VoIP Business and Virtual PBX

How Women Are Changing the Tech World

Company founders and leaders are coming out of Google, Salesforce.com and elsewhere for the excitement of shaping a young business.

The emergence of young female tech founders

The emergence of young female tech founders and executives reflects sweeping change in the worlds of start-up companies and angel funding, where wealthy investors give money however for a stake in a company. It underscores the enormous purchasing prowess of women online in other words transforming the Web economy. As more consumers reach for their smartphones and tablets to shop and communicate, there is a pressing need for commerce sites that cater to women, who control 70% of online purchases worldwide, according to Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer, a digital media company.

"Female users are the unsung heroines behind the most engaging, fastest-growing and most valuable consumer Internet and e-commerce companies," says venture capitalist Aileen Lee. She has invested in Brit, a lifestyle branding company, and Plum District, an e-commerce site for moms, among many ventures led by women.

Make no mistake: The executive suite for business in general and the innovation industry exactly remains a male stronghold. Just 3% of all tech start-ups are led by women, according to a Kauffman Foundation report. Only a handful of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are women. In actual fact, the glass ceiling remains a reality for many women, and charges of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination persist. To tell the truth, a recent lawsuit by Ellen Pao, a junior partner at one of the Valley's most prestigious venture funds, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, is all the buzz here these days because it exposes the fragile position women hold in the tech world.

The research landscape has flattened

"The research landscape has flattened," says Shaherose Charania, CEO of Women 2.0, a media company and resource that helps thousands of aspiring and current female entrepreneurs launch new ventures. Its research conference in Mountain View, Calif., in February drew 1,000 people, three times the audience in 2011.

Of late, it's been a thrill ride for female entrepreneurs in tech. Advances in research, lower infrastructure costs and ample angel investing have made it easier to launch an early-stage company, says Leah Busque, CEO of TaskRabbit, an eBay of sorts for odd jobs.

Company today because Web servers

It's cheaper to start a company today because Web servers and other equipment cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, not the millions once required for high-end computer servers. Newer technologies, just as cloud computing, reduce infrastructure costs. And coding isn't as onerous as it once was. Those changes have allowed entrepreneurs to build products faster and land funding sooner.

Sarah Leary, who in late 2010 co-founded Nextdoor, a private social network for neighborhoods, as well credits the dramatic jump in angel investors who have taken their riches from Google, PayPal, eBay and Yahoo, and invested them in start-ups.

Indeed, 60% of Facebook's membership is female, and their purchasing interests are broad, says Anjelika Petrochenko, general manager of social network LiveJournal.

Women increasingly are starting and running tech companies because the research to get them off the ground is cheaper, funding is easier to line up and they have support from a growing network of other female executives. Among those in accordance with 35 with recent start-ups:

But social movements take time. The pipeline from academia is relatively dry. Just a fraction of the estimated 120,000 computer-science graduates in the U.S. each year are women - 11.7% of bachelor degrees in 2010-11, down from 13.8% in 2009-10, according to Computing Innovation Association. India and China are graduating near 1 million men and women annually in computer science.

More information: Wltx