Startup Weekend DC Announces Digital Partnership with Glassbreakers

Like almost everyone in San Francisco, Eileen Carey moved there to start her own business. And like every other Bay Area CEO, she met her co-founder online.

“Lauren [Mosenthal] and I both moved to San Francisco…to start our own company,” Carey told Femsplain earlier this year. “We connected on the Internet via a mutual friend and got together to talk about all our ideas. And from there we decided to start the research.”

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That research was for Glassbreakers.co, which celebrated its first birthday this month. Billed as “Mentorship for the modern woman,” Glassbreakers offers individual and enterprise solutions to tech’s pipeline problem.

The Glassbreakers consumer app uses algorithms to introduce women with common career goals (disclosure: I am a member). Users can connect through the Glassbreakers platform, then pursue offline mentorships as needed. So if a twenty-something product manager in DC wants to learn more about venture capital, she can use Glassbreakers to connect with an experienced VC and learn more about the business. Matches can either occur online to transcend distance or in person based on geography.

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But that online platform is just the beginning. To celebrate their first year in business, Carey and Mosenthal announced that they will launch an enterprise software solution for diversity next year. They saw that big businesses spent $8 billion on diversity initiatives in 2013 — yet none of that money went towards software solutions. Carey — who earned her BA at the University of Maryland — and Mosenthal want to help diversity divisions measure and scale their impact.

All of these efforts point towards a high level goal — to make the c-suite a 50/50 split between men and women. It’s the same reason why Flip the Ratio exists; without conscious efforts to make tech more inclusive, there is little hope that current numbers will improve.

That’s why Flip the Ratio is honored to name Glassbreakers its digital partner. In the week leading up to Flip the Ratio this Friday, Glassbreakers will promote the event through its own online networks.

They are strong networks full of true trailblazers. The Glassbreakers community is 12,000 strong. And its co-founders have raised $1 million from some of tech’s most successful women, including Jocelyn Goldfein (Facebook’s former engineering director) and Susan Kimberlin (Salesforce’s former product marketing director).

Glassbreakers is also inviting us to share lessons learned from this weekend on their blog. If you plan to attend Flip the Ratio and want to share your experience, reach out to Bridget at editor@glassbreakers.co. And if you’re a woman in a large enterprise, you can sign up to help Glassbreakers with its UX testing via Skype or Google Hangout next month.

Flip the Ratio is honored to partner with one of tech’s most inclusive initiatives. We hope this is the start of a long term partnership to accomplish the shared goal of a more equal workforce. 

We also believe in the power of technology to turn shared online interests into offline mentorships. And we know that the more united our networks are, the better chance we have to smash the glass ceiling.

Glassbreakers and Flip the Ratio are both ideal ways to learn more about different areas of tech, from back end development to product marketing. You don’t need to have all the answers; you only need to take the first step towards connecting with mentors whom you can learn from.

Haven’t bought your Flip the Ratio ticket yet? Sign up here

 








Editions Month Spotlight: San Francisco Immigration

Where’s your family from? This popular conversation question is one we know exactly how to answer – perhaps you’d say half Italian and half Swiss, or maybe half Colombian with some German and French. Most of the time, depending on where you’re currently living, we’re actually talking about generations before us, which makes up our genes and how we identify ourselves today.

immigrants-and-libertyBut what about how people got there? For most Americans, our ancestors arrived years ago and we haven’t thought twice about it since. The United States is a nation built on immigration: between 1892 and 1924, 22 million immigrants entered the US through Ellis Island and the Port of New York. The United States continues to be a popular destination by attracting about 20% of the world’s international migrants, even as it represents less than 5% of the global population. Today, immigrants make up 13% of the overall U.S. population.

Immigration is often thought of as a taboo topic that’s left for politicians to figure out, or a frustrating topic left for job seekers to deal with on their own. However, it is something that has affected all of us, whether it’s in your family history or your current story. This is the very reason we should seek to find better laws and actions around it.

