Tag Archive | "female"

2014 Could Be The ‘Tipping Point’ For Female Founders, Says Y Combinator’s Jessica Livingston

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Y Combinator held its first ever Female Founders Conference Saturday afternoon at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. In opening remarks, Y Combinator co-founder Jessica Livingston said that the sold-out gathering is “the most over-subscribed event” in the famed startup accelerator’s history. Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Watch The Y Combinator Female Founders Conference Live

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If you are not at the Female Founders Conference at the Computer History Museum this afternoon, you are either a guy, out-of-town or one of the many that got turned away from the oversubscribed event. This is the first purposefully gender-specific Y Combinator conference and probably the first time the Computer History Museum has seen such a critical mass women within its walls. The… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Y Combinator Announces Female Founders Conference To Offer Startup Guidance

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Y_Combinator_Logo_400

Y Combinator, a major Silicon Valley accelerator, announced that they are holding a Female Founders Conference that aims to bring women together to discuss their entrepreneurial journey in tech. The event, to be held on March 1 at YC’s Mountain View campus, is a one-day event hosted by YC’s female leaders — Kat Manalac, Kirsty Nathoo, Carolynn Levy and Jessica Livingston. Female founders will share their experiences and offer startup guidance.

“Back in December, Paul sent me an email pointing out that there are now a lot of successful female YC alumni and suggested we put on an event where they could share their experiences to encourage other female founders,” said YC co-founder Jessica Livingston. “I’d been thinking about similar ideas, so we said, ‘Let’s do it!’”

“If I were considering starting a startup, I know I’d be very encouraged by hearing how other women did it,” she said.

Female entrepreneurs versed in startup life will appear, including Eventbrite founder Julia Hartz, Homejoy founder Adora Chung, VMawre founder Diane Greene, and YC’s own Jessica Livingston.

The application deadline to attend is February 3.

This comes on the heels of some recent controversy involving comments made by Y Combinator founder Paul Graham.

In a December 2013 interview with The Information, Graham gave seemingly sexist answers to certain questions about discrimination against women.

He then went on to defend himself on his own blog. Throwing the Female Founders Conference has been in the works ever since then.

Outside of Startup School, Y Combinator holds conferences every year or so. Most of them focus on educating and equipping the young startup founder. In 2011, the startup accelerator had an Ad Innovation Conference, and in 2012 YC held a couple of events, “Let’s Talk Startup” in Canada and “Work At A Startup” in Mountain View.

The conversation around “Women In Tech” has been going on for what seems like ages, with no real end in sight.

One school of thought believes that bringing more attention to female founders separates them even more from male founders, as it gives off the sense that a successful female is news whereas a successful male is expected. Still others believe that the only way to inspire more women to get involved in tech entrepreneurship is to show the success of the few who have come before them.

Whether there’s a right or a wrong isn’t clear, but it is obvious that the conversation isn’t ending anytime soon.

Here’s the full speaker list for the Y-Combinator Female Founders Conference:

Adora Cheung, Founder, Homejoy
Diane Greene, Founder, VMware
Julia Hartz, Founder, Eventbrite
Elizabeth Iorns, Founder, Science Exchange
Ann Johnson, Founder, Interana
Jessica Livingston, Founder, Y Combinator
Jessica Mah, Founder, inDinero
Kathryn Minshew, Founder, The Muse
Danielle Morrill, Founder, Mattermark
Elli Sharef, Founder, HireArt
Jamie Wong, Founder, Vayable

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Focused On Women, Sprightly Debuts A Visual Content Platform Showing What’s Hot Across Fashion, Beauty, Design Sites & More

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Sprightly, a newly launching startup whose founding team has an extensive history working in female-focused businesses, including Refinery29, Etsy, Chloe+Isabel, and others, is debuting its content aggregation platform on Monday, with a focus on verticals like fashion, beauty, design, decor, and more. TechCrunch has early invites (see below).

According to company co-founder Jorge Lopez, an early Etsy developer and until just recently, VP of Innovation at Refinery29, the original inspiration for the service was to build something that he describes as “a Reddit for women.” What he means by that is a system that aggregates content from around the web, which is then ranked in order to give you a real-time view into what’s currently popular.

“I love Reddit. It’s my favorite thing in the entire world,” Lopez explains. “You land on Reddit and you get the front page of the Internet. You get everything that’s important to you right then. It’s a snapshot of the world, and it’s very focused on recency.”

