The Women Entrepreneurs Festival

Today is the Women Entrepreneurs Festival at NYU. Many of you know that the Gotham Gal is the co-founder of this event with Nancy Hechinger who is on the faculty at NYU ITP.

The live stream of the festival is here

This is the third year this event has been put on and I attended the first two and I will be there today.

This event celebrates and educates women entrepreneurs. The conventional wisdom has it that there aren't many women entrepreneurs but the truth is they are all over the place.

The Gotham Gal has been writing a post every Monday featuring a women entrepreneur for a few years now and she never runs out of women to feature.

Having observed the Gotham Gal build this festival, blog about women entrepreneurs, and invest in them over the past few years I have come to believe that we will see a lot more women starting companies in the coming years. And I think we will also see more women starting tech companies, getting venture funded, and having movies made about them when they are hugely successful. Its about time.


Comments (Archived):

  1. kidmercury

    thumbs down. increasingly i look down upon all these minority professional groups — women, gays, whatever race you are, etc. i’m a racial minority (indian) and i scoff at south asian professional groups too. cultural groups i understand, support, and enjoy, but these professional groups are just a form of overt workplace discrimination. i can’t think of anything more unprofessional.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Agreed.People are people, and such organisations/events only serve to reinforce any negative perceptions/bigotry some may still have.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Disagree. Some groups need to self-organize or seek help to be better represented in society or business. I don’t think this furthers negative perceptions. Doing nothing would be to ignore that all people are not treated equal, even if there’s a piece of paper somewhere saying they should be.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Is this not the same group of people who are not encouraged or supported into whatever field? Why can’t they get the support at the same time too?

        2. Carl Rahn Griffith

          It’s not about bits of paper/legislation – it’s about people. I and most people I know don’t give a damn about colour/creed/religion/gender/sexuality/stereotypes – and this is in simple old Yorkshire, England. I suspect many societies have become so androgynous/metrosexual and asexual they need to remind themselves of who they are via such gatherings – the farmers and their wives around here for example don’t need to remind one another of their genders and roles as there are no roles/stereotyping – everyone mucks in together – same applies at our local garage, IT business, media agency, pub, restaurant, buses, taxis, etc…

        3. Vince Lane


        4. CJ

          I regret that I have but one upvote to give to this comment, therefore I’ve given you a reply as well.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Thank you.

      2. awaldstein

        Don’t agree on this one Carl.People gravitate towards community and honestly, I think verticalizing community is a good thing.People group and regroup constantly. How is this negative?

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          If people need reassurance from such forums, fine. I just find the need very odd. I subscribe to Groucho Marx’s stance re: clubs of any sort.

          1. awaldstein

            I get your point. I don’t search out segmented clubs for myself and although Lianna doesn’t feel the need for this type of group I see the amazing comradery and power of women entrepreneurs in the food business at a neighborhood level helping each other.There is a difference between something being specific and inclusive and I think that’s where this works.

        2. Matt A. Myers

          Why not a community of encouragement and support, in the holistic? The “us vs. them” mentality, though allows for a “team building” mentality, isn’t healthy overall – it creates separation.

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            As per my other post, below, re: not seeing this problem in my own (or other) simple rural location/s, but having lived/worked in many cities around the world, I see this as more of an urban/city issue/need. The loneliness and isolation (ironically) that many city environments foster probably means that such gatherings are more likely.Without the noise and confusion (and, all too often, the bullshit) of city-living, people just get on with life – there’s much less self-indulgence and self-pity. People don’t over-analyse and intellectualise such matters – they just get on with it and the social dynamics evolve accordingly.

        3. LE

          Not that I totally agree with Carl but I definitely see his point re: reinforce any negative perceptions/bigotry”. (In this case I think the group and the effort is the right thing to do.)By acting as if you have a problem you encourage entire new generations to view you as having a problem. You are educating them. Once again not specific to this issue.Let’s take as a non emotional example the car Audi. I was raised in the era of Audi being lambasted on “60 minutes” as being inferior because of the braking issue. So I have had a bias all these years against Audi and have no interest in buying one. They are stereotyped in my head. Can’t get it out.But I noticed that younger people, people who have no exposure to Audi of the past (in the 70’s), certainly don’t feel that way. They are a clean slate. They like them.Now let’s take Thunderbird wine (or Gallo). No way I would buy that, right? But I guarantee you you could probably come out today and get college kids to buy Thunderbird or Gallo if the meme all along of it being inferior didn’t persist every year. And think of it as an upscale product if it was package correctly. (That said I don’t follow wine culture enough to know if that perception exists in that age group.)So my point is simple and why I agree somewhat with what Carl is saying. Buy constantly pointing out how you are different you encourage people to think of you as different and the myth persists.That said of course I’m not saying that there aren’t benefits to doing these groups. Just making a comment that I understand psychologically what happens and the chance you take of doing this. Benefits have to outweigh the drawbacks that’s all.Jews (of which I am one) had a reputation in the past of, well, being “jews”. I don’t think it’s helpful to go around talking about that reputation because if it’s not talked about it will disappear on it’s own in a generation.

