Founder Friday has been the signature event of Women 2.0 since its foundation in 2006. Shaherose Charania, Angie Chang, Sepideh Nasiri and Patricia Araque have brought the events, which connect women in the tech industry to men, women, investors and colleagues, in their local startup communities.
Cofounder and CEO Shaherose is a Vancouver native, so Canada’s very first Founder Friday was extremely well-received on September 21. The event was held at the Mozilla offices, the catering was done by nearby Nuba, and the crowd was diverse.
The gender balance was unsurprisingly skewed: out of the 60 or so attendees, fewer than seven were men. Attendees came from many walks of life. PR professionals mingled with experienced software developers, and angel investors connected to those whose first start-up was still months down the pipeline.
There were three speakers in all, and to their credit they didn’t pontificate. The first, Shaherose herself, introduced herself and Women 2.0 ably and enthusiastically to Vancouver.
“The reality is, the Internet is feminine. It’s interactive, it allows you to build connectivity and collaborate—aren’t those things that women are naturally good at? . . . We didn’t see the bigger picture until now. 62% of activity messages on Facebook are made by women. 52% of total users on Facebook are women.. This is the way the world is. This is the way the businesses that are started by men work. So there’s a huge economic loss here—why are we not building the next generation of companies when the Internet is built for the feminine side of us?”
The attendees who were lucky enough to be there—early in the evening, would-be guests were turned away at the door due to the growing crowd—were treated not only to a great organization’s Canadian debut, but also the story of Strutta’s Maura Rogers and a very warm welcome from Mozilla’s David Ascher, whose personal ties to Mitchell Baker leant him a unique perspective on women’s legacy in tech.
The crowd devoured Maura’s story of falling simultaneously into love, Vancouver, and entrepreneurship. The essential moral of her story came down to this: “There’s always going to be something in the way of joining a startup or starting your own business. Don’t think. Just do. We’re all afraid—how am I going to get started? There wasn’t really some inspiring answer other than just to do it and come to events like this, meet other people, and take the lead.”
When the speeches ended, that’s exactly what the attendees did. Business cards started flying again, and attendees enjoyed the open bar for a few minutes more before going on their way.
At the end of the day, no one could describe Women 2.0—and what they’ll bring to Vancouver—better than the CEO herself. “Our mission is to inspire connectivity between women through unique content online, community, and conferences. Entrepreneurship requires community to thrive. The conferences are here to be a platform. We’re here for you guys.”
The next event has been announced for November 16. It’s safe to say that, on that night, tech-minded Vancouverites will be there for them too.