Founder Spotlight: Nadya Nguyen of HidrateSpark

Nadya Nguyen of HidrateSpark (Sprint ’15) has had a unique entrepreneur’s journey: she first traveled through the Techstars network as a participant in a Twin Cities Startup Weekend and then continued when she was accepted into the Sprint Accelerator in 2015.

HidrateSpark is a connected water bottle that syncs with your phone to track your daily water intake. It’s been called “the water bottle of the future” and has been covered by Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable and Buzzfeed.

Nadya, a 2014 business graduate from University of Minnesota, has entrepreneurship in her blood. Her parents were entrepreneurs in Russia with the mission to help give their children the best opportunities possible.

Now, Nadya and her team at Hidrate are building ways to help people improve their health starting with the HidrateSpark water bottle. Order your water bottle here and check out this 60 second video on Nadya below!

You can learn more and watch Techstars Founder Spotlights here.








The Warrior Princess Entrepreneur

Fun fact, did you know the first know poet and author was a woman by the name of Enheduanna? She was a high priestess in the City of Ur. Enheduanna helped bring together the Sumerian cities through her religious work by consolidating all the local gods into the worship of one, Inanna, a relentless warrior goddess. One story struck a particular chord in me. Inanna needed to defeat a mountain, so she sought the help of the other bro gods, who naturally refused to help. Irritated by the lack of help Inanna singlehandedly destroyed the mountain and showed up the other gods. The story bears strong resemblance to our modern times.

The “mountain” is reflective of the struggles women face in our society. They have two options, one fight the mountain on their own without support. Or two resign to their systematic fate in the valley below. This culture angers me and it should not be this way. Entrepreneurship can be the warrior princess weapon to fight the “mountain.” However, in order to instill change we need to instill empowerment and alter our attitude towards women as soon as they are able to walk.

1-IWRP5y4tgjlwqpGEqqpTTgTake a stroll in a park and you’ll see how the system affects young girls on a daily basis. When a girl goes and picks up a football or a toy truck their parents immediately chastise them and say, “No, that is only for boys.” Or my all time favorite, “that is not very lady-like” when a girl states her opinion. No wonder we don’t see more powerful female giants across the world. What individual can grow up to be a leader when divisions are drawn and voices are silenced? We are to blame for the lack of leaders by raising a generation of women who are subservient to the system.

Therefore, creating a space by women for women is of radical importance to breaking the patriarchal system that binds them from their true potential. Creating events such Startup Weekend Women and even Startup Weekend Girls is a pivotal step in the right direction! The change needs to come from within, those who privilege from the culture are blinded to the oppression it creates. Only women understand and can decide what is best for their needs and how they can achieve triumph. Let women personify the goddess Inanna and follow in her footsteps, destroying the mountains that hamper progress. For when women finally achieve equality, balance will be restored to the world.

 








Why We're Doing a Women's Edition

If you’re a female and you have ever attended a startup community event, you may have noticed that you might be one of few women in the room. You may have even been the only woman in the room. And you may have noticed that this is a common occurrence.

My co-organizers have all recognized the same thing I have seen: because women are often just a fraction of the attendees at a startup event, the focus and atmosphere just isn’t always conducive for women to truly participate comfortably – whether it be a pitchfest, hackathon, or hey – Startup Weekend.

This isn’t unique to startup culture, of course. Inequality in the workplace forms spaces where women aren’t able to contribute to their full potential. When it’s more difficult to be heard, the likelihood of stepping up into a role or responsibility is even more difficult. When you throw a tech-centric event into the mix, where women are typically outnumbered by men, the politics of gender, power, and privilege become a bigger issue. It’s already tough enough to step up in front of a lot of people, pitch an idea, and work the crowd! If you look out into a sea of faces and see very few faces that resemble your own, how encouraging is that? What if you’re introverted? What if you’re shy?

On top of the bravery it takes to stand up, pitch, and pour your heart and soul into a weekend of building a business, it’s a lot to face the dynamic created by inequality. We want to remove the pressure of that dynamic and provide a space where women can feel less like the minority, and more like the faces in the crowd are there to hear them out. As a women who have often been the only gals in the crowd, we know that it will make for an entirely different experience – for both women and men.

We’re excited to make this an event about empowering women. One really great part about that is that it doesn’t mean that just women should attend; some of our organizers are men, and they, too, understand that equality takes all of us. We hope you will join us and show us the energy and enthusiasm that comes with believing in an equal and empowering setting for women.

Overall, we really want to see women shine at this event. We want to see more women pitch, more women lead, and more women feeling empowered after leaving this event. We want to see this event make a difference in women’s lives and we’re excited to do this with Startup Weekend in sunny San Diego.








Women Entrepreneurs in Focus – Interview Series

WE (Women Entrepreneurs) in Focus is a blog series initiated by Startup Weekend Women Hamburg, to showcase the stories of female entrepreneurs and to inspire and empower other women to turn their ideas into successful businesses. By interviewing female founders we tried to find out about the entrepreneurial spirit that drives these women, learn how they got started and what they wish they’d known before entering the start-up world. 

inspired

We have interviewd a wide range of women, but despite all of their differences, these women have somethings in common – they are all great role models who are passionate, determined and committed to turning their ideas into reality, building successful businesses!