          1. PhilipSugar

            Look up PBR Pabst Blue Ribbon. Great example.

          2. LE

            True. Now to put more granularity into this discussion I wonder to what extent someone knowing the past in certain groups can actually enhance the value of the product being pushed? Understanding of course that so many images can be created or destroyed with good marketing or branding or by associating with the correct influentials or groups. It’s all a mind game. Sometimes in fact the more sucky works to your advantage. It’s the contrast principle.By the way there is a great video on PBS relating to hipsters.This is really good:…Similar but not related Timberland had a problem with the brand being adopted into ghetto culture iirc that killed it in other groups. Of course it also became to main stream at the same time and not special.In autos I think that is happening with BMW and Mercedes which are becoming really ubiquitous. (Remember when that happened with certain “stereo” equipment back in the day? )

          3. JLM

            .”Look it up”. Hell, drink it up..

          4. ShanaC

            that’s mostly disappeared for me as “jewish” we’re white now

      3. leigh

        i just don’t get it. There are so few women tech entrepreneurs that a festival like this is giving visibility, encouragement and support so that more women will think, no actually there ARE tonnes of women getting funded. Isn’t that a good thing??/ And I doubt this groups gives a rats ass (and someone can correct me if i’m wrong) if this reinforces negative perceptions of idiots who already have bigotry of some sort.I think it’s awesome. It’s had to get funded no matter what. When you are two women, it makes it THAT much harder. I had a startup with my CTO who was both Pakistani AND a woman. We made an impossible task that much more stupid.My new company (services in digital vs. tech startup) is founded by myself and a male business partner. He would tell you (bc he sees it all the time) that it’s a fact it’s crucial from a gender basis he is my partner. We wouldn’t get the same degree of financial trust without his Ivy League demeanour and business suit. It ends up being a great combo but to suggest that gender doesn’t play a role just frankly hasn’t been my personal experience.I wait for the day that people are just people. You clearly have more faith in the human race then i do.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Sounds like UK/Europe is way ahead of the USA in this respect. Still, we have never had the WASP/male issue as bad over here, I guess. Margaret Thatcher alone transformed any such antiquated perceptions re: men/women.

          1. CJ

            The US is a country built on discrimination, that’s always helpful to remember when viewing us from the outside…hell, inside too.

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Ouch.Thinking some more on this I believe we’d all be better served at addressing what continues to go on within India re: the treatment of women – if we want a gender-related issue to rally around that’s rather more important, I’d tender…

    2. Aaron Klein

      There is something powerful about encouraging people to do something they haven’t been encouraged to do in the past. And at the same time, real progress will be when female entrepreneurship is so commonplace that this event can be abolished.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        For everyone who’s never been encouraged or supported.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith


      2. PhilipSugar

        Exactly. That is a good way to put it. There is nothing wrong to encourage people to do something. Especially if there aren’t many doing it. I used the term celebrate, but encourage is a better word.

        1. Aaron Klein

          And often, things happen that make the need for active encouragement pass.A good example, regardless of your politics: I don’t think we have to convince young African-American boys that they could grow up to be President of the United States.They BELIEVE it now.

      3. kidmercury

        what if there was white male festival? what would the response be to that?i would find that distasteful. i find this just as distasteful, because to me it is the same exact thing.

        1. Aaron Klein

          It would be sort of silly. Because there isn’t a real need to encourage white males to engage in entrepreneurship at this point.I understand your instinct. But we’re not talking about government subsidies, quotas, set-asides or special privileges. We’re just talking about a festival to encourage and inspire women to get themselves involved in entrepreneurship.I can’t be against that. 🙂

        2. leigh

          such a silly old argument. what would that festival encourage them to do? remain in the majority of funded companies and in sr. positions at most major corporations?but i get it. would it be the world wouldn’t need such things. that inherent bias didn’t play such an statistically obvious role. And that isn’t negating all the wonderful exceptions to the again, statistically clear rule.

