#FemaleTechFounder Night and Assenty Launch: Fantastic!

“An evening of laughter and heartfelt advice”
is how one could sum up last night’s launch at Federation House, Manchester.

Thank you so much to our sponsor ThoughtWorks for the venue, and the amazing food and refreshments.

Doubling as the inaugural #FemaleTechFounder event, it was very well attended – 55 signed up, all told and at least 40 showed up, we needed more chairs in the room at more than one point!

By all accounts, this idea of a regular event that allows women developing products in tech to meet and encourage each other struck a chord: we only had one ticket cancellation and many expressed disappointment publicly at not being able to make it.

I hope we can all fit in the room for future events!

On to the lightning talks.

As the event was to celebrate the launch of Assenty, founder and CEO, Chi-chi Ekweozor (@thisischichi), kicked off with a brief history of the social media-powered audience interaction and live polling platform. In a nutshell, after three years of constant iteration based on user feedback, the service is now enjoying a period of user growth.

After Chi-chi came, Kayla Herbert (@kayla__herbert), founder, Branswer who shared why she started the smart content writing platform for businesses and charities. She also talked about the importance of understanding the difference between resilience and reaction. This is something she had to resolve recently after a piranha pitch experience at an investor event!

Chloe Barrett (@DigidentistryCB), founder, Digidentistry shared about her entrepreneurial journey, from wanting to become an Olympic dressage athlete at the age of four to founding and exiting a dental education company two years ago. She shared what it was like to be working on her second tech startup, Digidentistry, an augmented reality (AR) dental learning platform!

Sophie Walker (@Sophie_COO), COO and co-founder, Dsposal.uk shared about how a 8700 mile trip from San Francisco to Toronto a few years ago inspired the idea behind Dsposal, a hub that connects waste producers with waste companies. With a strong focus on passive compliance, the platform helps companies undertake the Duty of Care regarding who handles their waste.

Each speaker spoke candidly about their journey so far in starting a company in the tech sector, with passion and much emphasis on advising those listening on how to learn from their mistakes and do better.

The tweets that follow convey this much better than I can!

Interest was high even before the event, we had six speakers available to fill just 4 slots, and a number of leading lights on the tech scene in Manchester offered their support in moderating the Q&A panel on the night.

As a consequence, nearly two weeks before the first, we knew there would be a second event in March.

Save the date!

We are back at Federation House at 6pm on Thursday 7 March for #FemaleTechFounder Night #2, right on the heels of International Women’s Day (8 March).

More details to come about this exciting event. Suffice to say that there will be a strong focus on the role of mentors, judging from the number of mentions of this from different speakers.

Back to last night.

Was there a negative to such a positive event?

Yes. There were at least two.

The first downside was that there were only two men in attendance! Perhaps the tone of the copy on the registration page – “calling all women in tech” etc implied that men were not welcome!

Whatever it was, that is completely not the case!

Please please please let’s fix this for the next event!

Secondly, we ran out of time, during the Q&A, of all places!

We had an excellent host in Lisa Murgatroyd (@lisamurgatroyd), Regional Manager, One Million Mentors, the audience were really keen for it to continue, the speakers were answering frankly and thoughtfully, it really was heartbreaking but we had to stop so that the offices could be shut for the night!

Yes, it is something we must look at for the next event.

Thankfully, people agreed to post questions we could not take from the floor on the question board.

If you were there, please post away, and as promised, we’ll be taking answers from the speakers via Twitter, and annotating the board with those so that they are archived for the future. Anonymous questions welcome!

Thanks so much Kombo for this!

Thank you again to our fantastic speakers. Each one came prepared with a thoughtfully prepared slide deck – it really was amazing how much care had gone into the presentations – and they were full of insights, great visuals, and jokes! There was much laughter…

Which leads me to this: we’d love more people to get involved with #FemaleTechFounder nights!

We’ll start taking registrations for the March event next week but as for this first one, we need speakers to come forward! Keep an eye out for a speaker sign up form next week.

Finally, we’d really welcome your input in shaping the next events. Even if you weren’t there, please take a minute to take part in this quick poll!

Here come those tweets!