One co-founder explains how the people she met at Founder Friday helped her gain knowledge and insight on different components of her business. 

By Jessica Schimm (Assistant Editor, Women 2.0)

When Nikka Umil attended her first Founder Friday in San Francisco, she was fresh to the startup scene.

Now she’s toured Sooligan, the product she co-founded, to six different cities around the world. The app, designed to share “real-time local information,” averages a five-star rating on the iTunes App store (at the time of this post) and has made waves in different cities across the US.

With all of her success, you might be surprised to learn that Umil did not have a background in tech. At UC Berkeley, she studied politics and economics. But after attending one Founder Friday, Umil learned how to get past her non-tech background when connecting with one female founder.

“[At Founder Friday] one female founder taught herself how to code, and I talked to her about her experience because I also come from a non-technical background,” Umil said.

Umil, now a team member of Founder Friday Los Angeles, says that connections are one of the biggest benefits of the monthly networking event.

“I’ve made friends from Founder Friday and it’s great to have that energy and see what other female founders are doing as well,” Umil said. “I’m really passionate about women’s advancement. I was also noticing the tech scene in L.A. –although it’s growing, it still needed a lot of support.”

At another more intimate Founder Friday, Umil ended up staying after the event to talk with two other female founders, both of whom happened to be UX designers and offered a lot of feedback to Umil on her product.

“To know that we had just met a few minutes ago at a Women 2.0 event was great.”

Founder Friday is also unique in that you usually don’t see a room full of women in the tech sphere, Umil said, adding that just the visual of seeing so many women in the tech space in a room together, is encouraging.

“[My first Founder Friday experience] propelled and gave me further encouragement to go into the entrepreneurial route,” she said. “It’s just another great avenue for Female Founders.”

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Jess headshotJessica Schimm (@JessicaSchimm) is the assistant editor at Women 2.0. She is a recent graduate of San Francisco State where she earned a B.A. in journalism and was the editor-in-chief of SF State’s Her Campus chapter. She has a strong interest in women’s issues and writes about them on her blog Women Who Run San Francisco.