          1. kidmercury

            i’m not sure what obvious statistics you are referring to, and so i don’t see the silliness of my comment. all these festivals do is foster a culture of victimization while implicitly endorsing reactionary discrimination. as a person who truly believes in equality and liberty, i find this type of discrimination offensive and see it as no different than the discrimination imposed by some white males that is so universally despised.

          2. CJ

            Well said @leigh:disqus .

    3. Siepert

      And we’re off: Men explaining what is good for women and what is not. Bonus level: “I’m part of (totally different group) and I don’t complain”. Please don’t do that. It’s predictable and it plagues any discussion on the topic. Women entrepreneurs account for only 4% of business revenues in the US. There’s a gaping imbalance. It’s being addressed at events like these. And that’s important.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        The problem here with your argument is that you defined him as a man, and thus allows you to create the dichotomy and then create an “us vs. them” mentally and argument. There wasn’t any mention of there not being imbalances that exist, there was no mention of it not needing to addressed. It’s not an easy problem to solve either to not create more separation. One problem I do see over and over again is the “us vs. them” argument that gets created – and very strongly, in a negative way, by the smaller minority group that feels so negatively impacted. There’s a base misunderstanding though that everything current is the cause of how things in history have lead to how they currently are – which of course isn’t true. Systems take time to change though and you have to support / foster learning and systems at their base for change to occur. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to bring everyone into equality – though I think it should always be including everyone to be better, to do more — women, gays, whatever race, and men too included that; How many men in business are actually aggressive vs. more emotive? I’m guessing the more aggressive ones are more prominent.

        1. Siepert

          Very thoughtful reply, thanks for that. Being male myself while at the same time creating the “us vs. them” argument may make a difference, or it may not. But I will take your position into account when discussing this further: I was oversimplifying things.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Welcome. Not going to get much else done today except writing. Generalizations are tough. In reality we need to use them, or rather it’s easiest to use them – or at least it’s very difficult not to. The problem is when words are used with negative intent or in a derogatory way. Most people aren’t taught language very well, even their native language. This relates to emotion and emotional intelligence — and thus the capacity for one to be compassionate; We don’t teach or support the learning of compassion on a real level either – mainly we teach acceptance, much more different than compassion and understanding.

      2. LE

        “Men explaining what is good for women and what is not. Bonus level: “I’m part of (totally different group) and I don’t complain”.”Not seeing how kid mercury was doing that. Please explain relative to his comment.

        1. Siepert

          He discounted an event by and targeted at women as “unprofessional” and “overt discrimination”. I think that qualifies as explaining what women should or shouldn’t do. Furthermore his being Indian and not seeing the need for South Asian groups served as an argument against other, unrelated groups. Also, using “minority” for women is just plain offensive. There’s 5 million more women than men in the US. Hope I could help.

          1. LE

            “Also, using “minority” for women is just plain offensive.”A few things. First I personally don’t find it offensive or pejorative to refer to a group as a minority. I agree though that words can provoke emotions when used certain ways and that is what this has done here. So I’m sure others feel the same way. One that I hate is “mom and pop” when referring to certain types of small businesses. Normally used by corporate types, writers, or politicians, who, if they lost their job, wouldn’t know how to make a buck out of their area of expertise.Second, women, while they aren’t a minority with respect to population they are a minority with respect to participation in entrepreneurship. Which is the point of the group.So, as Clinton would say, It all depends on what the definition of “it” is.

          2. Brandon Marker

            LE makes the right point, IMHO. Thus, a woman-owned business is registered as a “minority-owned business” with the SBA, and perhaps, gains funding over a non-minority-owned business. We need to know who the minority is to ensure they are not overcome by the majority.I have a couple of strong women in my family that both have a ‘minority-owned business’ and they are proud of that title.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            He called them professional groups; “minority professional groups”I believe “minority” is used because that is how they are generally and actually referred to – dichotomies get created when you have a majority and minorities – they don’t exist when you find a holistic aspect that everyone is part of; Encouragement and support is a good holistic outlook.You mentioned in another comment women entrepreneurs account for only 4% of business revenues in the US – by definition that is a minority. It’s a neutral word, and not always used or meant in a derogatory way – even though some use it in such a sense always. Using the same logic of how there are more women in the US, then you could say that men are disadvantaged due to being the minority (by definition).