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Immigration reform has been in the works with plenty of news coverage lately and over the years, which is way too much to get into for this blog post. But action on a local and community level is where big ideas can start and that’s the type of work we love to see. We’re so excited for the first-ever Startup Weekend Immigration to take place in San Francisco during Editions Month!

Not only is this a brand new edition of Startup Weekend happening, but the team’s story behind the event won first place in our recent Editions Month Story Contest! Their organizing team is made up of 6 first-generation immigrants and 2 second-generation immigrants, coming together to rally various industry members to tackle this issue head on. You can read more from them and about their upcoming event below.

Organizing team members & origin countries
Peter Shin – Korea
Armando Guereca – Mexico
Pulkit Agrawal – UK, India
Jessica Yen – Taiwan
David Silva – Colombia
Ria Carmin – Russia
Kate Lacey – Canada
Kripa Nithya – India

What is the motivation behind organizing this event?

None of the organizers knew each other before this event, and we all come from very different immigrant backgrounds, but we’re united in working towards a common goal – To create a more even playing field for immigrants.

And that is the same experience we hope to provide to the participants. Whether you and/or your family immigrated recently or many generations ago, whether you came here for work/study/family/refuge/asylum/etc., whether you’re documented or undocumented, whether you work in tech or or not, we want to emphasize to everyone that despite our differences, we as immigrants and Americans are all united by a common dream, and that is to work hard and take big risks in order to achieve a better life than the one we were born into.

What are you most excited about for your upcoming event?

Bringing together and uniting the immigration+tech community together in a way that’s never been done before. Not only will we be bringing together 125+ participants from all different nationalities, but they’ll have the chance to meet notable immigrant founders, immigration startup founders, investors, journalists, attorneys, and policy experts who are all deeply passionate about this issue.

There will also be a major educational component, which is often lacking in the national discourse around immigration. We will be kicking off the event on Friday evening with a speaker panel discussing the history and context of immigration in the US, and how the laws and system became so broken over the years.

What makes this Edition and event unique?

  • It’s the first-ever Immigration-themed Startup Weekend in the world

  • This is not a one-off event. It will be the first in a series which will not stop until solutions for many/all of the ideas in this blog post have become a reality

  • Courtesy of one of our judges: immigrant founder angel fund Unshackled – the winning teams will get a chance to skip the initial screening stage and pitch directly to a panel of Unshackled’s impressive network of investors, for a chance at up to 185k in seed funding.

 

Read the Organizers’ story behind this event:

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Amazon Web Services Opens Its Pop-up Loft to San Francisco Startups

This article is written by the AWS Pop-up Loft Team.

AWS and its technical experts are setting up shop and opening their doors in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood from June 4th to 27th.

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There are hundreds of technical learning activities and we’re inviting Bay Area startups to drop in, hang out, and take advantage of all the free learning opportunities.

We’ve got technical sessions ranging from “Getting Started Walkthrough: Everything and Anything AWS” to “More Infrastructure for Less: The Guide to Pinching Pennies on AWS,” 36 different hands-on labs (normally a 30 dollar value – all free), and our ‘Ask an Architect’ bar where you can sign up for an appointment or just drop in and meet 1:1 with one of our AWS tech experts. Our AWS experts can walk you through architecture setups, help you learn about our different products, answer questions about optimizing on costs or discuss any AWS tech topic you have. In addition to all of this technical help, we’ve also got free wifi, a freezer filled with your favorite frozen treats, plenty of snacks and beverages, foosball, and our “Simple Beer Service” (swing by to learn more)!

So, if you are a startup searching for technical education on specific AWS services, advice and best practices from other startups or networking opportunities, come by from June 4-27.  Learn what you want and when you want – that is the entire point of AWS Pop-up Loft.

Oh, and when you stop by bring your company sticker to plaster our startup sticker board!

Where it’s happening

925 Market Street in San Francisco.

When it’s happening

Every day but Sunday between June4th and June 27th. Monday – Friday 10AM to 8PM and Saturdays from 10AM to 6PM.

What’s happening

A lot. See something you like, go over here and then start filling your calendar with activities.

