I spent two days immersed in the business side of new media with the deep thinkers who come up with the ideas to create apps and web-based businesses, and the content that goes with them, who change and affect our lives, most of them women. I attended the BlogHer Entrepreneurs conference in the heart of Silicon Valley. Without these entrepreneurs, we wouldn’t have a place for content geeks like me to have new platforms on which to create. And since these entrepreneurs need money, this was a chance for them to learn more about the process of meeting and tapping angel investors and venture capitalists.
It was a heady immersion, chatting with and listening to speakers and mentors who are at the top of their games and being stimulated by the kind of new entrepreneurs who will be household names tomorrow.
Among the women I met with or listened to were, of course, the dynamic threesome who founded BlogHer and have raised the level of conversation around women who blog and invent in the digital space. Lisa Stone, Jory Des Jardins and Elisa Camahort Page. They introduced me to Ellen Peck who started women.com (which was sold to iVillage, now part of NBCUniversal). She told us about her new venture AppSmitten which has already begun to help me choose new apps for my iPhone without scrambling around iTunes and Google looking for a new solution for something I want help with (like finding new apps). Her step-by-step to starting this new business was fascinating as she and her team have made choices of where and how to launch and what the endgame will be.
Another tech maven, Joanne Lang, wowed us with her journey to find the right tool to keep all of her family’s most important information from health info, contacts, finances and more in the palm of her hand. Like many great inventions, there was as “mom moment” that clicked. One of her four sons was on his way in an ambulance and she could not access his medical history. That moment has turned into AboutOne, a subscription service web site and app which will soon be a ubiquitous part of many online offerings. (Rather than tell you Joanne’s whole story, you can read a guest post she just wrote for Women.20
Speaking of Women 2.0, Angie Chang, its Co-Founder and Editor in Chief, caught us up on her mission to connect women entrepreneurs in tech all over the country.
Other women CEOs pushing the boundaries, growing businesses included Shani Higgins, CEO of Technorati, the nation’s most advanced blog aggregator and ad network. Shani is keeping Technorati fresh in this ever-changing marketplace.
Nelly Yusupova, CTO of Webgrrls International, gave us the inside scoop on how to sell yourself and get clients to support your business. She is an Internet innovator and Founder of Digitalwoman.com
Most of the conference centered around the capital raising needs of new businesses and that discussion opened with a live interview with venture capitalist Brad Feld of the Foundry Group. He has co-written a new book called Venture Deals which Lisa Stone said was a must read. He is a tech evangelist and is on the Forbes Midas List – those modern people who turn ideas into gold. Both Feld and fellow VC Keith Teare of Archimedes Labs made it clear that to get someone’s attention you must be obsessed with your own idea and passionate enough to get others interested in investing.
That conversation followed through the day with women in the venture field who have set up funds and organizations specifically to get money into the hands of women entrepreneurs. Presenters included Deborah Buresh Jackson, founder of accelerator jumpthru and an investor in Golden Seeds, an investment firm dedicated to women, and Jen Shelby of Astia, a global non-profit described as a community of experts dedicated to women leaders and extending funding and support to women entrepreneurs.
Of course, nothing ended early. There were dinners where discussions kept flying, like the lovely treat I had with the women of Clever Girls Collective–Cat Lincoln, Stephania Pomponi Butler, Kristi Sammis. They have built an amazing network that will certainly grow with their amazing focus and passion. Good to see Digitwirl’s Carly Knobloch and BlogFrog’s Holly Hamann. Both are creative dynamos who I have had the pleasure to talk/work with before this event.
Putting women in tech and in digital content together with funders created an awesome energy, which will send sparks flying around the globe.