      3. kidmercury

        i don’t see it as an imbalance. 0% of the people in my household are not south asian. is that a raging problem that needs to be solved? also, i’m not commenting on what’s good for anyone, i’m only calling sexist, discriminatory behavior for what it is. if anyone wants to support it that is for them to decide and live with.

    4. PhilipSugar

      I agree with part of your statement but I don’t think it applies here.When you have groups within a corporation/university: a workplace I agree. When Dupont has a women’s group and a minority group where the goal is get people promoted (they do) it is overt discrimination. Btw, that has caused quite a few white men to leave and start their own companies. Three I know built a 100 person engineering firm, just for that reason. (they charge Dupont double their normal rate)But in this case you are just celebrating women entrepreneurs. That is great. No different than celebrating entrepreneurs in Delaware, or Indian entrepreneurs etc.It doesn’t hurt anybody, it doesn’t try to get around anybody, its not a zero sum game. It just celebrates it. I’m fine with that. I know I can’t have a white man’s festival and that’s a bit hypocritical, but I’m ok with that, there are plenty of events where I would say that is the majority, and therefore we don’t need one.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        “… I know I can’t have a white man’s festival and that’s a bit hypocritical, …”Well, you could – and maybe we should – if in reality only to bring out hypocrites (potentially could label them haters) who don’t understand that it’s everyone that’s important to bring forward, and “men” (all of them, nor even necessarily the majority) that exist today aren’t responsible for any inequality that may exist.I think there is a problem when everyone isn’t mentioned or acknowledged to some degree when shows or signs of encourage or support are given. Every opportunity is a marketing opportunity, is an opportunity to feel included or important or remembered, valuable. Every opportunity you pick one person or group means that everyone else not included can’t be included in that moment. The actual importance here is to not breed indifference and/or hate, by always making it important to remember the whole, everyone.

        1. CJ

          I bet a men in nursing festival wouldn’t be out of place though. Yep. Think about it.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            I still have a strong stigma relating to nurses naturally being female – though I know there’s a growing number of men in the field. Much like in engineering, women are lesser in numbers. I think the mind naturally wants to lean towards a conclusive answer, when you’re young especially, and then as you age you realize the world isn’t so black and white — it’s a lot of unlearning that most of us need to do.

        1. PhilipSugar

          I’m not invited to that one either 🙂

          1. Anne Libby

            Maybe next year?

      2. kidmercury

        you beat me to the punch with your last paragraph — that you cannot have a white man’s festival is what tells me this is a sexist event. what would the public reaction be to a white man’s event? i find it racist/sexist/etc to have these standards.i suppose it also stems from a viewpoint that i don’t think the workplace is where people’s backgrounds should be celebrated — that is for cultural events. what difference does it make if a person is a man or woman or white or black or whatever when it comes to entrepreneurship?

        1. CJ

          It makes a difference when this country has a history of discriminating against people who aren’t white and male. There is a culture that would continue that grand old tradition and there has to be checks and balances that prevent that until we, as a society, mature beyond needing them.I’m in no way saying that merit shouldn’t be the number 1 deciding factor in any business endeavor, but even saying that, we all know that it’s not. This is a world of who you know, not what you know. And when the power has been concentrated in the hands of those who look a certain way for so long, it tends to get passed on to others who look that very same way.There is nothing wrong with recognizing that fact and striving to change it. There is nothing wrong with celebrating or promoting those who are in the minority, especially when traditional methods hardly acknowledge that they exist at all. And no, this isn’t a call for “you’re a woman who is smart, have a cookie” patronizing BS, it’s about lifting up those who feel that they wouldn’t get a fair shake without having a little extra light cast down upon them.You can dispute that all you want, but data shows this all to be true. There are a huge amount of old white men who would hire nothing but young white men unless specifically impressed upon to consider their decision. It doesn’t make them unnaturally biased, afterall, we all tend to gravitate to those who are most like ourselves, but it does make the situation biased, and this is a step towards addressing that.Further though, and this is the irony, that same thing can’t be said about other races or demographics. Old black guys aren’t more keen to hire young black guys, they’re more keen to hire young white guys. We can argue the reasons behind that in another thread but it’s just one more reason that things like this that celebrate the minority are important.

