Mary Lou Jepsen
Google Developers Live: Google’s Lead Hardware Engineer For Project Glass Jean Wang Talks To Pixel Qi’s Mary Lou Jepsen
Women innovators featured on Google Developers Live.
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
In the throes of the election coverage this afternoon, Google Developers Live hosts Google’s lead hardware engineer for Project Glass Jean Wang and Google Global Chrome Developer Relations Manager Vivian Cromwell in a conversation with 2011 Anita Borg “Woman of Vision” Award for Innovation winner Mary Lou Jepsen, Founder and CEO of Pixel Qi.
For a thorough list of technical women founding companies (CTOs, CEOs, VPs of engineering and more), check out this list.
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
Of the five finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine’s ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR award, there is a female founder – Limor Fried.
The MIT-educated electrical engineer (pictured) started electronics hobbyist company Adafruit Industries to distribute DIY electronics toys like littleBits and Arduino items. Vote for her for “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the eponymous magazine – go on, go do it!
“Get out of the mode of what you do day-to-day and what is important today, and get a new perspective.”
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
In the days leading up to the Google developer confeerence – Google I/O 2012 – a Women Techmakers event at Google’s San Francisco office was the hottest ticket in town.
Women building products at Google sat on the panel moderated by Megan Smith (VP, Google), who kicked off the panel by citing Alice Walker – “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”. She encouraged the audience to take ownership of projects to reap benefits for both your company and your career. She moderates a thoughtful discussion on women in technology today.
Arduinos, circuits, and… robots? Women entrepreneurs push boundaries of devices, hardware startups.
By Elissa Rose (Assistant Editor, Women 2.0)
This week at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, there was a panel titled “What if you could create a startup?” The panel was made up of women, one of which was a Partner at the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. She said, as paraphrased by Forbes, “she thinks that women should work on things they are naturally gifted at, and she believes shopping is one of them.”
Here at Women 2.0, we believe the best response is to give some notable counter-examples to her assertion. The following are naturally gifted female founders doing what they’re best at and making money doing it — and none are limited to the pink ghetto.
By Mary Lou Jepsen (Founder & CEO, Pixel Qi)
I fell in love with One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) which I co-founded and served as Chief Technology Officer for years. I realized that if we could pull off the OLPC project, or even a small fraction of it – we could change everything. I personally also realized that I could have incredibly more impact trying to do this than being a professor at MIT and so I gave that up.
I spent time in Asia to realize the design and convince large manufacturers of the world to make my product — the $100 laptop — to make a profound impact on children in any country, especially the developing world. There the reality is so stark in some of the worst countries where, for example, about one-third of the paid teachers do not show up, and approximately another one-third of the paid teachers are illiterate. In such cases as these the solution isn’t better teacher training. The solution is more radical: leverage the kids. . Kids are smart, they are motivated, and can learn a lot. OLPC gave them access to information and communication to fill in the large gaps in their education.
Every child in Uruguay has one of our laptops, the OLPC “XO” machines, about half the children in Peru, and there are large deployments in Afghanistan, and more than 30 other countries.
We ended up touching a nerve in the industry, competing with the likes of Intel and Microsoft. There is something about the sincerest form of flattery being imitation, and it is from this kind of imitation of the “$100 laptop” that the netbook emerged in late 2007 and became the fastest growing IT product category ever recorded (faster than the more recent rise of tablets even). But of course, the price point of the netbook was double of what we were able to achieve on the OLPC laptop, but most importantly, the power consumption was 10-20 times higher. Consider that in third world countries, access to electricity is difficult and without a low power device human and solar power become prohibitively expensive. Do you want your batteries to last longer or not so long? I asked that question to thousands of people and I have only heard one answer — guess which one. This technology is proven.
I wanted to bring this technology across many products to give all people more access, while also helping people across the digital divide and making greener electronics. By making more of something you can also make it less expensive. And so I founded Pixel Qi.
Leverage As A Woman Entrepreneur
I started Pixel Qi with dual headquarters in Silicon Valley and Taipei. While I intended to spend a third to a half of my time in Asia, I didn’t intend to move to Asia. But, when the bottom fell out in the financial crises I did move here (Taipei) to make Pixel Qi happen. 90% of the world’s devices are designed in Taipei, not Cupertino. To fit in to the local culture, you have to become involved in a lot of discussions and lots of dinners too, it requires a constant presence. I think women have an advantage in that historically they have been accepted as much less threatening in foreign cultures than men. From my experience as a woman in technology throughout my entire career: they remember you and they underestimate you.
This morning at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC, Julia Hu (Co-Founder & CEO of Lark) got engaged while presenting her startup onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC — her boyfriend inserted a proposal slide into her deck.
Meanwhile, attendees at the National Center for Women in Technology annual summit were not pleased with the lack of technical women leading startups and companies. TechCrunch contributor Vivek Wadhwa tweeted “Sarah, there are very few women CTOs.” Developer and advocate Sarah Mei tweeted back, “I thought there were a few. Pointers plz.”
Every time this happens, we at Women 2.0 put our heads together and come up with a handy list of women CTOs of tech startups for anyone who asks. From writers for magazines to conference organizations, we all want to know — where are the technical women of startups? Why are they not more frequently featured on magazine covers and quoted in newspapers?
No more excuses. Let’s get these technical women leaders exposure.
Female Startup Founders – Who Are Also CTOs:
Cathy Edwards (Co-Founder & CTO, Chomp)
Chomp‘s proprietary algorithm learns the functions and topics of apps helps you find the apps you want. Chomp was acquired by Apple in February 2012. Follow her on Twitter at @cathye.