He then thought about the fact that there wasn’t a similar service designed just for women. (I’d argue that lots of women like Reddit, in fact, but Lopez is referring to those “traditional” female-friendly interests – fashion, beauty, home decor, etc. – the kind of categories that have led to Pinterest’s rapid growth.)

Working with Sprightly co-founder Pamela Castillo, previously of Chloe + Isabel, Fashism, Plum Alley, and Market Publique, they’ve spent a couple of months building Sprightly, which aggregates website and blog content in real-time, ranks what’s trending based on social media scores (as opposed to voting, like on Reddit), then presents users with a one-stop destination showing everything that’s popular today, as well as ways to drill down into other sections to explore even further.

If anything, the resulting product has more in common with Pinterest or Flipboard than it does with Reddit, as it turns out. Instead of user-submitted links and votes, Sprightly’s content comes from nearly 900 websites across the verticals it targets, as well as anything else a user wants to add on their own.

“We do the work for you, to some extent,” says Lopez. “We say, these are the cool blogs that we put together, but you still have the power to add whatever you think is really cool.” In the future, the plan is to allow users to follow each others lists of blogs, which is somewhat similar to Flipboard’s newly launched custom magazines, except the lists would contain the blogs themselves, not individual pieces of content.

As opposed to user voting, Sprightly determines what’s trending based on social media signals, including Facebook Likes, tweets, the blog’s overall popularity, Pinterest pins, and more. And in addition to populating its own front page of what to read, Sprightly will also send users an email of the top ten things they should read today. A mobile app (pictured, right), now being built by Chamera Paul, is planned for a May debut.

The other big difference between Sprightly and its original source of inspiration in Reddit, is that the site is also heavily focused on visual imagery, giving it a Pinterest-like feel. There are some 200,000 images now indexed across its service (including animated gifs, natch). But Pinterest, Lopez explains, doesn’t focus on currently trending content, but rather popularity over time.

“We saw Pinterest the morning after the Oscars, and it mentioned nothing of the Oscars,” says Lopez. “Meanwhile, Sprightly had Oscar content through every single vertical, be it beauty, be it fashion – everything is completely based on recency. It’s like, ‘this is what’s hot right now,’” he says.

Given its overlap with Pinterest, Flipboard, Tumblr, and the like, it’s hard to say if this female-friendly aggregator will take off independently. But the founders have a history of working for startups targeting the female demographic, and it’s already very easy to lose yourself on the site for good chunks of time, which is promising. The product launching next week is a very early MVP, meant only to determine if such a thing has legs.

Users will be invited in batches, but TechCrunch readers who want to be at the head of that line can use this link to sign up: https://spright.ly/i/techcrunch. The first 100 who register will be the first to receive invites when Sprightly opens up on Monday.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Etsy Wants to Give Female Programmers $5,000 to Attend Hacker School

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Hacker School etsy logo

Etsy, the popular marketplace for all things handmade, just announced that it will not just be hosting the 2012 session of Hacker School at its headquarters in New York, but that it will also offer ten $5,000 grants to women who would like to attend this year’s session but don’t have the financial means to do so. As Etsy’s VP of engineering Marc Hedlund notes, the idea here is to ensure that about 50% of the next Hacker School class of about 40 participants will be female.

Hacker School is one of the many recently launched programs that aim to teach budding programmers to become better hackers. It’s a three-month, full-time program based in New York. The application deadline for this year’s summer session is May 7 and the program will run from June 4 to August 25. Hacker School itself is a free program and those who get the Etsy grants “can spend the money on whatever expenses necessary to free you up for Hacker School, no questions asked.”

Hacker School co-founder Nick Bergson-Shilcock also notes that the female applicants will be judged on the same scale as men. “It frustrates us a little that we feel the need to say that,” writes Bergson-Shilcock, “and we think it underlines the sexism (intentional and not) that so pervades the programming world.”

