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