5 Awesome Technical Products Created By Women
As a female entrepreneur, it is impossible not to notice the discrepancy in numbers of male versus female tech pros.
For many girl-bosses-in-the-making, this can present a considerable barrier to funding, and heaps of frustration. It is reported that male investors sometimes have a hard time grasping the real value of female-centered business pitches.
But why could this be?
Perhaps some male VC’s may mistakenly think women with non-STEM backgrounds will be hard-pushed to invent anything worthwhile in tech….
These five awesome girl bosses are shining examples of women who have gone out of their way to prove these naysayers wrong.
Here are five awesome technical products created by women.
Poshmark — The Social Marketplace For Hip, Fashion Role Models
Poshmark is a unique social commerce marketplace where users can sell, bid and show off their best outfits to millions of customers. The site is a hub for those who want tried and tested fashion recommendations from stylish role models they can trust.
Tracy Sun, Co-Founder of Poshmark, played an integral role as VP of Merchandising and Strategic Initiatives. Her unique experience and skills helped bring in over two million sellers and 5,000 brands to Poshmark’s books.
In 2010, Tracy moved to Silicon Valley to partner up with developer Manish Chandra. Together they brainstormed the Poshmark product and brought it to fruition online.
“Love what you do and do what you love. Doing something new and different requires a level of drive and passion that is really hard to fake. When your heart is behind what you are doing, so much is possible.” –Tracy Sun
Starting off as just an app, in the years that followed Poshmark developed into a website that boasts over $3 million-worth of merchandize uploads daily.
Tracy told the San Francisco Chronicle that getting the tech startup off the ground was a struggle in the male-dominated tech sphere:
“You’re innovating in a world that has not yet come to understand your ideas. We had 99% of the world telling us no.”
However, in her time at Poshmark, Sun’s input has made the company a diverse office environment at the forefront of social media technology.
Poshmark’s Director of Merchandising Kate Franco said,
“[Tracy] is acutely aware of the differences in the way men and women communicate, and as a founder has played a central role in establishing Poshmark as a place where female leaders can thrive.”
Takeaway lesson: Never let the lack of female voices in the boardroom stop you from climbing the ladder like a girl boss.
Piper — The Build Your Own Computer Kit For Kids
Piper ensures that the next generation will experience just how fun computer science can be at a very young age.
This computer building kit looks very much like child’s toy and encourages both boys and girls to experiment with coding. A Raspberry Pi computer, wooden box, screen, and all the fittings all come at a reasonable price point within the Piper build kit.
Co-Founder of Piper, Shree Bose, won Google’s 2011 Science Fair for her work in cancer research and drug-resistance in chemotherapy.
The multi-talent Shree has always been fascinated by science. She told Thinkstream4girls that her older brother first piqued her interest in STEM subjects as a young child. From staring wide-eyed at her brother while he recounted the teachings from his science classes, Shree would go on to study Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University.
As a research scientist turned female entrepreneur, Shree launched a crowdfunding campaign to secure the money she needed to bring Piper to market.
Shree has this advice for ambitious women who may be hesitant to share their great inventions with the world:
“I think the best piece of advice I can give to anyone with a dream is never to be afraid to share your dreams and talk about what you wish to create and see in the world. It’s often hard to share those pipedreams at the risk that they might not work out, but you never know who has the collaborations, networks, and visions to make your dreams a reality.”
Takeaway Lesson: Seek crowdfunding. Research has found that crowdfunding is a crucial area where female business leaders can obtain great successes. 37% of successful crowdfunding campaigns are female-led, compared with just 5% of VC investors backing female business leaders.
CloudFlare — The Content Delivery Network That Supercharges Your Digital Assets
CloudFlare is praised as a CDN that provides a dramatic boost to a site’s speed and security. These two benefits combine to provide a unique product hook and the idea was the brainchild of CloudFlare co-founder, Michelle Zatlyn.