Sarah Allen (Co-Founder & CTO, Mightyverse)
Sarah co-founded Railsbridge to increase diversity in engineering, consults at Blazing Cloud, and co-founded Mightyverse. Follow her on Twitter at @ultrasaurus.
Jenny Chen (Co-Founder & CTO, Wanderable)
After working at Amazon Web Services for over five years, Jenny Chen co-founded Wanderable to make wedding registries more fun for travel lovers. Follow her on Twitter at @phethyr.
Shilpa Dalmia (Co-Founder & CTO, ActivityHero)
An engineer by profession and a parent at heart, Shilpa Dalmia started ActivityHero to help parents select activities for their kids. Follow her on Twitter at @shilpa_dalmia.
Julia Grace (Co-Founder & CTO, WeddingLovely)
After earning two degrees in computer science, Julia Grace spent 4 years at IBM Research, ran product at a startup then co-founded WeddingLovely. Follow her on Twitter at @jewelia.
Bryn McCoy (Co-Founder & CTO, Citizen Made)
After building innovative software for the likes of IBM and BMW, hacker and designer Bryn McCoy co-founded Citizen Made in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter at @brynmccoy.
Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D. (Co-Founder & CTO, Affectiva)
MIT research scientist Rana el Kaliouby co-founded Affectiva to scale video-based expression recognition technology she invented. Follow her on Twitter at @kaliouby.
Notable Technical Women Leaders At Startups:
Niniane Wang (CTO, Minted)
Niniane currently leads the engineering team at Minted, having 11 years of experience at Google and Microsoft. Follow her on Twitter at @niniane and follow her startup at @minted.
Liz Crawford (VP Engineering, Birchbox)
Liz is currently VP of E at Birchbox. Previously, she co-founded and served as CTO of Aprizi. Follow her on Twitter at @liscrawford and follow her startup at @birchbox.
Mary Lou Jepsen (Founding CTO, One Laptop Per Child)
Mary Lou is currently Founder & CEO of Pixel Qi, producer of low power, sunlight readable displays. Previously, she was founding CTO of OLPC. Follow her startup at @pixelqi.
Beth Marcus (Founder & CEO, Playrific)
Beth founded and served as CEO for startups, most notably EXOS, which was VC-backed and sold to Microsoft in 1996. She served as CTO at Zeemote. Follow her on Twitter at @startupdoc.
Ning Ning (VP Engineering, Perfect Market)
Ning Ning has served as VP of E at multiple tech startups, contributing to the sale of three of these to Salesforce, MEI and AskJeeves. Follow her startup at @PerfectMarket.
Daisy Itty (VP Engineering, DataStax)
Daisy has served as Director of Engineering of Responsys, BlueRoads and Selectica where she was one of the first engineers. Follow her startup on Twitter at @datastax.
Kate Matsudaira (VP Engineering, SEOmoz)
Kate has been holding engineering positions of increasing responsibility, and currently runs engineering at SEOmoz. Follow her on Twitter at @katemats and her startup at @SEOmoz.
Meg Withgott (Co-Founder & CTO, Panafold)
Meg co-founded Panafold, the knowledge attraction company. She co-founded ePlanet, and led research at Xerox PARC, Interval and Sun Labs. Follow her on Twitter at @megwith.
Women With Technical Backgrounds But No Longer Hold Technical Titles:
Jess Lee (Co-Founder & CEO, Polyvore)
Computer science major and former Google product manager Jess Lee runs Polyvore as its CEO. Polvore recently raised $14M Series C funding. Follow her on Twitter at @jesskah.
Elizabeth Yin (Co-Founder & CEO, LaunchBit)
Elizabeth Yin launched the email newsletter ad network LaunchBit out of 500 Startups, raising $950k investment to date. Follow her on Twitter at @launchbit.
Ayah Bdeir (Founder & Lead Engineer, littlebits)
Ayah created litteBits, an award-winning kit of pre-assembled circuits that snap together with tiny magnets. No soldering, no wiring, no programming. Follow Ayah on Twitter at @AyahBdeir.
Annie Chang (Co-Founder & Head of Products, LOLapps)
“Don’t be fooled by the name of her startup” warned Fast Company. Annie Chang co-founded LOLapps, which was acquired by 6waves in July 2011. Follow her on Twitter at @lolapps.
Dr. Vivienne Ming (Co-Founder, Chief Scientist & Executive Director, Socos)
Dr. Ming is a theoretical neuroscientist launching an edu-tech startup building cognitive analytics for the classroom. Follow her on Twitter at @neuraltheory and her startup at @socos_me.
Julie Yoo (Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Kyruus)
Julie built the first version of the company’s data mining platform. She leads the product team at Kyruus, which received $5.5M Series A in 2011. Follow her on Twitter at @julesyoo.
Michelle Norgan (Co-Founder & CPO, Kismet)
Michelle, who launched her product onstage at the inaugural Women 2.0 PITCH conference, taught herself iOS programming and co-founded Kismet. Follow her on Twitter at @mnorgan.
Chandini Ammineni (Co-Founder, ActivityHero)
Chandini Ammineni build apps including one to help pregnant moms see the heartbeat of their babies on the iPhone, then stated ActivityHero. Follow her on Twitter at @ammineni.
Tracy Osborn (Founder & CEO, WeddingLovely)
Designer and self-taught Django developer Tracy Osborn launched WeddingLovely herself until she found her technical co-founder Julia Grace. Follow her on Twitter at @limedaring.
Erica Douglass (Founder & CEO, Whoosh Traffic)
Prior to Whoosh Traffic, Erica Douglass sold her web hosting company for $1.1M. She built everything (website to server hardware) from scratch. Follow her on Twitter at @ericabiz.
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