mentors were women who had technical and engineering backgrounds who worked at Apple, Virgin America, and Admob and volunteered their time as resources for the inspiration and guidance of this group of girls during the competition. And everyone had a blast!
The feedback from the post-event survey was wonderfully positive. The girls said things like:
“I learned that there is a lot more to engineering than sitting behind a computer and [that] science and math really help.” “”I thought the mentors were cool and had a lot of variety of careers and I learned that a positive team-work attitude was cool.” “I learned that engineering is an option for girls and that I wouldn’t be alone.”
Ultimately, the winning app, titled “Stop, Shop and Go!” had most of the elements of a real iPhone app people clamor to use on a daily basis– the melding of geographic data, coupon codes, and (duh!) a shopping guide. All of the apps that were dreamt up that day were feasible– now if we could only create them all! The presentations, while limited to 60 seconds, were vivid, engaging, amusing, and fearless. These girls rocked it.
I would say, without hesitation, that the Girls in Tech mentorshorship debut was a resounding success. I would also say, this raises the bar so high on what’s still to come!
In the spring, we’re taking the involvement to a whole new level. We are partnering with Iridescent again to put on the Technovation Challenge 2010! This time, it won’t be one evening, but several months of teamwork, leadership, and engineering. The girls will learn, with the guidance of professional women in the tech industry, how to design and program cool mobile apps using App Inventor for Android, a new programming language developed by Google. Once created, these apps will be presented to a real team of venture capitalists for prizes, feedback, and the chance to be recruited into summer internships at some of the coolest local startups. Don’t you wish you were still in high school?
We can’t make this level of awesomeness happen, however, without help. If you are a female professional in the Silicon Valley area, I hope that you will think about joining us for our program in February. We will be working with the students twice a week for 8 weeks (Tuesdays and Thursdays 5pm – 7pm beginning on February 23rd). The girls and their mentors (looking at you!…hopefully) will work in teams to learn how to program mobile apps for Android and they will develop working prototypes. The teams will also get coaching from VCs and entrepreneurs on writing a business plan for their app ideas. We are building an exciting team of VCs, entrepreneurs, and speakers that will focus on teaching various parts of the program, so it promises to be a great learning experience for students and mentors alike. If you have ever done any kind of programming before or are interested in learning how to program in this new language, the girls would greatly benefit from working with you, so please consider joining.
One of the things that we learned from our experience on Friday is that it works much better to have two mentors per team, since mentors often have other commitments and may have to step out from time to time. So if you’re interested in mentoring in the Spring, but are not sure if you can make it to every meeting, let us know and we can either pair you up with another mentor or you can sign up with a friend!
Girls in Tech and Iridescent made something really cool happen for a group of enthusiastic girls this past Friday. We want to do it again, on a much bigger and hopefully even more impacting scale. Will you help us?
Last month it was that time of year again: Panel Picker Voting for the Annual South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference in Austin, TX. Sound familiar? Check out fellow GIT blogger Kristine Gloria’s post about it here: http://girlsintech.net/2009/08/31/girls-in-tech-at-sxsw-2010/
Each year the public votes online for which proposed panels should make it through to being accepted for the conference. I submitted a panel proposal, titled “Impact of Women in Technology”. Whether the panel makes it through to the final round and becomes an official SXSWi panel or not, I do want to share some of my thoughts on the subject, as well as hear everyone else’s and get some great discussion going on this.
For all you girls out there, was there a female presence that got you excited about tech? Maybe it was a mother, sister, aunt, or friend. Perhaps someone well respected in technology today, like Social Media Strategist Erica O’Grady, or Ad-Village CEO Marissa Louie for example?
If you do have an example like this, what about them or their journey in the tech world inspired or empowered you to pursue your dreams? How important do you think their roles are as pillars of Women in Technology to the future of Women in Tech? For me, two of those people are Tekzilla Co-Host & Gadget Guru Veronica Belmont, & New media producer and star of “The Guild”, Felicia Day. These two women are strong willed, have shown great initiative in their respective spaces, and have become pioneers and tastemakers in the fields of Journalism & New Media.
