Month: June 2011

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Angel Investor Esther Dyson on Women Entrepreneurs and Health-Focused Startups

Women 2.0 asks Esther Dyson, angel investor in companies like Flickr and 23andMe, about opportunities for entrepreneurs and the women entrepreneurs in her portfolio.Esther Dyson: The opportunities for women are basically the same as opportunities in general. They are not currently in video sharing or yet another social network (ie. "if we get 10 million people we'd be wildly successful"). People forget that to get the wide audience you need, you need to spend a lot on marketing or have something unique.

In general, the opportunities aren’t so much strategic, but specific to an individual. What do you know?

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6 Lessons on How To Pitch for Venture Capital

By Sonia Sahney (Participant, Founder Labs) I’d like to share 6 lessons I’ve learned about building a compelling pitch for VCs, many of which were not initially intuitive to me.

Lesson #1: Use pictures, not words --

This may be counterintuitive to former bankers and consultants, but VCs expect a story with pictures and speak to ideas. They don’t like a lot of text on a slide. Here’s an example of a consulting slide (BAD). Here’s an example of a VC-worthy slide (GOOD). Obviously I’m making a broad generalization and the image I’ve labeled as "good" would need to be weaved into a cohesive story, etc.

The point I’m trying to make is that your pitch shouldn’t feel like a book report; it should be exciting and visual. You don’t need to write your points out in bullet or table form on a page; you should be able to speak to your key points without prompts.

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PyLadies Meetups Expanding to Seattle, Sydney and Wellington

By Audrey Roy (Co-Founder, Cartwheel Web) PyLadies is a worldwide community of ladies and supporting gentlemen who use the Python programming language.

We are putting together an open-source PyLadies kit to help Pythonistas in various cities start their own local chapters. We'll be putting the contents up on Read the Docs (rtfd.org) shortly. I would like to help interested Python developers start PyLadies chapters in other cities, starting in Seattle, Sydney and Wellington.

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Tracking Fitness with Skimble’s Maria Ly: Her Latest Mobile Apps for the Quantified Self

By Maria Ly (Co-Founder, Skimble) My parents immigrated to Canada when I was a baby and growing up, I found myself attracted to sports like figure skating and gymnastics. When I wasn't being active, I was actively coding and running my first mobile "modding" business. Eventually, I had the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Cheerleading & Dance Championships and completed my computer engineering degree at the University of Waterloo -- with that, I flew to San Francisco!

My friends can attest that I'm a bit of a health and fitness fanatic. Not long after I began working at Google, I picked up...

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Parent Entrepreneurs Strike Work Life Balance: Advice From Jennifer Toney and Carol Realini

By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Women 2.0) This week, Pemo Theodore interviewed Jennifer Toney, co-founder and CEO of WeMakeItSafer. When asked about being a "mompreneur", "balancing it all" and gender bias, Jennifer said:

"There tends to be a fear that moms aren't going to have the same amount of time as a single person, or someone without children, to spend on their startups. And to that, I would say everybody has something else that they're working on. By definition, if you are a successful entrepreneur, you are most likely an overachiever and so whether you are a marathon runner or a sailor, or you're sitting on boards of other startups, or you're trying to work on a charity and solve world hunger -- you're doing something else anyway. And so for a mom, your something else happens to be your children."

When Jennifer had kids, it wasn't the business, technology and entrepreneurship that took a sideline. Jennifer stopped gymming and running triathalons instead. She admits her schedule "changes but it doesn't mean you have less time to work on your business."

She notes that the people who question work/life balance are oftentimes people without kids

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So You Want To Do A Startup, Eh? (Slides)

By Tara Hunt (Co-Founder & CEO, Buyosphere) I was asked to speak at a conference in Toronto about my startup experience in Canada. But I didn't just want to talk about Canada. I wanted to highlight a bigger issue with being a startup entrepreneur: the frothiness of this moment.

All I was reading in every tech blog, magazine and newspaper was how easy it was to get funding, how much funding everyone is getting and how millions were signed up here and everyone is partying like it's 1999 again. Yet after almost a year of looking (and 6 months of seriously looking), Buyosphere is still unfunded.

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Y Combinator Funds Christine Yen and Helen Belogolova of Venuetastic

By Helen Belogolova (Co-Founder & CEO, Venuetastic) I know a lot of people liken the founder bond to a relationship and nothing could be closer to the truth.

It’s strange to think how little encounters and introductions can change your life so drastically, but our friendship and working relationship started almost on a whim.

Christine and I both moved to San Francisco around the same time -- in the summer of 2009 -- and met through the MIT community. We both had technical mindsets and worked in industries that were male-dominated (finance and technology) and as a result, gravitated towards each other. I think we felt a sort of unspoken bond and that proved to be a bigger deal than either of us imagined. I maintain a list of people that I have a good sense about and would like to get to know better. Christine was on that list and I decided to invite her to my birthday dinner. Though she was surprised to get an invite, she decided to attend.

That night, I brought up working together for the first time, but Christine didn’t take me seriously at the time. I didn’t push but as we began to both want a change at work more and more, Christine approached me about applying to Y Combinator, and we decided to take a chance on each other.

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Key Learnings From Seattle Startup Weekend 2011

By Yijen Liu (Participant, Seattle Startup Weekend) Last night, a friend of mine referred to me as the perfect West Coast entrepreneurial type.

