Women startup founders give valuable tips on how to succeed in tech space

NEW YORK--Who’s stopping women from succeeding in the tech startup world? The male-dominated VC world or even their fellow women?

Five women panelists at the Disruptive Technologies meetup last January 25 at Microsoft were in agreement: They face many challenges with just not VCs dominated by men but with their gender as well, although they see the latter less of a problem in the tech space.



One of the panelists said, “The obstacle is men; men should be more women than men saying women should be more like men.”

The panelists were Lori Hoberman,  lawyer and mentor to 37 Angeles; Caitlin Thompson, director of content at Acast, a Swedish company that offers end-to-end podcasting services; Aria Finger, CEO at DoSomething.org, a cause-oriented group for young people; Leslie Ali Walker, CEO and co-founder of Need/Done, an app that helps working parents get the help they need from the people they trust and Maria Seidman, co-founder at Yapp, an app that helps create and publish mobile apps without coding or design experience required.

Before the discussion, Susan Danziger, founder/CEO of Ziggeo, showed how to broadcast events on her app, especially to the meetup at ziggeo.com/h/disruptnyc. Ziggeo uses a patent-pending video capture API/SDK technology.

Each panelist shared her thoughts:

On why women are different from men

  • Women are apologetic about asking for money; there’s hesitation. Men go out there (and ask for money)

  • Women feel beholden but they should think it’s worth investing in them

  • Women do research, making sure their ducks are in a row; men just go out (and do it)


Obstacles that can slow down success

  • We create some obstacles ourselves.

  • There’s a lack of women investors

  • Some don’t believe in themselves. If you waste time because of obstacles, you become a terrible person

  • The obstacle is men; men should be more women than men saying women should be more like men

  • I was told (by a man) I was too ambitious. It is important to see obstacle on the road, whether you want to go around the system or find another road.

  • Learn about obstacles and what may not be overcome


How do you feel about being a woman in tech?

  • You have to learn how not to scratch and claw your way to the top; I promised myself I’ll never do it that way.

  • It should be gender-blind

  • Women should mentor other women not being taught by men

  • Still have a long way (for us) but millennial (women are changing things)

  • Once you’re on top, you can lead by example

  • Women are being ignored in my space so I am doing this

  • Make sense of it all by advocating (for women) and listening to different stories


Why are women not helping other women?

  • Tech industry is more open; women helping other women is happening in tech industry, not in other industries

  • If women my age are not helping me, I’m going younger (who help older women)


What’s the best way to raise perception of women in tech space?

  • If we can have more research about women performing well, then it will raise value of women

  • If the women succeed, they can become investors (for women)


On seeking funds

  • Picking your investor team is a highly personal decision; (you don’t want a) nasty divorce

  • Make sure to have (the right) people and associate on your side and have someone before he or she leaves the VC firm


On approaching women VCs for funds

  • I think it’s limiting. The opportunities (whether men or women VCs) are endless