This blog post was written by Marius and originally posted here.
I just came back from the Women Startup Weekend San Francisco and it was amazing, everybody was so happy!
I was feeling really down because startups are hard…and I thought maybe there is a cool startup event happening in San Francisco where I can hang around fellow entrepreneurs a bit. So, I looked at startupdigest.com and there were products featured from female startup weekend attendees. I love female entrepreneurship!
Did you know that only 7% of VC backed startups are founded by women? There would need to be 7 times more women in tech to get to the equal split of 50/50 again! If you look at it statistically, this means ideas that could only have been executed by women have been tried 7 times less and they are lying around, just waiting to be executed.
But now, more and more women dare to go into tech and fortunately, the Startup Weekend peeps have seen this opportunity. I attended the event and it turned out great! Over 80 women and around 10 men were there and worked on 41 projects over the weekend, of which 14 made the final cut to be allowed to pitch for 3 minutes with 3 minutes of questions.
Below are 14 startups that came out of the weekend:
Stylend – Infinite closet, but instead swapping dresses, they are rented out.
Stylend wants to tackle the problem that women have many dresses, but use them rarely. I told the founder that several startups have tackled this problem before (sorry to upset you!). 99dresses.com comes to mind, which actually went through Y-Combinator, but shut down afterwards for several months. They are now up again, but it seems hard scaling this business. Renting dresses instead of selling them doesn’t make the business easier. It makes it harder, because you have to deal with return policies and such, but I always like to be convinced by the contrary.
Joyvite – Find wedding venue easily.
Finding wedding venues is a high involvement process and can be nerve-wracking. Joyvite tries to make that process easier. Worth a try, however there are a few well funded startups already out there managing the whole wedding process such as WeddingLovely and Weddingful.
Mentorshack – Connecting girls in tech to women in tech.
Mentorshack connects teenage girls who are interested in tech with women who have gone through the process of having had to fight their way into this male dominated industry. There are many services out there that help you find a mentor online for all areas, but they seem to have trouble scaling up. For instance, Tutorspree a Sequoia backed company had to shut down recently, however Mentoshack picked a strong niche, which has a good cause behind it. Scaling bottom-up instead of top down is always a good idea. Start small…
Infinitelooks – Shows you what to wear for the day.
Just woke up, but no idea what to wear? Infinitelooks is a mobile app that lets you choose your mood and then displays an outfit that you could wear today based on your wardrobe. Fun idea!
CoHabit – To do list with your roomies.
My favorite app! Know the problem of your roomie forgetting to clean the dishes again? Forgot to water the plants? Founder Allison Cooper can name 20 more problems with “Co-Habitants”. Well now, with the CoHabit app, you have a to-do list for your apartment to keep track of your house chores. Get points by always completing your chores on time, get rewards and all roomies are happy. Strong problem, big market, lovely idea, not too hard to execute in terms of tech and market, this will work! They also won the weekend giving them free coworking space and mentoring.
Storylink – Capturing your grandparent’s stories.
How nice would it be if your kids knew how their grandparents met, fell in love, lost everything and how they built up their lives out of nothing again? Storylink tries to capture these stories. A friend of mine has actually tried the same thing, they had an amazing iPhone app, website, design, everything. However, now they pivoted to doing branded videos, so it might be a tough space, especially because you are targeting elderly people, who don’t use technology.
PredictionLog – Track predictions from individuals.
Great idea! Everyone is always predicting things, but nobody checks if their predictions actually hold true? Well now with PredictionLog, you can predict things and increase your standing on the platform by making valuable and correct predictions (can you please call yourselves Ipredictthat.com actually). On the app, you can see the predictions for this week, be it politics or sports, for this month, this decade, the next 10,000 years, etc. This is actually a great extension to Future Timeline, which gives an outlook into our future of what will happen to humanity until the end of time. Predictions can be upvoted and discussed. Think of a twitter/instagram/whisper hybrid for predictions. It has the same kind of flair as whisper, which shows you the secrets that people tell in your area anonymously. Popular secrets can be upvoted and shared. They just raised $24M. People love anonymous social networks.
Bstreet – Crowdfunding for social causes.
Bstreet gives women a chance to invest small amounts into social causes. Neat idea and always good to start out of the niche and expand later.
Dailybread – Uber for your daily bread.
Recieve fresh bread to your door every morning without the hassle of going outside! This is one of the subscription services, which are the lowest risk startups, since they almost always work. Get a niche product, put up a nicely designed website, do some quick SEO with niche keywords and adwords, and deliver your product monthly to your customers. The thing is though, this works well for durable products such as razor blades, muesli, condoms, coffee bones, since you can distribute through wholesalers easily. Plus, you only send them out monthly. With bread, you have to deliver every day and partner with local bakeries, which requires tons of effort and lots of micro-management.
MIH – Make it happen, set your goals and get people to help you.
Wanna go skydiving? Climb Mount Everest? Learn how to back flip? Set your goal on the platform and people with the same interest, will jump in to help you. Their founder has sold her previous startup, worked as a consultant for 2 years and felt it was time to try a startup again. As well, get offers for the thing you want to do, such as a skydiving experience. This is where the money is. You want to go skydiving anyway, so putting the idea in front of your nose doesn’t leave you with many excuses. Something similar is out there called Evr.st, which helps you to accomplish your life goals. They got $1.5M in funding including Peter Thiel, so it could be interesting.
Grogbot – A robot to mix drinks for you.
Over the weekend, these girls built a robot that has containers (cups), which hold whatever type of alcohol you pour in. Via their Grogbot app, you can select your drink and the robot mixes it for you based on its existing mixes. This can become really cool as a slick designed robot with some glass parts showing its insides and how the drink is actually mixed. Could become a hit on kickstarter.
Flaminga – Block throwaway accounts on twitter.
Do you hate it when trolls on twitter that created an account 15 minutes ago harass you? Well with Flamingo, these throwaway accounts would be filtered out. They could also expand to youtube, reddit etc.
Koffee – Meet like-minded people around you for a coffee.
This is the greatest idea ever, the best actually! However, many have tried such as Highlight or Circle and 100 other startups, but no one has been able to make it work yet. Koffee added a Tinder spin onto it though, which makes it more interesting. You can select the people around you that you want to meet, but only if they select you back, you have a match and can message each other. Tinder wants to go into the “meeting like-minded people without dating” direction actually, we will see. However except for dating, it is hard to grow these kind of social networks if you don’t focus on one specific use case.
Insura – A better insurance finder.
According to the founders whose background is in the insurance industry, there is only 1 website that shows you proper insurances and that is ehealthinsurance.com. However, they ask for the most basic questions such as age, name gender and that’s it. Insura explained they were different by also asking about preferred sports or activities in order to find the perfect insurance. It’s to be seen if this gives them the competitive edge. Ehealthinsurance is massive and to compete with someone you need to be 10 times better, we will see.
These were all the startups presented at the weekend. If you’re a girl and you like tech, more and more events are popping up tailored to introducing women to tech. You don’t have to be super smart to build a successful startup, drive outmatches a formal IQ by far. Most of the 1000+ billionaires in our world are quite smart, but most of them are just as smart as every other college graduate. What made them successful was their drive and their ability to think differently than everyone else.
If you feel your eyes opened now, definitely check out Women 2.0. They have established themselves as THE platform for women who are interested in entrepreneurship and want to find out more.