Show Some Love For Female Startup Founders

By Betsy Aoki (Senior Program/Product Manager, Bing) I first met Lori Anne Wardi, a vice president at .CO, during a Geeks on a Plane tour of Asia last fall. While on the shuttle to and from various startup accelerators and meeting spots, we chatted about the wacky dot-com 90s and how things have changed (and stayed the same) in startupland since those days. More consumers know what a domain name is now but people are still faced with the dilemma of how to fund and shape their new companies. And, just like the 90s, there is still a marked shortage of women tech entrepreneurs.

To that end, I’d like to offer up a resource that will be useful to men and women startup founders – the Bing Booster program – and also highlight some work Bing is doing with female founders that may be of interest to those of you in California.

First whether male or female, you may find some useful information at Bing Booster, our pilot initiative which is part of the Microsoft BizSpark program. On the ground activities are available in select US tech hubs – New York City, Boston, San Francisco/Bay Area – and overall the project is designed to help accelerate the success of startups by offering no-cost tools and resources, technical guidance and market visibility.

Northern Californians, we’d like to direct your attention to a great startup event coming on Valentine’s Day – Women 2.0 PITCH conference at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

In addition to hearing from the PITCH competition finalists, Bing folks will join the 800+ attendees to hear and learn from the women who built Flickr, Facebook, Zipcar, TaskRabbit, and LARK as they talk about taking products from concept to cash (and of course, getting customers!). Bing stepped up last October (around the same time Lori and I were standing at the Great Wall of China) and subsidized 100 founders’ applications for the Women 2.0 Startup Competition which has its grand finale at the PITCH conference. I’m especially curious to see what the applicants have to say and who ends up winning the consultation with venture capitalists and other help.

If you are in the area and interested, definitely visit Women 2.0 PITCH 2012 Conference and save 10% by registering with discount code “MICROSOFT”.

.CO will be at Women 2.0, so please stop by and say hi!

This post was originally posted at .CO.

About the guest blogger: Betsy Aoki is profiled in Fast Company, Mary Jo Foley of CNET called her a “Microsoft Woman to Watch” for launching Microsoft’s corporate blogging platforms, the Live QnA consumer question-and-answer site, and the Xbox Live Indie Games platform. Lured to marketing for Bing, she devised social media strategies and launched REDU, a Webby-winning campaign site for education reform. Her current Bing projects include community outreach to startups. Follow her on Twitter at @baoki.