- Adora Cheung (co-founder of Homejoy) gave an unusual speech about the ups and downs of entrepreneurs, who are "sprinting a marathon" full of surprises and hurdles. Her rise to success took maxing out her credit card, becoming nearly homeless, brushing teeth at McDonald's and becoming a "cleaning lady" and had to justify why she wanted to clean with a college degree. (I personally think she's the best speaker. YC alumni seem to all agree that her speech was inspirational).
- Jessica Livingston (partner at Y Combinator) recalling having to do everything that was non-technical at the founding of Y Combinator: from doing tax to carrying air conditioners. And working hard with her baby boy on the desk, next to her work station.
- Jessica Livingston (partner at Y Combinator) announced the Female Founder conference on the YC blog, yet Paul Graham was the cover of Inc.'s press.
- More than 50% of the room raised their hands when asked if she is an engineer!
- More than 50% of the room raised their hands when asked if she is a founder!
- Kathryn Minshew (co-founder at The Muse) and her team were rejected by more than 10 accelerators in NYC before getting accepted into Y Combinator. Kathryn is also a super fast talking ex-McKinsey consultant (yay, consultants! Disclaimer: I am an ex-consultant too). Her team all left their glamorous job to found their dream startup.
- Jessica Mah (co-founder at inDinero.com) went from poster startup child on newspapers and the president of UC Berkeley's Computer Science club to getting five-star office spaces with Jacuzzi hot tub, to nearly broke, had to let go of everyone, went through a lot of self doubt, to land in the typical startup in the living room/garage situation. She and her co-founder each had a room in a house, and hack with the entire team in the living room. Some say she's the very best speaker.
- The audience is super amazing! Among the audience, there are serial entrepreneurs, startup 1st employees, engineers, PhD's and graduates of all kinds of bootcamps including Dev Bootcamp, Hackbright, and Coding Dojo (lolz myself?). There's NatashatheRobot, Michelle Sun a Hackbright graduate and a Buffer engineer who went to found the First Code Academy in Hong Kong, China, Vanessa Hurst who co-founded Girls Develop It and Code Montage. Jessica Greenwalt, a Y Combinator crowdsourced medical info startup co-founder, Vivian Xue the founder of The Box Noir and Soothie in Los Angeles. The list goes on and on and is nothing short of being inspiring.
- 34.5 % of women founders have started companies with their spouse/ significant other. It is still unfortunately true that women may have trouble finding co-founders at time. Founding a company with a significant other can be potentially a hack. PG and Jessica have been co-founders at YCombinator when they got married.
- Last but not least, women have founded or co-founded extraordinary startups. It's still a "surprise" though already a fact because there isn't enough coverage yet. Homejoy, The Muse, Eventbrite, InDinero, YCombinator, HireArt, VMWare, Science Exchange, and many more!!
If there's a take away from Female Founders and the annual Startup School : found a startup now, it's not easy, there will be ups and downs, yet it is extremely rewarding! There's a huge network of founders already, ready to share their experiences.
AirPair.com, and previously worked at codecademy.com, another YC-backed startup. Press about Dilys Sun