1:1 Ask an Architect sessions

AWS Technical Sessions

AWS Technical Bootcamps for all levels of experience (normally $600) – all free

36 different Self-paced, Hands-on Labs (normally $30) – all free

Behind the Scenes Customer Speaking Events in the evening – Coin, Flipboard, Twilio, Hearsay Social, MongoLab, AlphaSense, Inc., SFSU, and, Sumo Logic.

Werner Vogels, Amazon CTO, Fireside Chat

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Educator to Entrepreneur: Using Entrepreneurial Skills to Impact Learning

This post was written by Maggie Croushore, Founder of KidFit Academy and Co-Organizer of SWEDU San Francisco Nov 22nd.

We have an amazing organizing team filled with former teachers, entrepreneurs, startup weekend graduates, and people 100% dedicated to finding solutions to education’s most persistent challenges.

Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) San Francisco Team

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A Life-Changing Experience

Early on in our planning conversations, my Co-Organizers and I knew that we wanted to do a special workshop just for teachers leading up to our SWEDU San Francisco on Nov 22nd.  Three out of five of us are former classroom teachers, so it made sense for us to hold an event specifically for educators to prepare them for the weekend. And for me, in particular, this idea hit close to home.

I remember when I attended my first SWEDU as a teacher last year. I was incredibly nervous, as I had never before been exposed to entrepreneurship and had no idea what to expect.  However, as I drove to the event, I gained the courage to step out of my comfort zone in a room full of complete strangers and pitch an idea that had been ruminating in my mind for some time.  And I am so glad I did! I ended up creating KidFit Academy, and I can honestly say that SWEDU changed my career path. I would not be where I am today without it. And so my Co-Organizers and I wanted to make sure other teachers get the same opportunity to play a leadership role in creating great solutions to their own problems in the classroom.

From the beginning, we knew that we not only wanted to recruit some amazing teachers for our event, but we also wanted to connect teachers to the growing education technology sector in a real and meaningful way.  After some conversation, we decided on the following overarching goals for the workshop.

  • Introduce educators to the concepts and skills needed for startup weekend
  • Begin cultivating a community of educators dedicated to entrepreneurship
  • Empower educators to use entrepreneurial skills to problem solve pressing educational issues
  • Provide a safe and supportive learning space for educators to brainstorm and practice pitching business ideas for upcoming SWEDU

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A Big Success

Through our event, we were able to accomplish several of our key goals.  First, we were able to recruit some amazing teachers for our event. After participating in our dynamic workshop, these teachers will be even more prepared for an amazing SWEDU experience. Also, by exposing teachers to the power of their voice in the education innovation movement, we were able to open the dialogue for future conversations bringing together education startups and teachers.

It is important to communicate to teachers that SWEDU is not just for those that might be thinking of joining or founding a startup. Classroom teachers do not have to leave the setting of a school, in order to make an impact in the edtech world.  I know that as a teacher, I was intimidated by these type of events; however, throughout the weekend, I quickly realized that I not only had a lot to add to the conversation, but I also was an asset to my team. Only us teachers have the experience of seeing many problems up front, on a daily basis, and that experience is a value-add to anyone interested in solving those problems.

At the end of our workshop, it was inspiring to see some attendees share their problems and proposed solutions. Just imagine! If they can come up with such great ideas in less than hour, what could they come up with over the course of a 54-hour weekend?

Replicating the Model

After a while, those of us in the startup scene sometimes forget that not everyone speaks the language of entrepreneurship and that can be incredibly intimidating. Having a teacher-centric event not only shows teachers how important they are, it acts as preparation for the weekend.  By hearing from former educators-turned-entrepreneurs and participating in a startup weekend mini-simulation, teachers walked away from the event with a better understanding of entrepreneurship, as well as a strong pitch for the weekend or beyond.  Teachers already engage in the thinking behind entrepreneurship; they just might not realize it, because they call it something different—good teaching.

