Women 2.0 is an organization focused on supporting women innovators in technology with a mission to increase the number of female founders in technology startups. The organization hosts an online platform for inspiring blogs and resources for women and also coordinates conferences and community events worldwide. I had the opportunity to attend the “PITCH NYC Conference and Competition” at the Manhattan Center in NYC over break and was totally floored by the amazing ideas, stories, and lessons learned from the women (and men) in the crowd.
The conference kicked off with an inspirational video about "The Girl Effect” - the idea that is you put a girl at the center of change, she can change everything... pretty powerful way to kick off the conference.
After the conference introduction, we were introduced to women founders who delivered keynotes and personal lessons learned from their adventures in the starup world. Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco & Urban Decay delivered a keynote titled “How to Be a Badass in a Predominantly Male World” and described her journey and challenges founding her companies.
“Women tend to play fair and this is not a fair Game” - Sandy Lerner
The conference paused for lunch and attendees were asked to sit at tables based on a topic of interest for mentoring. I sat at a table focused on product design, hosted by Frank Harris, Group Product Manager at Etsy. Frank discussed his work at Etsy and the evolution of the user interface on the website and company culture.
Following the lunch session, we listed to a panel of women who have started companies focused on generating consumer electronics and how to take a product from an idea to prototype to mass production. The majority of the products discussed were products that are intended to inspire young girls to explore engineering and technology.
Roominate is a new age doll house, allowing girls to wire their dollhouse and teaching them electrical engineering skills.
Goldie Blox is the female “Bob the Builder.” “GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine” is a book & construction toy that follows Goldie (the engineer) and her adventures in building a belt drive!
Adafruit Industies is an online platform for learning about designing electronics. One of the company products is “Minty Boost” which is a DIY USB charger kit - a product I stumbled upon during a research project last quarter for my DPM class!
Throughout the conference speakers, ten companies were given an opportunity to pitch their idea/company in an effort to win funding for future development. Check out a few of my favorites:
The Daily Muse (a new way to search for a career)
Activity Hero (a "linkedin" for moms)
Newly Wish (a new way to organize your wedding gift registry)
Overall, awesome event and very inspiring for young engineers in the crowd! For the more on my conference experience check out my twitter @RIT_Alissa for my real time thoughts, photos, and links.