By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
This year's Women 2.0 conference theme is the BILLIONS - billions of (women) consumers, billion dollar exits, billion page views processed, et al. In the afternoon, an international panel of entrepreneurs and investors discussed emerging markets.
Women 2.0 CEO Shaherose Charania hosted a panel, discussing emerging markets with Machina co-founder Linda Franco, DFJ Aurora managing director Alexandra Johnson and Wormhole IT co-founder Sally Buberman.
Flying in from Mexico City, Linda Franco is on the cutting edge of wearable technology, having founded Machina for wearable menswear. She shares her frustration at misconceptions that are prevalent around Mexico City (ie. drug cartels, being a woman in tech). On the flip side, one of the many benefits of staying in Mexico City is that there are interesting fabrics (ie. the number one manufacturer for denim is in Mexico City, providing for Levi's and also for Machina for lower cost!).
Hailing from Argentina, Wormhole IT CEO Sally Buberman shares that she has a team of 18 people with a run rate of $100,000. However there is no venture capital industry in Argentina, so that forced the company to bootstrap and focus on revenue from customers from the start.
DFJ Aurura managing director Alexandra Johnson muses on "emerging markets - first it was India, then it was China. They clone what is successful in the US. There is a secondary innovation and a primary innovation - there is Zappos and then million of clones around the world. And then there are companies that are unique. I happen to believe we cannot afford not to build a global company from day one, and as an investor, that is what we will be evaluating - how big your market is, what portion do you think you can take, and do you have a team capable of executing your vision."
Wormhole IT CEO Sally Buberman reveals that the emerging markets are 3 to 5 years behind the US. When you think of the emerging markets, you think of Brazil. "In a way, you're kind of forced to go there to raise capital. But now, there are more incubators growing and there are more people willing to put money in places [in Latin America] beside Brazil," said Susan Buberman.
"The entrepreneur is the hero here, everyone wants to be Mark, Larry, Sergey," said DFJ Aurora managing director Alexandra Johnson. "Changing the culture is the most important thing we need to work on." Both Alexandra and Sally shared stories of entrepreneurs in emerging markets being thought of as the inferior career to being a doctor per se.
May we help change attitudes in Latin America by Women 2.0's expanding Founder Friday series!
Follow the conversation on Twitter with hash tag #w2conf today and shout out to Women 2.0 at @women2!
Angie Chang is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0, a media company offering content, community and conferences for aspiring and current women innovators in technology. Our mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups with inspiration, information and education through our platform. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.