    5. Anne Libby

      Workplace discrimination, really? I call it trying to figure things out.Ever:. been told you’re attractive in a job interview (i-bank/brokerage);. been called into a meeting with a well-meaning, sheepish senior exec who — after beating around the bush for a while — manages to spit out that “people” think you’re sleeping with your boss (money center bank);. had rumors that you’re sleeping with someone on your team;. complained about finding porn in the seatback pocket of a black car, to be told that this never happens…a rider must have left it there…and to have a male colleague who confides that this car service considers porn to be a feature, not a bug?…and I could go on. Sorry, but it’s different for girls.

      1. ShanaC

        ewww, and i’m glad things are changing

        1. Anne Libby

          I won’t go into what I experienced, and saw, right after college in a lab in a major research institution. The end result, for me, my choice to self-deport from a career in science.

          1. leigh

            blogged about this a long time ago — think this post speaks as much to science as it does tech. http://leighhimel.blogspot….

          2. Anne Libby


      2. kidmercury

        no, it’s not different. i can sit here and cry all day with sob stories about being indian. what about fat people? or short men? if someone discriminates against women in a workplace, i don’t think that justifies having a discriminatory event in response.

        1. Anne Libby

          I agree: sob stories are useless. The only thing that’s useful is examining reality, and figuring out how to respond to it.

    6. CJ

      So just deal with it? Realize that there is a certain mindset that won’t die for generations and just wait it out?

  2. Aaron Klein

    Memo to self: start planning my daughter’s Voomly business debut. (Current expertise: pretending she’s 16 at the age of 3.)

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Is she trying to impress boys already?

      1. Aaron Klein

        Thankfully, boys are still kind of icky. They don’t wear pink.This is Emma with my dad yesterday.

        1. takingpitches

          Haha – so cute!

          1. Aaron Klein

            Her mom and I think so, but we’re a little biased. 😉

        2. William Mougayar

          Pretty in pink! You so look like your dad.

          1. Aaron Klein


          2. William Mougayar

            correction…dark pink.

        3. Matt A. Myers

          Very cute.P.S. Some boys wear pink – though they may not reciprocate flirting.

          1. Aaron Klein


          2. jason wright

            in the victorian era pink was boys and blue was girls. it flipped, for reasons i’ve never discovered. i’m sure google could tell me, but i’d rather read it here. any takers?:-)

        4. fredwilson

          awesome picture

          1. Aaron Klein

            When I ask her what her favorite color is, she says “dark pink NOT pink, violet and blue.”She can’t get it down to one favorite no matter how hard we try.

        5. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Cute alert!

          1. Aaron Klein


        6. ShanaC


    2. andyswan

      I’m a buyer.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Do you get a discount?

        1. Aaron Klein

          I’ve met Andy’s daughter. He’s already got a head start on this knowledge, that’s for sure…

      2. fredwilson

        before she even sets the subscription price?

        1. Aaron Klein

          <racing to=”” make=”” the=”” $999=”” month=”” page=””> 😉

        2. Aaron Klein

          Let’s try that again.[racing to make the $999/month page] 😉

  3. jason wright

    who do they view as a role model?

  4. sprugman

    What? Jan 22-23!? Thanks for the heads up, but doing it before the event started might have been helpful.

    1. fredwilson


  5. jem

    Thanks for highlighting this! I’m a huge fan of Gotham Gal’s weekly Women Entrepreneur column – it’s always great to see what other women tech entrepreneurs are doing and to get inspired myself. Was going to try to run down to NYU but apparently all sold out 🙁 Nice that there’s a livestream though.

  6. SallyBroom

    Hell yes. ANY event that brings passionate people together to support and empower one another’s entrepreneurial visions is great news, whatever the theme.But you made me think… I cannot recall one film about a successful female entrepreneur in tech/engineering (or any science, for that matter…)Can anyone can help me out on this?

    1. jem

      Just saw the “Something Ventured” documentary on Netflix. They briefly highlight Sandy Lerner, the female co-founder of Cisco. Let’s just say it’s not the most flattering view…..we’ve got a long way to go….

