Women 2.0 Startup Weekend 2009 Creates 19 Startups

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“One of the hottest days of the year in San Francisco, Friday night’s unusually warm weather combined with over 150 individuals packed into sfCube made it clear that the crowd was serious about building something big.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. (August 28-30, 2009) — “It was hot like Africa!” said Shaherose Charania, describing the atmosphere at Women 2.0 Startup Weekend. One of the hottest days of the year in San Francisco, Friday night’s unusually warm weather combined with over 150 individuals packed into sfCube made it clear that the crowd was serious about building something big.

Kicking off Friday night, Tina Seelig (author of What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 and Executive Director of Stanford Technology Ventures Program) moderated a discussion between an expert panel about how they would build a company over a weekend. Jessica Livingston (author of Founders at Work and Founding Partner of Y Combinator), Xochi Birch (co-founder of Bebo – sold to AOL in 2008), Shanna Tellerman (founder and CEO of Sim Ops Studios), Danielle Morrill (Marketing Director of Twilio), and Dan Martell (angel investor) shared their opinions about how to best utilize the short 54 hour time period to build a startup, how to utilize the strengths of each individual, and drew from their experiences to advise the audience on how to build a successful startup.

After the panel discussion, individuals stood in line to pitch their startup ideas to the crowd. There were 40 pitches made on Friday night, ranging from high-tech lingerie to Craigslist for religious groups, from saving the world to saving you from a bad date — or a messy closet! Individuals formed teams around these ideas. In the next few days, there were some mergers and acquisitions between teams and companies. Others teams declared their startup ideas dead on the scene and moved on.

The majority of the Startup Weekend crowd continued to work through Saturday and Sunday with the goal of launching with a demo by Sunday night. Startup Weekend attendees handed over a dozen children to Women 2.0′s childcare initiative services while their hacker moms and dads worked on their startup ideas over the course of the weekend!

Several people picked up a new programming language simply by sitting next to someone who was developing in the language, from Ruby on Rails to database programming in MySQL. Because of the collaborative nature of Women 2.0 Startup Weekend, these individuals could easily ask questions and get help from the more experienced developer, learning a great deal by working alongside an experienced (and benevolent) developer over the course of the weekend.

On Sunday Night, all the remaining teams pitched with PowerPoint presentations and demos of the products they had been working on for the last 54 hours. The quality of the pitches and demos ran the gamut, but what was constant through the 3 hours of pitches and discussion was the excitement from the teams and audience. Every team received a thunderous round of applause for making it through the weekend to Sunday Night Pitch Night.

The big surprise of the night came when angel investor Dan Martell announced he was putting 5k in Foodspotting after watching the Foodspotting team work through the weekend with their ever-growing wall of notes and sketches.

Professional Poke‘s Cindy Alvarez (pictured, right) was congratulated by more than one person for being “preggers and pitching!” — she’s no slouch. The entire Women 2.0 Startup Weekend contingent battled the weekend heat and lack of sleep to build startups — and all are to be commended.

Watch the Sunday Night Pitches for InUrPantry, Foodspotting, Half Writ, and Professional Poke. You can also find and tag these video pitches at the Women 2.0 group on Facebook.

VentureBeat wrote about Foodspotting for their Startup Spotlight on September 2nd, 2009.

Pictures from the event are also on the Women 2.0 Group on Facebook, and check out real-time Twitter search results for the event with #sw20sf.

Sunday Afternoon at Women 2.0 Startup Weekend: Meet Some of the Teams!


By Sunday afternoon, a few teams were too busy working to talk, but others were brave enough to practice their pitch and introduce themselves on camera. The companies featured in this video are (in the following order): Kulstof, Foodspotting, Escape My Date, Gizzy, Geezer Alert, Professional Poke, Half Writ, Twitter Rank, Sulusso, Ultimate Hire, NetNyms, Fork This, and FounderShack.

The following startups launched at Women 2.0 Startup Weekend:


In a sticky social situation? Use Escape My Date to get out of it! Send us a Direct Message (DM) on Twitter, and we’ll ask your friends to help you out. Follow Escape My Date on Twitter!

Half Writ is a social writing site for fiction writers who want to grow creatively through sharing and shaping short stories. Small peer circles provide framing for creative problems, moderation of content and quality, constructive feedback on work. Follow Half Writ on Twitter!

Professional Poke is the smart reminder service that helps you keep your network strong, because it’s easy to add connections to your social network but it’s hard to maintain them. We’ll remind you when and who to contact. We’ll suggest things that they’ll want to read. Your network will think you’re awesome. Follow Professional Poke on Twitter!

Ultimate Hire is your flat fee staffing partner. You tell us what you need. Ultimate Hire delivers fully pre-screened qualified candidates. One small flat fee per candidate you choose to interview. Save time. Save Money. Add quality staff to your company. Follow Ultimate Hire on Twitter!

Foodspotting will be a visual local guide that lets you find dishes, not just restaurants, thanks to foodspotters who report sightings of foods they love. Coming soon to iPhone and Web. Follow Foodspotting on Twitter!

40 Weeks chronicles your life with a journal that reads more like a book than a blog. Record your history as it happens… or at your own pace! Live it. Write it. Share it.

Kulstof is an on-demand carbon management platform that helps higher education administrators and students accurately measure and report on greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. Kulstof provides students with a view into their own carbon footprints, creating an opportunity to increase awareness and participation in sustainability initiatives. Follow Kulstof on Twitter!

Sulusso is redefining sustainable luxury. All designers have one thing in common – a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Follow Sulusso on Twitter!

Flockpile comes from the old saying “birds of a feather flock together”. Use the Flock Finder tool to easily find local faith based groups, places of worship and events that are of interest to you. Essentially we make it easy for you to find our flock. Follow Flockpile on Twitter!

NetNyms are the usernames you use on web accounts. Between your work, home and projects you already have hundreds of accounts, usernames, passwords etc. Imagine adding more accounts for a new domain or brand. NetNyms makes it easy for you to claim, surf, monitor and manage them. Follow NetNyms on Twitter!

Wardrobe Shuffle is coming soon to your browser and phone to help you get dressed every day. Because life is too short to be stuck in the closet. Follow Wardrobe Shuffle on Twitter!

I Give A Damn network provides the tools to mobilize your friends to volunteer.

CodeShare is online code editing and sharing.

Twelescope is Twitter, at a glance. Follow Twelescope on Twitter!

ForkThis is creative collaboration for the post-scarcity century.

Gizzy helps friends give and get the right gift.

In Ur Pantry iz in ur pantry counting ur food stuffs.

Companies we are missing logos and descriptions for: KarmaCompass and Geezer Alert.

For more coverage of Women 2.0 Startup Weekend, visit Startup Weekend’s page for the event here.