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Let’s hear it for the women in technology of the greater Washington D.C. area!
Much of the buzz at last week’s Potomac Techwire Statup Outlook 2012 (#StartOut) event focused on a definitive trend: That women are increasingly finding their footing in the startup scene. It’s no surprise to me (I literally married a “rocket-scientist”) that woman have all the ingenuity, leadership drive and tenacity to emerge as leaders in the tech-entrepreneurial space.
Brooke Salkoff, former NBC 7 correspondent and current president and CEO of CampEasy, exemplifies what it means to “bootstrap” your technology business idea by taking a common sense approach—build it, get customers and then seek potential investors. “I leveraged all my experience in the real world as a broadcast journalist and my network to get CampEasy to where it is today,” said Salkoff.
Both Jocelyn Gailliot, co-founder of Uscoop and Stephanie Hay, co-founder of FastCustomer, echoed that sentiment, but also spoke at length about the trials of getting their ideas off the ground. The combination of a good idea, strong network and ability to take risks are key areas where entrepreneurs ‑ regardless of gender ‑ continue to make all the difference.
At the event, top venture capital firms represented agreed that the presence of so many women founders reflects a positive trend. In addition to the numerous local and national accelerator programs for entrepreneurs (e.g. StartUp 500 and endeavor DC), a new accelerator in NYC called Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) was launched to help diversity the landscape further.
John Backus, founder and managing partner of New Atlantic Ventures, said he returned from another event in NYC and the gender split was even. He and other investors also indicate that having an idea alone isn’t what shapes their investments, but having an idea that already “works.”
At our hi tech PR agency, many of our own clients include powerful women entrepreneurs in leadership positions. Our very own Jayna Kliner, serves as the vice chair of the Women in Technology’s Communications Committee and interacts with the next generation of entrepreneurs on how to best use communications or public relations.
What about your organization? Is the entrepreneurial landscape changing? Will there be more women starting more business than men in the next decade?
Rufus Manning is a senior account director who helps emerging technology companies reach their market potential