How have women influenced and changed the face of technology as we know it? This includes anything even remotely tech related, whether it be Journalism, Gaming, PR, Marketing, Social media, & more. Are there any famous cases of companies or brands that have seen great success due to Women in Technology? What issues as a Girl in Tech have you had to face? What issues have other women who’ve made a major impact in technology had to face on their paths to success? What would you tell younger or newer women entering the tech space to help them overcome these hurdles and encourage growth of the amount of women in the tech field?
Why are women in tech important to you, or the Tech Space in general?
I hope this post serves as some great food for thought, & would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and discussion (preferably in the comments below) about this!
On October 10th we will be inviting all of the Chapter Managing Directors and Advisory Board Members from all over the world to Santa Cruz for our Retreat where we will be working together to foster the growth of the organization.
The agenda for the retreat is shaping up very nicely and we wanted to share our progress. The event location is currently TBD but we plan on making a decision this week! We are very excited about the program we are putting together and look forward to making the retreat an annual event. If you are interested in assisting in the planning of the event, would like to sponsor or would like to attend, please email seana at girlsintech dot net.
Girls in Tech First Annual Retreat Agenda
October 9th, 2009
- 7 – 9 PM Welcome Mixer
October 10th, 2009
- 8:30 AM Coffee & Breakfast, Networking
- 9:00 AM Welcome remarks by Adriana Gascoigne (Founder)
- 9:15 AM ‘Chapter Evolution’ Morning session round table on what works and what doesn’t
- 10:00 AM Keynote (Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal and AllThingsDigital)
- 10:30 AM Break
- 11:00 AM Public Speaking Workshop with Bronwyn Saglimbeni and Kristine Schaefer
- 1:00 PM Lunch
- 2:00 PM Social Media Scalability for Social Businesses with JD Lasica
– 3:00 PM Women in VC Panel
- 4:00 PM Fireside chat w/ Priya Ganapati (formerly of Red Herring, currently at TheStreet & WIRED)
- 5:00 PM Closing remarks: Where we are taking GIT from here
- 5:30 PM Beach BBQ & Bonfire!
The sleek, spacious offices of Mohr Davidow Ventures in leafy Menlo Park was the site of this week’s Girls in Tech event, “Meet the Thought Leaders of the Venture Capital Community”. The ladies of MDV, Rowan Chapman (Life Sciences), Katherine Barr (IT) and Marianne Wu (CleanTech) shared their personal experiences and insights as they gave us a peak into the world of venture capital. I’ve captured their advice for entrepreneurs below.
The panelists analyze four main categories when looking at new companies to add to their portfolio:
1. Market Risk (Is it a big market? Is the right timing?)
2. Financial Risk (How much money is required to get the company to the next stage? How much total capital is required?)
3. Technology Risk (How difficult is it to develop?)
4. People Risk (Why this entrepreneur? What makes them special?)
The panelists advised entrepreneurs against making these common mistakes:
1. Don’t come across as arrogant (arrogance works for some but not for most)
2. Don’t duck questions or come ill-prepared to answer questions.
3. Don’t assume the VC knows your space as well as you do. Raise the level of understanding so that your value prop is easily understood by non-subject matter experts.
4. Don’t include an exit slide. Concentrate on how you are going to build a great company, not on how you plan to cash out.
5. Don’t exaggerate. VCs normally spend 1-3 months doing due diligence before investing. They’ll know if you exaggerate, and you’ll lose credibility.
Our panelists emphasized following these tips for success:
1. Think big or go home. VCs are looking for visionary entrepreneurs who will change the market landscape.
2. Get a warm introduction to the VC — It’s all about relationships!
3. A 20-page slide deck is much preferred to a 50-page business plan.
4. Capture interest in the first 5-10 minutes. You may have an hour to present, but the first 5-10 minutes are the most important.
A big thank you to the phenomenal ladies of MDV for generously sharing their time, experiences, and advice with us!
If there’s anything I’ve left out of this post that you think is important to add, I welcome your comments.