What does a perfect West Coast entrepreneurial type even mean? I don’t know, but I ate it up (and he knew it). I’m a great entrepreneur in my mind –- obsessed with the product, creative, persistent, money-minded, charming, all kinds of wonderful, etc. In reality, I went to a name brand school, studied finance like everyone else there and subsequently took safe jobs at two name brand tech companies -– Hello, I am what Mark Suster calls a “wantrepreneur.”

Startup Weekend was my introduction to the Seattle startup community. I knew a lot of developers but almost none who coded in their free time -–

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Toronto: Mobilizing Ladies Learning to Code Python

By Heather Payne and Melissa Crni&#263 (Organizers, Toronto Ladies Learning to Code) Serious question here. Where are all the female programmers? Despite efforts over the past few years to increase the number of women in tech, the percentage of female Computer Science graduates is dropping. Of developers involved in open source projects, only 1.5% are women. The overall percentage of women in IT careers is down. The actions taken to level the playing field clearly aren’t working, unfortunately.

Luckily, we discovered a new strategy for getting women into coding, and success stories are quickly accumulating.

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Entrepreneur Strategy: 1000 Flowers Versus a Sequoia

By Nilofer Merchant (Contributing Writer, Harvard Business Review) 1000 flowers vs. the sequoiaPeople like Women 2.0 Co-Founder & CEO Shaherose –- creative, entrepreneurial types –- are flooded with good ideas. The question for her as well as for all of us is this: Given the many ways we can spend our energy, how do we get the biggest impact we want?

There are two approaches: Do many things. Do one thing and do it ridiculously well. Or as I like to think of it: 1000 flowers vs. Sequoias.

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Pregnancy Inspired Alt12 Apps BabyBump, Pink Pad

By Jennifer Wong (Founder & CEO, Alt12 Apps) I was five months pregnant when I decided to launch my startup Alt12 Apps in late 2009.

At the time, I was working at Gracenote, a music technology company, leading their marketing efforts. Sony had acquired Gracenote a year earlier, and while I had spent the last five years helping the company grow, at that point we were clearly in post-acquisition transition. The fast paced, wear-many-hats days gave way to steering committees, knowledge-based projects, and the usual awkwardness of corporate growth and process. I was getting bored, and worse yet, uninspired. So I began to think about what was next.

Pregnancy and Starting Up: Expecting and the Unexpected

To be honest, launching a startup was a bit unexpected, but my pregnancy had brought new life in me, literally and figuratively. It inspired my first product.

I was a typical busy working mom-to-be and self-proclaimed tech geek who lived by her smartphone. When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was search for a pregnancy app. I was really disappointed with my options. The apps that existed were developed by men that didn’t seem to grok, in both design and features, what a pregnant woman wanted or needed.

Even more disappointing was how few apps there were for women in general.

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Enterprise-Focused Startups: Apply to VentureEngine

By Allie Maltese (Marketing, Global Strategic Management Institute) Global Strategic Management Institute is proud to present the Enterprise Tomorrow Conference & Exhibition (September 13-15, 2011 in San Francisco) featuring the first ever startup competition, VentureEngine.

The competition is geared towards companies and products focusing on innovative enterprise software and technologies with the market of the following five themes -- collaboration, crowdsourcing, social communication, enterprise mobility and gamification.

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Rock Health’s Halle Tecco on Invigorating Health Tech

By Emily Goligoski (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0) Women 2.0 talks with Halle Tecco, founder of health startup seed accelerator Rock Health. The non-profit program selected from 350 applicant ideas for its first class, giving 11 startups sizable grants, mentorship, curriculum, and operational support.

Women 2.0: You’ve just set up shop in San Francisco with 11 very active in-house startups. Why health?

Halle Tecco: Working at Apple's App Store and covering health and medical apps confirmed for me that the medical space could use some of the creativity found in other technology segments. I sat next to the woman covering games and realized how motivated the developers were by the chance to build products they love. I wanted to see those same talented developers working on ideas to improve health.

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U.S. Innovation Challenge: Applying Tech to Save Lives

By Virgilia K. Singh (Co-Founder, Exhale Health) 12.6 million. No this number doesn’t depict any amount of funding.

12.6 million represents the number of women in the United States who are afflicted by diabetes. That means almost 11% of all women over the age of 20 have diabetes, many times unknowingly.

The Challenge Data, Design, Diabetes is a challenge that combines a human centered approach anchored on key design principles to create new service solutions for people living with diabetes. Individuals are encouraged to apply techniques they have learned either within the health care sector OR outside the health care sector (think automotive, tech, media, etc.) to solving one problem associated with diabetes.

The challenge begins on July 1, 2011 and applications are open until July 31, 2011. Five final teams will participate in a demo day where they will present their advanced ideas. Then using an open panel combined with our judges, two finalists will be selected who will receive an additional $10,000 to develop a one month prototype of their solution to be tested in a real life diabetes community.

The findings and learnings from these prototypes will inform the selection of a final winner who will get an award of $100,000 along with space at the Rock Health incubator in San Francisco to turn their prototype in to a full real solution for people living with diabetes.

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Chickstarter: Startup Weekend New York City

By Renee DiResta (Associate, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures) I went to Startup Weekend NYC in April 2011 and had an absolutely awesome time. From the start of Friday night pitches through the end of Sunday night demos, the energy and enthusiasm were off the charts*. Everyone was excited about what they were working on, which made the experience really, really fun.

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