Etsy’s Marc Hedlund acknowledges that “20 is a small number,” but that he himself has only hired about 20 female engineers in the past 17 years. He also notes that he would be more than happy to hire any of the female engineers from this next batch of participants, “but more importantly, we just want to see these women go on to get fun, creative, lucrative jobs in technology — and hopefully tell other women about the great experiences they’ve had.” At Etsy, a site that has given many female entrepreneurs a chance to start their own businesses, eleven women currently work in Engineering and Operations. That’s up from just three last September. Etsy has about 100 employees in Engineering and Operations.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Women and Tech: Focus On Female Consumers And The Founders Will Follow

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Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by TheIceBreak CEO Christina Brodbeck. Brodbeck is a UI designer, angel investor and entrepreneur based in San Francisco, CA.

Women in tech.  I hate to say it, but I am tired of hearing about women in tech.

As a female tech startup founder and angel investor, I am routinely asked how I feel about the lack of women in the technology sector.  Frankly, I’m a bit tired of the question.  It’s a topic worthy of discussion, but the conversation has grown far too narrow (as tends to happen in our Silicon Valley bubble).

While I have no doubt that the tech sector would benefit from more female founders, entrepreneurs and investors, we are missing a large part of the equation.  Wishful thinking and arguing about female founders, entrepreneurs or gender roles is overriding recognition of the powerful role that the female consumer is already playing in technology.

Let’s talk not about women in tech.  Let’s talk about women and tech.  We need to shift the conversation and analyze how and why the female consumer is affecting technology innovation.

For starters, let’s focus our attention on the groundswell of female consumers impacting the web marketplace.  If gender is at all an investment consideration, it is best utilized in conjunction with concrete market statistics:

•    3,330: the number of text messages the average teenage girl sends a month
•    67%: the percent of Gilt Groupe’s audience that are female
•    77%: the percent of Groupon subscription base that are female
•    Your mother: the average social gamer (ok, it’s a 43 year old woman, but close enough)
A basic conclusion that one could draw here is that females are just as or even more enthusiastic than males about technology and the web.  The difference is in the types of web products and services females embrace and how they put these to use in their daily lives.  Here are a few more examples of female-driven web behavior and trends that represent rapid-growth market opportunities:

•    Real World Bookmarking:  Women have embraced bookmarking and sharing content, ideas and tips on the web.  Services like Foodspotting appeal to the desire to bookmark a tangible item that we attach affinity to, then enable sharing with an extended network of online friends.

•    Personal Relationship Management: Women have historically been attracted to online services that give them a productive platform for analyzing, discussing and improving their personal and romantic relationships.  My own start-up, TheIceBreak (a game-like service that helps couples and singles create rewarding relationships), is planning to take full advantage of this demand.

•    Self Analysis and Insights: Women are a strong driver of demand for the self-help book industry.  Publishing has only begun its march into the nascent digital world and self-help will be a huge growth driver as more content is made available on the web.

•    Families and Children: Women and men alike have begun to invest time and discretionary income in family-oriented technologies.  Outgrown.it is a promising concept of an online exchange that lets parents trade outgrown children’s clothes or donate outgrown items to families in need.

I want to help women in technology, but a path to long-term success requires less charity (i.e. requiring at least one female on a founding team) and more common sense business practices.  An excellent first step would be the creation of an investment fund or incubator program oriented around startups that target the female web consumer.

Please do not misunderstand me.  I do not expect that creating a more attractive investment environment for female-targeted startups is the only answer for increasing female participation in technology.  I do believe, however, that males and females alike are attracted to products and services familiar to them, and that addressing demand for female-oriented online products & services is an excellent step in motivating more women to take a step into the entrepreneurial arena.

It’s not charity to invest in a growing market with hard numbers. Let’s start there…



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Can Wikileaks Afford To Back The Undiplomatic Julian Assange?

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“He’s a classic Aussie in the sense that he’s a bit of a male chauvinist.” That quote comes at the end of a piece on the recent escapades of Julian Assange, founder and chief spokesman for Wikileaks. It seems apt, because it’s becoming increasingly clear that an organisation which aspiries to transparency and the high ideals of open information is going to have problems going forward if it continues to entertain an individual who lacks transparency and whose private life is alleged by his female accuses to be be riddled with low ideals.

Because let’s be clear, delicate diplomancy and skirting the choppy waters of international issues which involve thousands of lives – like releasing highly sensitive government information about the Iraq war – is not the kind of thing you want someone who is careless about their personal life to take charge of.

How would you react if you heard this story: A guy sleeps with two women in quick succession, annoys both with his sexual habits, they talk but he dismisses their concerns. When they go to the Police he calls it an “international conspiracy”. Uh… what?



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

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