Women@Austin’s public debut was February 13 at the Capital Factory. The energy in the room was amazing! It was our first in a series of quarterly events called 2014: Be Bold, with a focus on forming a trusted network among women entrepreneurs in Austin.
We learned a lot with this first session. Sold out in 5 days with 50 on the waiting list, it confirmed our intuition that women want more opportunities in Austin to learn from the experiences of others. We want to talk with other women. We need to cross-pollinate in different stages of the journey, to share lessons learned, and swap tips about funding. Whether seeking a Mentor, a co-founder, or just connections, we need a trusted network in Austin to be ourselves.
Bill Wood, general partner of Silverton Partners, shared a few words at the beginning of the evening as a guest speaker, relating the wisdom of his experience in being a thirty-year venture capitalist in Austin. He talked about the need to increase the number of women-backed ventures, and how it was important to him. “Women are under-represented and they add such a different dimension.”
Because it was Valentine’s Eve, and because we’re women after all!, the room was transformed, at least for the evening.“For the first time Capital Factory in downtown Austin smelled like roses and perfume on a Thursday night.” Reported Silicon Hills in an article the next morning. The Committee did an amazing job of decorating with pink balloons and candles that just added to the fun. The spirit of authenticity and laughter in the air was refreshing, and was laced throughout the Panel’s advice – three CEO/Founders shared with us lessons learned: Patti Rogers, founder/CEO of Rallyhood, Heather Brunner, CEO of WP Engine, and Erica Douglass, CEO of MarketVibe and popular blogger. “When you’re starting something new, every day is a new surprise,” shared Patti Rogers, as the whole room nodded in agreement. “Having tolerance for that is super important!”
As many women stayed afterwards and just talked a long while, we realize we’ve just begun on this journey. We want to learn from each experience and hope to hear from you — what do women entrepreneurs need to be more successful? This is a legacy we can give to Austin, and one we can all work on together — to increase the visibility, mentoring, and success rates of female entrepreneurs in this City! It’s within our grasp.