      1. SallyBroom

        Thanks for the heads up @disqus_SkFneXjtpX:disqus I’ll put this on my film list for sure. And even if a profile isn’t 100% flattering (and it’s probably never going to be if it’s real, gritty business) I guess it’s just about seeing as much variety among protagonists as possible, to avoid a homogenous view of commercial success.So here’s a thought: maybe fictional films have to come first, to inspire the next generation of truly heterogeneous entrepreneurs, about whom films are then made… and so one.Anyone wanna go in on a Kickstarter project with me on this to get this ball rolling?!

      2. ShanaC

        *sigh* they say women can’t be as boss like in the traditional ways because it backfires. So does being too nice. *sigh*

  7. Matt A. Myers

    “The Gotham Gal has been writing a post every Monday featuring a women entrepreneur for a few years now and she never runs out of women to feature.”Is this genuinely a belief held by anyone that there wouldn’t be enough of any group of people to celebrate on a daily basis?

  8. John Revay

    Fred Wilson ” I will be there today”#EyeCandy:)

  9. William Mougayar

    Great line-up and I’ve watched them evolve since the first Festival 2 years ago.I’ll be following via the Twitter hashtag #WEFestival…Already like this quote:”You can build a very successful business with a very simple business plan.” @AmandaSteinberg @DailyWorth #WEFestival

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Amanda and that whole panel were outstanding.

  10. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Anyway, I am waiting on @shanacarp’s thoughts… 🙂

    1. ShanaC

      I didn’t go. I’m working on my own thing/have a couple of personal stresses

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Take it easy. Ping me if I can be of any help.

  11. LE

    “Gotham Gal is the co-founder of this event with Nancy Hechinger”http://www.washingtontimes….Cool. If you grew up on the East Coast you know Hechinger.

  12. jason wright


  13. Richard

    Hey Fred; Get out there and plug your blog. AVC could use a few more women. Conference panel “Traction” panel is doing a good job.

    1. fredwilson

      i was hanging with some of the women in this community today at the festival. i agree that we need more women here

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Represent! It was great to meet you in person today. I didn’t know you’d be there – it was a nice surprise. Is it weird meeting people who feel like they already know you?

      2. ShanaC

        it has gotten way more women friendly. They’ll come out of the woodwork when they are ready

        1. fredwilson

          you were one of the trailblazers who made it so

  14. LaVonne Reimer

    First, I really wish I were in NYC today. Not just because I’m a girl but some day I hope to meet Gotham Gal. Second, I second everything Aaron Klein says below. Every word of it. I can’t remember the last time I thought a guy said what I’d want to say about this subject so well. Thanks Aaron!Lastly, I have a different perspective on events such as this than I did when I was launching my first startup. We were a presenter at the very first Springboard venture capital conference. Oracle hosted it. One anecdote–Larry Ellison was the afternoon keynote. He started it by stating that some of his best friends were women! Anyway, I had a contrarian attitude. Reporters were asking us if it wasn’t perfectly lovely to be pitching in the company of women to an audience that had so many women. I recall saying something like I was just there to raise some damn money and I didn’t much care about gender.Today I’m much more appreciative about any programs that encourage entrepreneurs to try and do better including those that cater to unique challenges some of us face. Who’s to know what event and what context might be exactly what was needed to give another budding entrepreneur the courage to just try?

  15. TamiMForman

    Fred — I think part of the reason we don’t recognize women entrepreneurs is because they (sometimes) don’t look like men entrepreneurs. When I was at iVillage I remember talking to an MBA candidate who couldn’t understand why the women in our “Mompreneur” section didn’t do a bunch of things that he with his almost-MBA thought would be smart from a business perspective. I patiently explained to him that these women had a completely different set of priorities. For them the business was a means to an end, not the end itself. His 20something mind was blown. I know this isn’t always the case and I love some of the women Joanne showcases because many of them do look like “regular” entrepreneurs. But I think it’s part of why women don’t get the same recognition in the startup world.

    1. ShanaC

      You mean more lifestyle business? Or some factor?

      1. TamiMForman

        So there are women that start businesses to give themselves freedom to set their own work rules. That might mean working from home, being able to stop at 3 to pick the kids up from the bus stop, being able to take off every school vacation. By definition that means they aren’t interested in necessarily maximizing the business — they want to have a successful business that also allows for these other priorities. That’s different from the macho image of the start-up entrepreneur. And again, I want to be careful here. I don’t mean to suggest that all women start businesses for pin money so they can be available for the school run and that all men are starting the next IBM. (In fact, I think we are starting to see more men start businesses also for flexibility. I think that is the real story behind the stay-at-home dad trend.) My point is that if that kind of entrepreneurship doesn’t “count” then it looks like women are less entrepreneurial than they actually are. Because I would argue that starting a business to free yourself from corporate drudgery and to allow yourself the freedom and flexibility to build the kind of like you want is the textbook definition of entrepreneurial.

