‘How do I become a member of Women 2.0?’ our amazing community of innovators always asked us. In the past, we could only reply with a blank stare. Not anymore! By Shaherose Charania (CEO & Founder, Women 2.0)
These days everyone may be focused on how to Lean In and chattering about the importance of women in tech, but since 2006 we’ve been dedicated to one primary goal: bringing unparalleled support to a growing network of female innovators as they worked to build strong, innovative companies.
When we started, we ran on passion - and little else. Women 2.0 was a side project, fueled by female builders and dreamers. We put in our own money, bootstrapped our travel and hosted events at our own apartments. Then, two years back, we decided to dedicate ourselves to this mission. Since then we have been working with you, building a global movement to deepen our impact and extend our reach and together we’ve become the leading destination for content, community events and conferences for female founders and women in technology -- each year we touch 100,000 women innovators in over 19 cities globally.
What makes Women 2.0 so special is our influencers who have mentored a startup, judged our competition, spoken at our conference or Founder Friday or have sponsored an event -a big thanks to them for always giving their time, energy and knowledge so generously. Who are these people? Meet some of them here! As we celebrate this next step in the evolution of Women 2.0, I sincerely thank those who’ve supported us over the years. We are truly a community-driven company and can’t do it without you!
We’ve received so many stories from our network -- some of you met your first investor or future co-founder at a Founder Friday, some of you were inspired to start your first startup after attending our conference. Some of you learned so much from our articles that you've quit your job and have told us how liberated you feel. Some of you took the leap in your company to be intrapreneurial just by being around the Women 2.0 energy. We are thrilled with the stories that pour in as we fuel real change in the tech industry.
Today we took a big, exciting step in growing our impact on this industry with you. We are driving an entrepreneurial revolution that fuels the growth of new startups wherever they are with access to information, inspiration and mentoring. And no, you don’t have to be in the valley to get all this from us!
The first thing you’ll notice is the site looks different. Very different and hopefully much improved. I’m so thrilled that we have now reached the critical mass necessary to launch the site we’ve dreamed of, one our global community deserves! Looking for advice from founders or investors? Looking for a little inspiration on your startup journey? Thousands of one-of-a-kind articles are now at your fingertips whenever, wherever -- whether you’re on your laptop, phone or tablet.
But finding better ways to showcase the stories and wisdom of female founders is only the cosmetic outer layer of deeper changes. We also listened to our community of innovators and founders and, in response, we’re launching a set of new programs with the involvement of some of our most plugged-in influencers, accessible to innovators and founders from anywhere.
We want to fuel all of you -- from designers and marketers to engineers and managers -- and have created an annual membership called “Innovators Access” to do just that. Becoming a Women 2.0 innovator gives you:
- A full year’s access to Founder Friday
- A special tool called Founder Friday Connect where you can peek at who is coming to your local events in advance
- A discount to our conferences
- A new event called Virtual Hangouts: a monthly networking event, organized around a theme, where you can meet others from the Women 2.0 community and find your “Tech Twin” to provide mutual support on all levels of your journey of innovation
If you’re a little further along in this journey then we’ve built another option for you. This “Entrepreneurs Access” offers everything that’s included in the Innovators Access plus a few additional extras that are specific to founders currently starting a tech company. These include:
- Investor Hangouts that have been designed for early-stage startups looking to connect with investors over a virtual chat, which we hope will lead to additional meetings
- An investor newsletter to list your investment needs which we will send out to our network of over 100 investors for exposure and interest
- A private annual dinner with an influential founder in your city (where we currently host Founder Friday cities)
- An exclusive invite to a Founders Reception at our twice-annual conferences
- Two free job posts on our job board
Outside of this we are also offering two other virtual events: Founder Hangouts -- a five-week mentoring program via Google Hangouts -- and Lightning Lessons, a live fifteen-minute Google Hangout with seasoned founders, industry leaders and investors that will happen every other week.
Why so much virtual access? From the start, the Women 2.0 community has been global. Every year our startup competition PITCH ends with 10 finalists of which around half are from outside Silicon Valley and often the winner is from far away. Virtual events allow us to scale our value, and fuel change everywhere.
As always, we remain driven by our community. These latest programs and the idea of bundling them in a membership came from all of you asking for more ways to connect. We wanted to have a better answer to the question we were constantly asked: “How do I become a member of Women 2.0?”
And now we do!
So go on, sign up! (To show our appreciation we’re launching with early bird pricing to save you some change!) You can check out the details here.
Shaherose Charania is the co-founder and CEO of Women 2.0. She is passionate about open innovation in mobile and telephony startups. She is currently running Founder Labs a pre-team, pre-idea incubator for new mobile startups. Follow her on Twitter at @shaherose.