Yesterday’s TechCrunch50 included another female startup, the second to appear over the two-day demonstration and launch event. Learnvest is a new online tool that aims to teach people financial management and responsibility. TechCrunch’s post on it says the company is targeting women, but it could be something used by either gender. The founder took some hard questions and criticism from the TC50 judges after her presentation, but held her own. As somebody who has taken dozens of VC meetings, that’s no easy feat — now add a group of them, plus an audience, a live stream that’s reaching thousands, and you get the picture. We’re not overly sure that this idea will reach the type of mass proliferation it’d need to be a real success, but you never know. Great ideas boil down to execution and the ability to build a customer base, along with need in the market. Regardless, she did a great job! — Patricia
If you haven’t been checking out the TechCrunch50 event in San Francisco via U-Stream this week, it’s definitely worth a watch. The event, in its third year, has become a launch pad for great startups as well as incredible judges, panelists and speakers who give a good look into the minds of investors as they review ideas. Earlier today, the first female founder competing in the event showed her project. She hailed from Korea and gave a really fun presentation of it. After she showed the product, she faced a panel of very esteemed judges. You can watch the video (along with other finalist presentations) and read summaries on the TechCrunch site. 2009 has had some of the best companies seen yet to come out of the event. I especially liked the multiplatform toy, Story Something and a few others. It’s also a useful resource to watch how entrepreneurs pitch investors, and what investors ask and care about. We’ll be keeping tabs again tomorrow to see what else will be unveiled. Another bonus — Google’s VP of Search, Marissa Mayer, is one of the judges. I’m almost positive she was wearing Missoni. Represent! - Patricia
The big story following the MTV Video Music Awards was of course Kanye West’s interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video, which West apparently felt should have been awarded to Beyonce. Swift stood completely stunned and obviously hurt by West’s actions, but certainly didn’t stand alone - nearly immediately, more than a half dozen of music’s top female stars took action in support. Pink, Kellie Pickler, Mary Kate Olsen, Katy Perry, Hayley Williams and Hills star Lo Bosworth instantly took to Twitter, while Kelly Clarkson blasted West on her personal blog. Beyonce herself stepped in after winning the award for Video of the Year, bringing Swift to the stage to give her a second shot at an acceptance speech. By far, classiest of all was Swift herself, who handled the situation with grace despite reports of her being in tears after it happened. Way to rock it, ladies!
Another article this past week appeared regarding women owned companies in technology and VC capital, pointing to a lack of VC firms backing women in the technology business. This has been part of a larger, ongoing “There are no women in tech” voice that’s been consistent in the market this year. As a woman in the tech business with a nearly ten year background in very high tech (internet telecom) and five years as a startup internet founder, I haven’t personally seen a lack of women. I can count nearly 500 women internet founders that I know or know of today — in 2004, I knew four. I also know at least a half dozen women engineers, plus hundreds women in all levels of tech companies, including managers, publicists, marketing, and more. eBay, Google, Yahoo, VMWare, and many other major tech players have had prominent women in high level positions among elsewhere.
With all these women in tech, it can be hard to understand statements that there are no women in tech, but advancement of women in business overall is no where near where it should be, and that’s why these conversations are important. When it comes to women owned companies and VC funding, some key factors should be part of the discussion. First, a very large number of the seven million women entrepreneurs in the U.S. operate companies that may not be the right model for VC-funding regardless of gender. Even with the very extensive connections I have in the VC world, my startup 9 isn’t the right model for it. I raised privately instead. Second, many companies overall don’t need the amount of money most VC firms invest. My first startup had plenty of VC attention, but because we did not want to raise $1 million, we were not a fit. Granted this goes into a gray area of those that do smaller transactions, etc., but this is what a lot of women may encounter as they reach out to VC firms. It’s important to see these as business, not gender, issues to help women better maneuver.
What’s most important, however, is to understand that VC funding is not always the ideal or necessary funding option. In fact, both of my major business advisors, two very accomplished serial entrepreneurs with several acquisitions below their belts, vehemently advise against it. I believe the issue of VC funding and women-owned companies needs to continue to be explored and addressed. But, I also feel there is a significant need for education, support and resources to help women understand all of their choices in terms of investment capital, particularly now as women entrepreneurship booms in tech. When was the last time you saw an article about this? In the coming weeks, we’ll be tapping some of our resources for insight and will share it here. It’ll also be the focus of our first NPG meetup event, which will take place this fall. — Patricia
Who doesn’t love fabulous lingerie, a great beauty product or a fantastic read? We do! And lately we’ve been breaking a little piece off of our favorite life and business stuff to share with readers. One lucky Power Girl has nabbed the NPG video series gift bag, another the latest book everybody’s been buzzing about in business. Winners have been contacted and prizes are being dispatched. Watch for more cool giveaways to come!
Earlier this year, we interviewed internet celebrity iJustine for our conversational how-to web video series, which we’ll be producing every quarter. This past week, she landed an incredible gig with the MTV Video Music Awards, where she’ll be working as a special correspondent at the awards this weekend. Justine is one of the most successful internet personalities on the web and isn’t just a pretty face - she’s leveraged the platform to not just build a giant following but also transition it to commercial and broadcast TV work. She also happens to be whip smart brainy and one of the most respected women in tech. For the MTV/VMA gig she’ll be on the red carpet and covering the event and of course, leveraging her 500k+ Twitter following. We wouldn’t be surprised to see MTV snag her up for other projects. She’s definitely one to watch!
From this week’s New Power Girls series The Huffington Post, we share what people are saying about the New Power Girls. Here’s How to Create a New Power Girls Group in Your City:
Today’s Huff Post article shares a look at the camaraderie and friendship that takes place among a real group of women entrepreneurs and executives that have their sights on doing big things in business. It’s a girl gang of more than two hundred women who own startup and existing companies that work and play together, criss-crossing the country from New York to Los Angeles to San Francisco and beyond. Not only do we support eachother, we also lend contacts, help spread the word of news or happenings, make introductions and do business. It’s a powerful network. We wanted to create that same community and collaboration experience online with the New Power Girls Huffington Post series because community in any business is important to its success. If you’d like to find out how to connect with women entrepreneurs in your city, or create your own group of “Power Girls” give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the leading female producers in Hollywood are offering insight and inspiration to others this week at an AFTRA Women’s Committee event that’ll be moderated by actress/producer Elizabeth Karr. Among the distinguished panelists that’ll be on hand are Joan Rater (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Heather Juergensen (“Kissing Jessica Stein”), Claudia Lonow (“Accidentally on Purpose”), Jenica Bergere and Joy Gohring. The women will share experiences, advice and insight on how they made successful transitions between acting and producing, and encourage others to do the same. Karr has had an incredible career and has an amazing talent for transitioning from various platforms, from acting to producing to TV, film and the internet. The event will be held this evening at the AFTRA LA headquarters (5757 Wilshire Blvd, 1st floor) from 7:30-9:30pm.
NPG’s own Meghan Cleary is one of the first and few multi-platform brands in style. She’s America’s Shoe Expert, a published author, had a hugely popular show on HSN, plus boasts a cult-like web and social media following and has appeared in more than 450 media outlets including Tyra Banks Show, TODAY Show, Wall Street Journal and others. Plus something huge that she’s about to unveil (we’ll post details soon!). This month, she’ll be talking shoes and style on the red carpet at the 61st Emmy awards for TV Guide. Power Girl!