Month: February 2011

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Team Building Lessons Learned in Founder Labs

By Dharini Ramakrishnan (Co-Founder, TetherPad) Over the years, I have worked in a variety of team settings - big and small, culturally diverse, geographically distributed - in large and small companies. I have devised techniques for team building and collaboration. At the beginning of the 5 weeks of Founder Labs, I consciously set aside these techniques and emarked on a journey of discovering what works and what does not work in forming and building a team. Based on my experiences, here is a list of to-dos when it comes to picking your team and working with them.

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Meet the Founder Labs 003 Graduates

Founder Labs is a pre-incubator for people with ideas or those looking to meet co-founders. During the 5-week program participants validated their ideas, created rapid-prototypes, and evaluated potential co-founders. 5 groups worked in parallel on different early-startup mobile startup ideas. Some will continue together, others will choose to regroup. Meet the founders that came out of the Founder Labs Mobile Edition (Winter 2011):

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How we developed a winning startup idea in five weeks

Guest post by Sheetal Dube (Co-Founder, Tetherpad). When we presented our Women 2.0 startup idea Tetherpad, a travel management solution for busy people, on the mobile Founder Labs Final Demo Night, we had no idea that it would be a crowd favorite. For five weeks, Dharini, Everett and I worked diligently on validating our problem/solution hypothesis and communicating our minimum viable product (MVP). The process was a huge learning experience.

As Everett's guest blog post on Women 2.0 Founder Labs suggested, our team went through a number of ups and downs. So when the esteemed panel of John Malloy, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Dan Levine and Tim Connors picked Tetherpad as one of their top teams for a hypothetical next meeting, it was unanticipated and felt a bit surreal when the audience also picked us as their favorite. Personally, this was a huge validation. Five weeks ago, I did not know where to begin, let alone give advice to others.

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Partner event: Babson Mixer for Women Entrepreneurs

Babson College invites the Women 2.0 community to celebrate their The Center for Women's Leadership's 10th anniversary on Tuesday, Feburary 22 @ 6:30pm in the San Francisco Mission Bay Conference Center (Fisher East Room). Please be our guest at evening for:

  • Women entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs
  • Women who are leading in corporations not-for profits and government
  • Women who are investors, activists and philanthropists
  • Women who are on their way to being any of these things!

» RSVP by emailing Laura Hunter here.

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Founder “Two-sday” in Tel Aviv on February 22

Founder Friday is a Women 2.0 networking event. Everyone has to eat, so why not share a meal and startup stories? Meet fellow Women 2.0 members in your city! This time we're meeting in Tel Aviv before Startup Weekend and we've partnered with Yazamiyot.

Women 2.0 Founder "Two-sday" on Tuesday, February 22nd in Tel Aviv!

Join fellow Women 2.0 founders, aspiring and current, for dinner on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 @ 6pm to meet each other at Women 2.0 Founder "Two-sday" before Startup Weekend Tel Aviv. Tech entrepreneur Maya Elhalal will be speaking.

Please RSVP here so we know how many people to expect for Founder "Two-sday" in Tel Aviv.

Founder Fridays are usually on Fridays as Startup Weekends usually start on Fridays. However Startup Weekend Tel Aviv starts on Wednesday, we are hosting Founder Twos-day on Tuesday. "Founder Two-sday" refers to Women "2.0" as well as the saying "Twice as good on a Tuesday." Women 2.0 members save 10% on Startup Weekend Tel Aviv tickets when you register here.

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Partner event: Blackbox Events in February

On February 21, learn to "Hack your elevator pitch" at a workshop in Palo Alto. This 2.5 hour night session covers how to put a 5 minute pitch presentation together, guidance and feedback on delivery skills, and overcoming nerves to speak effectively. Come with specific presentations to work on and a good understanding of what other needs should be addressed to make a difference. For more info and to register, click here. On February 26, Blackbox offers "Web Development 101 for business co-founders", an all-day class on Saturday to guide you from a web-application user to a web-application developer. We'll focus on the real-world implementation and prototyping of simple web applications that involve all major aspects of a modern web enterprise: HTML/CSS design, programming fundamentals, MVC (and MVP), databases, AJAX, and more. We'll also look at some of the trade-offs between various development approaches and frameworks, and when they're appropriate. For more info and to register, click here.

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Our Story: From Reformed NY Investment Bankers to Silicon Valley Edu-Tech Entrepreneurs

By Emily Chiu & Chiara Piccinotti (Co-Founders, Apply in the Sky) Winning the award for “best web start-up” at Women 2.0’s PITCH Competition last November was a surreal moment for us. Here’s a visual for you: picture two first-time entrepreneurs, trying (successfully, we hope?) to hide our nerves, as we stood before a live audience of over 300 in San Francisco, preparing to pitch our company, Apply in the Sky, for the first time.

By way of background, at that precise moment it had been:

  • 458 days since we had gathered up the courage to ditch our cubicle jobs;
  • Less than a year since we had finally gotten comfortable with the panic of giving up our regular finance paychecks to bootstrap our way towards visions of self-actualization;
  • 63 days since we had launched our beta for Apply in the Sky (after slaving through 300+ bug fixes);
  • 2 weeks since our first big partnership conversation;
  • And less than 3 hours since we had each pulled all-nighters to put together our Women 2.0 slides and video demo… to present Apply in the Sky to the public for the first time.

For both of us, it had been a long journey from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. And, in many ways, we are atypical tech entrepreneurs: we are both women – women without technical backgrounds, one might add; neither of our parents are entrepreneurs (in fact, they’re quite conservative); armed with finance degrees from Wharton, we both started our careers in investment banking – a move that isn’t typically the first step towards founding a start-up; and we were surrounded by few examples of peers that would dream of throwing away competitive jobs and stable salaries to work out of a garage on something that no one had ever heard of.

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New Female Founder Fellowship at Founder Institute

Currently, 16% of Founder Institute startups have a female founder. This ratio beats the average, but quite frankly the average sucks -- and we know we can do better. Founder Institute is a pre-seed incubator launching a program designed to increase the number of females founders in technology. With a goal of launching 175 female-led tech companies in 2011, Founder Institute is currently on pace to graduate over 600 companies in 2011 across our 17 locations.

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Meet Spoondate, Incubated at Founder Labs and Secured Funding from 500 Startups

By Shaherose Charania (Co-Founder & CEO, Women 2.0) Hungry? Me too. Let’s go grab a bite! Wait, you want to go to a steak house? But I’m vegetarian. Ack!

I think there is something really special about sharing a meal with someone and something even more special about sharing a meal you both are excited about. I really believe that shared eating preferences can lead to more successful relationships. The founders of Spoondate are on their way to prove this theory right.

Spoondate is a startup born in the Women 2.0 Founder Labs and led by Raissa Nebie and Van Nguyen. Raissa and Van have created a new way for people to date by matching their food preferences. Today, we are happy to share that Spoondate has received funding from 500 Startups!

After enduring five intense weeks with Founder Labs, Raissa and Van are now a part of the 500Startups family, with incubation and funding.

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Spoondate Secures Angel Funding from 500 Startups After Completing Women 2.0 Founder Labs Program

Women 2.0 is thrilled to announce that Spoondate has secured funding from 500 Startups to embark on the next steps in their venture to shake up the world of online dating. Spoondate founders Raissa Nebie and Van Nguyen met in the Women 2.0 Founder Labs program where they came together on their passion to create a new way to meet people based on food preferences. After all, what’s more intimate than sharing a meal?

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