Women entrepreneurs at Silicon Valley
Shaherose Charania co-founder
of Women 2.0
By Lené Tourn
I have had the possibility of knowing Shaherose Charania in one
editions of the 22@ Breakfasts, who acceded very gentlely to be
interviewed about the organization that she have founded three
years ago join to other collegues on Silicon Valley: Women 2.0 is
committed to increasing the number of women entrepreneurs
starting high growth ventures by providing the resources, network,
and knowledge for the launch and growth of their company.
To create a company is a complicated thing anywhere, but who
can resist to this incredible adventure.
L.T. ¿How came out the idea of founding WOMEN 2.0?
S.C. After attending several networking in Silicon Valley, I wonder
why always in these events there was little presence of women.
After talking with some professionals of the sector we decided to
carried an event out, as a pilot test, which they attended one
hundred where we hosted a panel discusión with female
cofounders of startups such as Meebo, LimeLife and others. In just
a few short weeks we recieved a call from the Santa Clara
County’s status on the comisión for Women. We had been
awarded recognition for supporting entrepreneurship for women in
front of five hundred business leaders in Santa Clara. This award, to
our surprise was endorsed by members of the US Congress.
After this day that we, the founders, decided to commit our time,
while still keeping our full time Jobs with various startups, tp build
Women 2.0 into an influential organization and to truly impact the
Thus little by little, Women 2,0 has not stopped growing from the first
event organized in April of 2006. We how have a mailing list of ten
thousands community members, monthly networking events,
Workshops for those who have ideas, small events for startup
founders and an annual startup competition called PITCH.
Over three years, the annual startup competition called PITCH has
recieved over three hundred submissions. The submissions are from
all over the World, majority in the US but also from Canada, the UK,
India, Pakistan, Singapore. The submissions represent early stage
startups in ‘beta’ with at least one female cofounder in web,
Mobile, clean tech, Biotech and retail.
Women 2.0 is run like a startup itself, we keep costs low and always
innovate to provide the best products and services for our
customers - an in our case the customers who aspire to launch a
startup or are running an early stage startup.
As a Business we are thrilled to have broken even in 2008 for the first
L.T. ¿ What are the main objectives and activities of WOMEN 2.0
S.C. As young women with aspirations in making a contribution to
the world, we recognize in the enterprising spirit a way to satisfy our
goals in the life. Therefore, we must like main objective support the
enterprising spirit of the women who work in Silicon Valley and
In the United States we have not an organisms like Barcelona
Activa, that impel from the qualification and the customized
consultant's office to the entrepreneurs who approach with
wonderful ideas, but that in the majority of the cases they do not
know how to materialize it and to let it grow in the time.
In this sense, we organized lectures and seminaries with the
collaboration of the universities of Berkley and Stanford, for those
people who look for qualification at the same time we offer a
place of networking with other entrepreneurs.
We organize a seminary for five weeks with the professor of
entrepreneurship from Berekely University’s Haas Business school in
which are seen all the sections necessary to make a business plan.
As previously mentioned we host monthly networking events for all
to attend – those working at startup, show with ideas and founders
of startups. The networking events help build community.
In addition I mentioned smaller events for startup founders and the
annual startup competition called PITCH.
In the end, Women 2.0 measures its impact in the World by
measuring the number of female founders – the latest offical
statistic was in 2005, where less than 5% of Silicon Valley Startups
had a female founder. Today we are seeing more and more young
female cofounders of tech startups.
The winners of the Facebook fund included four startups from the
women 2.0 community, out of eighteen Winters: Funji, SamaSource,
And as previously mentioned we’ve seen more than 300 early
stage ventures over 3 years from all over the World and each team
has at least one female founder.
Change is happening and we are thrilled to be a catalyst in this.
Women 2.0 will be launching a research study on Women and
entrepreneurship in 2010, stay tuned!
L.T. ¿What are the future plans in order to became a catalyst for
change as said vision’s community?
S.C. Oh the future of Women 2.0 is always changing and always
adapting to the needs of our community. Right now we can’t
share too many details. We do plan a slow global growth and if
anyone is interested in learning more I invite them to contact me.
L.T In this days that you are visiting Barcelona ¿Can you participate
in other networking groups of women?
S.C. I had very just a short time to be able to participate in other
events of networking, something that is pending for my next visit to
L.T. Do you think that the way to do networking here in Barcelona is
different to California?
S.C. In California networking comprises of the daily work. It Is
something natural that the people interchange business cards
openly. The objective is to present what each other does so that in
the future concrete collaborations can be established.
Since it has to me lacked time to participate in other events of this
type I am not very safe as it is the practice of networking in
Barcelona. I have heard that people here are a little more shy.
L.T. A group of businesswomen angel would be different from a
S. C. Not necessarily the women must be more shared in common with
the women, since there would be to hope. Finally “business are
business”, which means that if they must bet by a company will do it by
which is more lucrative, independent of if is presided or not by a woman.
Nevertheless, a group of businesswomen angel is not a bad one idea a
who could support to their same gender.
L.T. What Could be your advice for someone who whats to lunch a start
S.C. Crisis’s times are the best one to undertake because it is taken care
of plus the accomplishment of the idea. There is no much space for
mistakes when the money is more expensive like in the present
It is very important not to fall in love with the idea that is had, to conserve
the objectivity and the deep analysis in the business model.
During my talk at 22@ Breakfast I highlighted the differences between
what I call a “Lifestyle 2.0″ company; the kind of startup that investors
always look at me and say “They don’t need funding, tell them to
bootstrap, build, release, iterate and make money from day-one.”
Content heavy sites, social networking sites, mobile applications often
fall into this category and are big part of the Women 2.0 community.
Then you find the disruptive innovations, development heavy startups,
often light on the business model, much fewer these days. Then of course
there is that needle in the haystack, the next Google, *needing* VC
money to scale operations and truly innovate on their current product
and/or go global.
Report by Orange Labs about Women in Silicon Valley
Video by Orange Labs