  16. jason wright

    i wonder how Chanel managed it?

  17. Brandon Marker

    Awesome. I grew-up within my Grandmother’s company that was started in a completely male-dominated market. She is killing it at this point. I also watched my mom start her own company with my dad. Cheers to the woman entrepreneurs; they’ve taught me just as much as the men.

  18. JLM

    .I hope to come back in my next life as a woman. Beautiful, smart and cunning if I could put my thumb on the scale.I would be a bit flirtatious trending to just short of scandalous and maybe, just maybe I am not fully committed here yet, even a bit promiscuous but only where I could use it to great personal advantage.I am at a complete loss to understand why people do not see the great advantage available to harnessing all the wrongs, ills and slights visited upon women — deserved or not, real or perceived — and using this as fuel to fire up their engines.Years ago I used to hire the top Univ of TX finance grads — women only — because they could not get even a glance from the big financial institutions. I was able to attract enormous talent.I used to toy with them by asking how much money they thought they should make and then asking them how much money the “guys” were making. I would pay them the “guy” money.I don’t think I ever lost one of these women and they were transformed into very well qualified and top performing professionals. Not a single exception.I am smiling to myself now thinking what great workers these young ladies were.Nobody should take offense that women are now beginning to organize their efforts and stick up for themselves in the marketplace.Women, if they are inclined, should network amongst themselves and create their own “girls club” — just like every distinction that networking provides to everyone.As to the women, forget about what has happened in the past — own the future.And, I apologize in advance for this — smell good..

    1. fredwilson

      “own the future”that may come to pass

    2. Anne Libby

      Well played!

    3. ShanaC

      I think you should just come back as yourself.

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      The first part of your comment was practically a poem! Very nice 🙂

    5. leigh

      omg i shouldn’t have said anything on this post and just waited for your response. Well played! Quote below is going on my snakable AVC tumblr :)”Nobody should take offense that women are now beginning to organize their efforts and stick up for themselves in the marketplace.Women, if they are inclined, should network amongst themselves and create their own “girls club” — just like every distinction that networking provides to everyone.”

  19. FlavioGomes

    The Gotham Gal seems like one cool chic! Occasionally head over to her blog for inspiration on a dinner theme or idea. Often get sucked in for a couple hours. Like the Women Entrepreneur highlights. Know a few ambitious ones my self. They are a force to be reckoned with…and I enjoy their angle on business building. Learn from them often in fact.

  20. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Today’s event was so energizing. I’ll be working off the buzz for days.It is important for women to know that other women are facing the same new challenges and adventures. It’s not so different from, say, the 50’s and 60’s when pop artists were working independently and then started to find each other. The finding of each other benefited everyone and raised the level of output.If women tech founders were commonplace, we wouldn’t need a WE3 Festival (maybe). It’s about supporting people with something in common who are breaking new ground for themselves.Gotham Gal gave a great opening talk today. She has a gift for getting to the heart of things. She’s such a force for good!

    1. ShanaC

      Ah. Maybe next year for me

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I was hoping to see you there!

  21. Testing from Disqus

    testing please excuse

  22. Endorphin

    The WE Festival celebrates and supports one of the critical differences in the way women do entrepreneurship–as engaged mothers and mothers- to- be. It’s truly a third dimension that can add great depth and success to a business venture if cultivated rather than tolerated.

  23. Lally Rementilla

    Thanks for getting it, Fred! To add to your list, I do hope that we will also see more female investors (in all stages of funding).

  24. Carl Rahn Griffith

    It’s about men being assholes, as is so often the case – and (the wrong sort of) men being ignorant pigs to other men who are less combative, as much as they are to women.The problem isn’t us – ie, women and us more sensitive chaps – the problem is the WASP male types (see my reply to Leigh elsewhere in thread) who wield and abuse power.My wife is pretty much the most impressive person – note, ‘person’, not ‘woman’ – I have ever known and been through so much WASP/male crap over the years she could write a book on it, if she had the time…