Where the Girls at?

Today’s tech startup scene is thriving and while the industry seems to be extremely diverse in terms of new ideas and solutions it seems much less varied when it comes to these company’s founders.  Research indicates that nearly 65% of startup companies in 2013 have been founded by men. However, Chicago’s tech scene is encouraging gender equality in this industry with more women starting companies and groups to build a sense of community. This is proven true with 28% of startups at Chicago’s 1871 being founded by women.
For the female founded companies within the technology startup sector, being in the minority may prove challenging as founder of Everpurse, Liz Salcedo may have experienced. Salcedo’s Everpurse originated in Chicago’s River North neighborhood and is a small purse that has a charging mat built in allowing users to charge their phones simply by placing the device inside the purse. This seems like a great idea as finding somewhere to charge your smart phone when you’re not home can sometimes be an issue. While Everpurse is in high demand, Salcedo has said that her product has not received much media attention because she has been dismissed by multiple journalists since the product targets female consumers.
Other female entrepreneurs have also had trouble getting investors on board with their ideas or products. Like Salcedo and Everpurse, Amanda Yang’s idea for a startup company was overlooked. In 2012, Yang founded Clear the Path, an online store selling athletic apparel for cyclists that can be worn at work after commuting. Also based in Chicago, Clear the Path provides an innovative, new clothing style particularly sought after by bike enthusiasts and city commuters.
To encourage more women to work in tech, Melissa Pierce founded Chicago Women Developers three years ago. The group hosts classes and events focused on technology and coding. The sense of community provided to female members of this organization has been a big step forward to leveling the playing field within the ever growing technology startup industry.

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