I would absolutely recommend that future SWEDU Organizers implement this type of workshop prior to their event. Teachers need to be in the dialogue when it comes to education products and startups, as they always think of their students and have the ability to see things that others may not. Teachers are an essential part of the SWEDU puzzle, and the better you prepare them for the weekend ahead, the more empowered they will be to contribute their experience and skill-set to the development of solutions to some of education’s biggest problems.

Join us this weekend at SWEDU San Francisco, Nov 22-24








Women Rock! 14 Ideas from Startup Weekend San Francisco

This blog post was written by Marius and originally posted here

I just came back from the Women Startup Weekend San Francisco and it was amazing, everybody was so happy!

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I was feeling really down because startups are hard…and I thought maybe there is a cool startup event happening in San Francisco where I can hang around fellow entrepreneurs a bit. So, I looked at startupdigest.com and there were products featured from female startup weekend attendees. I love female entrepreneurship!

Did you know that only 7% of VC backed startups are founded by women? There would need to be 7 times more women in tech to get to the equal split of 50/50 again! If you look at it statistically, this means ideas that could only have been executed by women have been tried 7 times less and they are lying around, just waiting to be executed.

But now, more and more women dare to go into tech and fortunately, the Startup Weekend peeps have seen this opportunity. I attended the event and it turned out great! Over 80 women and around 10 men were there and worked on 41 projects over the weekend, of which 14 made the final cut to be allowed to pitch for 3 minutes with 3 minutes of questions.

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Below are 14 startups that came out of the weekend:

Stylend –  Infinite closet, but instead swapping dresses, they are rented out. 

Stylend wants to tackle the problem that women have many dresses, but use them rarely. I told the founder that several startups have tackled this problem before (sorry to upset you!). 99dresses.com comes to mind, which actually went through Y-Combinator, but shut down afterwards for several months. They are now up again, but it seems hard scaling this business. Renting dresses instead of selling them doesn’t make the business easier. It makes it harder, because you have to deal with return policies and such, but I always like to be convinced by the contrary.

Joyvite – Find wedding venue easily. 

Finding wedding venues is a high involvement process and can be nerve-wracking. Joyvite tries to make that process easier. Worth a try, however there are a few well funded startups already out there managing the whole wedding process such as WeddingLovely and Weddingful.

Mentorshack – Connecting girls in tech to women in tech. 

Mentorshack connects teenage girls who are interested in tech with women who have gone through the process of having had to fight their way into this male dominated industry. There are many services out there that help you find a mentor online for all areas, but they seem to have trouble scaling up. For instance, Tutorspree a Sequoia backed company had to shut down recently, however Mentoshack picked a strong niche, which has a good cause behind it. Scaling bottom-up instead of top down is always a good idea. Start small…

Infinitelooks – Shows you what to wear for the day. 

Just woke up, but no idea what to wear? Infinitelooks is a mobile app that lets you choose your mood and then displays an outfit that you could wear today based on your wardrobe. Fun idea!

CoHabit – To do list with your roomies. 

My favorite app! Know the problem of your roomie forgetting to clean the dishes again? Forgot to water the plants? Founder Allison Cooper can name 20 more problems with “Co-Habitants”. Well now, with the CoHabit app, you have a to-do list for your apartment to keep track of your house chores. Get points by always completing your chores on time, get rewards and all roomies are happy. Strong problem, big market, lovely idea, not too hard to execute in terms of tech and market, this will work! They also won the weekend giving them free coworking space and mentoring.

Storylink – Capturing your grandparent’s stories. 

How nice would it be if your kids knew how their grandparents met, fell in love, lost everything and how they built up their lives out of nothing again? Storylink tries to capture these stories. A friend of mine has actually tried the same thing, they had an amazing iPhone app, website, design, everything. However, now they pivoted to doing branded videos, so it might be a tough space, especially because you are targeting elderly people, who don’t use technology.

PredictionLog – Track predictions from individuals. 