During her education at Harvard Business School, Michelle teamed up with Matthew Prince and Lee Holloway to launch Cloudflare as a commercial venture in 2010.
As head of user experience, Michelle played a pivotal role in the product’s creation, translating CloudFlare’s technical capabilities into an easy-to-use interface.
Customers can get protection and super speedy page loading times that use up to 65% less bandwidth.
Michelle believes that diversity in the workplace has been instrumental to the success of her CDN. She told Forbes,
“Diversity is ideal when solving hard problems because people who are different look at problems in different ways. Whether it’s their gender, where they’re from, or other characteristics, combine that with trust and a shared vision, and you’re likely to have success.”
Takeaway Lesson: Use your creative talents to simplify user experiences and make sure you seek real users’ input to help you build on your ideas.
Style Seat — Making Bad Haircuts History With Social Recommendations
Style Seat is a social network designed for beauty stylists and hairdressers. With over 250,000 professionals booked onto the platform, Style Seat enables businesses to build a website. From here, they can take live bookings and carry out customer correspondence from a dedicated app.
Founder of Style Seat Melody McCloskey was always intrigued by the world of IT. However, she came up with the original idea for Style Seat as a consumer who had suffered a few bad haircuts in her past.
Instead of wasting her money and dreading her next hair appointment, Melody decided to launch a new site. One that allowed beauty stylists access to vast numbers of customers looking for high-quality beauty services.
Melody studied computer science during her education. After traveling, she teamed up with developer Dan Levine to start bootstrapping her vision from the ground up.
Upon seeking investment from some Silicon Valley VC’s (many of which, Melody notes, were bald), the pair struggled to demonstrate how valuable this service could be for both stylists and discerning consumers.
Luckily, Melody and Dan believed in their brand and were able to attract funding from the likes of TechCrunch and Ashton Kutcher.
Takeaway Lesson: Melody revealed in an SXSW talk her best advice for creating pitches that inspire investors to take notice:
● Practice your pitch in front of friends and family to give a flawless delivery on the day
● Drive appetite for the product beforehand. Provide vital information the investor needs upfront.
● Be careful not to give all of your secrets away beforehand. Leave your most interesting content for the pitch meeting.
MikMak TV — Harnessing The Power Of Video Marketing For Ecommerce Sellers
MikMak.tv provides brands with multichannel sales through social networks like Snapchat and Instagram.
From a customer’s perspective, the customer sees a Snap story with a swipe-up link. Mik Mak’s Attach service then provides a link to an infomercial and the relevant online shopping cart, allowing for seamless integration between social media and ecommerce.
Founder and CEO of MikMak.tv, Rachel Tipograph, made it her duty to find ways to eliminate two critical problems with e-tail marketing: creating email and retargeting campaigns that neither annoy the recipient nor erode a brand’s profit margins, by continually incentivizing customers with discounts.
Through her experience as the global director of Gap’s Digital and Social Media Division, Rachel decided to take the plunge and capitalize on her belief that she knew a thing or two about selling.
Rachel found herself exploring the TV Infomercial industry, a traditional sales channel that attracts a majority female audience. She wanted to find ways to translate the unique selling techniques of TV infomercials into fast and effective social media blasts. And so the MikMak platform was born.
Takeaway Lesson: Rachel told Refinery29 her thoughts on success in a male-dominated arena,
“When you enter tech, you realize that there are more men than women. You can’t deny that. But I don’t think you can make that an obstacle. You can’t get deterred as a female founder knowing that’s the landscape. You need to ignore the naysayers (of course there will be naysayers) and surround yourself with investors who believe in you, believe in your idea, believe in the market you’re going after, and believe in your ability to execute, most importantly.”
The takeaway lesson these five awesome ladies in tech prove is that no matter your background, you can make huge waves in the world of tech as a female. Collaboration can make women in tech an invaluable source of inspiration. Take a leaf out of these boss ladies’ books and start taking your tech venture plans to the next level.