By Audrey Tan (Founder, Waggit)
I volunteered at the Women 2.0 PITCH NYC conference this week and I’m really glad I did. The conference was a mix of keynote speakers, panelists, pitches and of course – networking. A sharp contrast to most tech events with guys in t-shirts, pizza and beer, the conference was mostly women and the food was actually really good. Loved those coconut desserts at lunch. Mmmmm.
It was interesting to meet women in various stages in their careers. I met a girl who does web analytics at a large education publishing company, but wanted to learn about new companies and make connections that could maybe lead her to her next job. I met another woman who built an photo sharing app and has masters degrees from Northwestern Kellog and Harvard. So many impressive women from different backgrounds showed up to the conference and I’m really glad I met them.
My favorite pitch – The Muse
I was surprised to see Kathryn Minshew from The Daily Muse pitch at the conference. Their traction and admittance to Y Combinator already makes them an impressive startup. But after hearing Kathryn pitch and answer questions, I’m glad they were there.
Kathryn was poised, succinct and didn’t flinch when asked really tough questions about her biggest competitors like Monster.com. She showed the judges that she’s thought about every hurdle and how the team plans to overcome them.
After being a professional for almost a decade, I’ve realized that presentation skills are insanely important and it’s time well spent to practice-practice-practice. Get out your iPhone, record yourself and be obsessive about time. Be highly critical. It’s feels awkward to talk to a wall or look at yourself gabbing in the mirror, but it’s worth the effort.
My favorite product – ActivityHero
I saw ActivityHero’s pitch at the 500 Startups demo day. I really like their product for a number of reasons.
- Products that save Mom’s time and money have great potential for organic growth. There may be a lot of men in board rooms, but there’s even more women sitting around kitchen tables, sharing notes on the best karate class or music summer camp. Mom blogs are huge.
- It supports small business. I liked how they talked about one of their customers, a karate instructor, who got more students after joining ActivityHero. It’s real people, following their passions and doing small business. That’s personal and inspring.
My favorite new tool – Financial Model Garage
Taylor Davidson, a Senior associate at kbs+ Ventures sat at my lunch table to help us ladies learn about fundraising.
When I followed up with Taylor’s bio, I discovered that besides being a VC, photographer and former CFO, he also created Financial Model Garage. When I saw the site, I immediately knew it had value because I was looking for this precise template months ago when doing my own financial projections.
Advice – don’t start your modeling from a blank spreadsheet. If you can’t get your startup friends to share their documents with you, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with financial documents, something like this is worth buying.
Organizing an event, especially in New York, is no easy task. I know, because I’ve organized events. It’s freaking hard. So I tip my hat to the organizers for hustling their butts to corale so many impressive and diverse people into the Manhattan Center. I learned a lot and really hope the startups that pitch can keep up the momentum and keep inspiring women in tech.
Thanks for reading!
Women 2.0 readers: What did you get out of PITCH NYC? Let us know in the comments.
About the guest blogger: Audrey Tan is founder of Waggit, an online community to exchange dog sitting favors and schedule play dates with folks in their local neighborhoods. With a background in IT consulting and an obsession with dogs, she works on Waggit full-time out of her home in Long Island City. She has won Startup Weekend New York and writes for Skillcrush. Originally from Chicago, she loves a good Italian Beef sandwich and her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Follow her on Twitter at @audreyhtan.