Here you find an overview of all interviews sorted by industry:

Commerce

freyaFreya Oehle Founder of Spottster

Freya Oehle is founder of Spottster, an online shopping platform that makes it possible to track your favourite products in numerous online shops. The 24-year-old entrepreneur from Hamburg founded the startup in 2013, right after finishing her MBA.

miriamMiriam Bundel Founder of Shelfsailor

After attending a Startup Weekend in 2014 Miriam Bundel founded her own Startup: Shelfsailor. Shelfsailor helps you to find storage in your neighbourhood with flexible terms and a nice community.

Services

Mirja-Hoechst-Fotografie-24Sandra Roggow Founder of Kitchennerds

Sandra Roggow is founder of Kitchennerds, a platform that puts together professional chefs with food lovers allowing anyone to enjoy of an elaborated menu, freshly cooked by your private chef at the commodity of your own place.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-08 um 19.41.16Katharina Wolff Founder of Premium Consultants

Katharina Wolff is Founder of Premium Consultants, a recruiting agency for digital talents in the digital / Tech / Startup field.

 

 

sinaSina Gritzuhn & Sanja Stankovic Founder of Hamburg Startups

Sina Gritzuhn, Sanja Stankovic and Tim Jaudszims founded “Hamburg Startups” to enhance the visibility of Hamburg’s startup scene and they are also creating a platform transparently displaying all Startups founded and based in Hamburg.

anne arndtAnne Arndt Founder of Elbworkers and PASARY

Anne Arndt founded PASARY an agency building marketplaces as well as the digital agency Elbworkers.

Food

leev1Natalie Richter and Christina Nissen Founder of leev

Natalie Richter and Christina Nissen founded ‘leev‘, a apple juice that comes straight from the area around Hamburg and is pressed unmixed so you can enjoy the pure tase of different sorts of apple.

stephanie döringStephanie Döring Founder of tvino.de

Stephanie Döring started over five years ago and founded tvino.de a online shop for wines as well as online platform for background stories and latest new with regards to quality wines.

 

janinaJanina Lin Tomaszewska Founder of Frau Ultrafrisch

Janina Lin Tomaszewska founded “Frau Ultrafrisch“, a restaurant and catering service that creates fresh selfmade food where all ingredients come directly from local farmers outside of Hamburg.

 

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-08 um 19.41.06Kathy Gabel Founder of Besserbrauer

Kathy and Jörg decided to turn their idea into reality with Besserbrauer. Their main product, called Die Braubox,  includes the tools, the ingredients and of course the instructions to take you into the world of brewing your beer in your own kitchen.

 

Tech / Apps

anna_abraham_wall1Anna Abraham Founder of Pay with a Tweet

Anna Abraham founded Pay with a Tweet, a social payment system, in February 2014. With ‘Pay with a Tweet’ you give people access to your Content or Product once they tweet or post about it.

 

jobdiggaChristiane Brandes-Visbeck, founder of JobDigga

Christiane, founded JobDigga, an App kids could use to find out their strength and interests for the job market by playfully answering questions to various job missions.

 

 

 

Media and Gaming

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-08 um 19.40.45Melanie Taylor, Co-founder of Osmotic Studios

In conversation with Melanie Taylor, co-founder of the gaming startup called Osmotic Studios. This startup makes games that have a special kind of atmosphere, evoking emotions through moral decisions or asking questions about society, life and everything.

susanneSusanne Harnisch Founder of pikofilm

Susanne Harnisch founded pikofilm, a film production company that specializes in telling digital stories, the core element is the documentary film. She also founded roleUP! – lvlUP your role models which portrays female role models with unusual jobs/hobbies.

 

Fashion

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-08 um 19.41.31Andrea Noelle & Annika Busse Founder of Beliya

Founders Annika Busse and Andrea Noelle founded a eco-designer bag and accessories label with a charitable purpose: Beliya. Every purchase enables a child in Africa to attend school for one year and all items are made of distinguished upcycling materials.

7_Chic_Avenue_Portraits_0105_sw-800x533Marianne Tochtermann & Jutta Schweiger Founders of 7 Chic Avenue

Marianne Tochtermann & Jutta Schweiger turned their passion for fashion into profits. They started 7 Chic Avenue in the summer of 2013 in Hamburg, where they design “tops for everyday luxury”. They claim their brand 7 Chic Avenue stands for chic, exclusive and affordable silk blouses.

 

Other

diana1Diana Knodel Founder of AppCamps

Diana Knodel loves to share her passion for coding with others, that is why she founded App Camps – an organization that brings coding workshops into classrooms. App Camps offers learning resources that schools can use to teach basiscs of programming.

 

MomPreneurs_EEisenhardt2-800x639Esther Eisenhardt Founder of MomPreneurs

Esther Eisenhardt, is mother of two beautiful girls and founder of MomPreneurs  a revolutionary movement that started in Berlin in 2013 to support and encourage women entrepreneurs with kids.

 

jessica3Jessica Brockmann Founder of mylocalscouts

Jessica Brockmann is founder of mylocalscouts, a platform which connects tourism with greater good. It helps you to connect with local people called ‘local scouts’ that share your interests and help you to explore the city you’re currently visting.

poratrait3Janna Horstmann Founder of Radkappe

Janna Horstmann was tired of choosing between either safety or style when cycling through the urban jungle and founded ‘Radkappe‘ helmets, that stand out by the lively coloring and design.

 

If you’re a female entrepreneur and would like to have you story heard, then we’d love to publish your story! Get in contact with us via hamburgwomen@startupweekend.com.