Great idea! Everyone is always predicting things, but nobody checks if their predictions actually hold true? Well now with PredictionLog, you can predict things and increase your standing on the platform by making valuable and correct predictions (can you please call yourselves Ipredictthat.com actually). On the app, you can see the predictions for this week, be it politics or sports, for this month, this decade, the next 10,000 years, etc. This is actually a great extension to Future Timeline, which gives an outlook into our future of what will happen to humanity until the end of time. Predictions can be upvoted and discussed. Think of a twitter/instagram/whisper hybrid for predictions. It has the same kind of flair as whisper, which shows you the secrets that people tell in your area anonymously. Popular secrets can be upvoted and shared. They just raised $24M. People love anonymous social networks.

Bstreet – Crowdfunding for social causes.

Bstreet gives women a chance to invest small amounts into social causes. Neat idea and always good to start out of the niche and expand later.

Dailybread – Uber for your daily bread.

Recieve fresh bread to your door every morning without the hassle of going outside! This is one of the subscription services, which are the lowest risk startups, since they almost always work. Get a niche product, put up a nicely designed website, do some quick SEO with niche keywords and adwords, and deliver your product monthly to your customers. The thing is though, this works well for durable products such as razor blades, muesli, condoms, coffee bones, since you can distribute through wholesalers easily. Plus, you only send them out monthly. With bread, you have to deliver every day and partner with local bakeries, which requires tons of effort and lots of micro-management.

MIH – Make it happen, set your goals and get people to help you.

Wanna go skydiving? Climb Mount Everest? Learn how to back flip? Set your goal on the platform and people with the same interest, will jump in to help you. Their founder has sold her previous startup, worked as a consultant for 2 years and felt it was time to try a startup again. As well, get offers for the thing you want to do, such as a skydiving experience. This is where the money is. You want to go skydiving anyway, so putting the idea in front of your nose doesn’t leave you with many excuses. Something similar is out there called Evr.st, which helps you to accomplish your life goals. They got $1.5M in funding including Peter Thiel, so it could be interesting.

Grogbot – A robot to mix drinks for you.

Over the weekend, these girls built a robot that has containers (cups), which hold whatever type of alcohol you pour in. Via their Grogbot app, you can select your drink and the robot mixes it for you based on its existing mixes. This can become really cool as a slick designed robot with some glass parts showing its insides and how the drink is actually mixed. Could become a hit on kickstarter.

Flaminga – Block throwaway accounts on twitter.

Do you hate it when trolls on twitter that created an account 15 minutes ago harass you? Well with Flamingo, these throwaway accounts would be filtered out. They could also expand to youtube, reddit etc.

Koffee – Meet like-minded people around you for a coffee.

This is the greatest idea ever, the best actually! However, many have tried such as Highlight or Circle and 100 other startups, but no one has been able to make it work yet. Koffee added a Tinder spin onto it though, which makes it more interesting. You can select the people around you that you want to meet, but only if they select you back, you have a match and can message each other. Tinder wants to go into the “meeting like-minded people without dating” direction actually, we will see. However except for dating, it is hard to grow these kind of social networks if you don’t focus on one specific use case.

Insura – A better insurance finder.

According to the founders whose background is in the insurance industry, there is only 1 website that shows you proper insurances and that is ehealthinsurance.com. However, they ask for the most basic questions such as age, name gender and that’s it. Insura explained they were different by also asking about preferred sports or activities in order to find the perfect insurance. It’s to be seen if this gives them the competitive edge. Ehealthinsurance is massive and to compete with someone you need to be 10 times better, we will see.

These were all the startups presented at the weekend. If you’re a girl and you like tech, more and more events are popping up tailored to introducing women to tech. You don’t have to be super smart to build a successful startup, drive outmatches a formal IQ by far. Most of the 1000+ billionaires in our world are quite smart, but most of them are just as smart as every other college graduate. What made them successful was their drive and their ability to think differently than everyone else.

If you feel your eyes opened now, definitely check out Women 2.0. They have established themselves as THE platform for women who are interested in entrepreneurship and want to find out more.

Would you like to become a writer for your community?

Interested in organizing or attending a Start Weekend?