The Rise of Female Solopreneurs


Female entrepreneurs

2012 saw a great many developments in the app world, though what many may not realize is that a number of the hottest programs have actually been designed by women entrepreneurs. Business correspondent Abigail West outlines some of the year’s biggest female-led projects below. Abigail writes primarily about business schools and online learning, and recently edited a rankings report. Interested readers can click here for more info on these MBA rankings, as well as to learn more about the modern business education landscape.

Women Using Their Business Educations to Dominate the App Market.

Traditionally male dominated, the mobile app industry in recent years has witnessed the rise of female solopreneurs eager to pitch an impressive array of startups. In her article published in Forbes, Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0), points out that there are plenty of successful women running mobile startups.

From IPOs to acquisitions, these women entrepreneurs launched and grew successful mobile startups. For example, says Angie in another article, some of the women have successfully built upon Apple’s success over the years by creating everything from viral games and useful apps offered in the Apple store to wearable devices which connect to an iPhone app. A few notable ones are:

  • Camera+, a photo app, which enables you to use your iPhone to shoot the best photos. It is packed with several useful features that  standard camera app doesn’t include.
  • Chomp, a search engine app, which helps you to find more apps. The application helps to more easily consume what apps are out there for your  iPhone and what people think of them. Chomp was acquired by Apple for $50M in February 2012.
  • Lumoback,  a device that you can wear around the waist. The sensor vibrates to alert the you when you’re slouching. LUMO can be worn while standing, sleeping, sitting or walking. The accompanying iPhone app tracks all your movements and progress in improving your posture.
  • Khush founded in 2009 to develop intelligent music apps. Khush was acquired by Smule in December 2011.

Some of the other mobile app companies launched by women are Obopay, a global mobile payments company that provides the most comprehensive mobile payment solutions that help customers and businesses in both developed and emerging markets, 3Seventy, a full service mobile marketing solution provider, and Layar, a mobile browser that allows you to find various items based upon augmented reality technology.

All these companies bear testimony to the successful contribution made by female entrepreneurs to the mobile app industry. Forbes lists Cathy Edwards as one of the top women entrepreneurs who launched successful mobile startups.

Cathy Edwards co-founded Chomp, the search engine for mobile apps. She created Chomp’s proprietary algorithm that understands the function of each app, allowing you to search for apps based on what they do rather than just what they’re called. Chomp launched on the iPhone platform in January 2010 and on Android in February 2011.

According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, Cathy has been in the mobile industry her entire career. Prior to Chomp, she led mobile product management at Friendster, launching a key revenue share data plan with carriers in South East Asia. She also worked at 3jam, where she launched a converged SMS-IM mobile messaging product.

Before moving to America Cathy was based in Australia, where she worked for Telstra, the leading telecommunications carrier. She started out in their research lab doing machine learning and natural language processing research before leading a team dedicated to conceptualizing, prototyping and incubating new product ideas. Cathy has degrees in pure mathematics, linguistics and computer science from the University of Western Australia.

In her interview with NCWIT, Cathy attributes her interest in technology and her success to her education. In her words, “I was lucky enough to go to two separate primary schools that both really had a lot of opportunities to actually begin programming.” According to Cathy she did her first programming at a very young age , using a program called Logo where you could basically draw pictures, program a little turtle around the screen and draw pictures.

Everything, says Cathy, really grew from there. She continued doing programming throughout high school and chose a major in Computer Science as one of her majors in college. She admits that though she has been technical the whole way through, it was more because of the opportunities she got at a young age that she really got into it.

She reveals that at the age of 12 she did a competition with the Lego Mindstorms robots, which was basically to program the robot to pick up an egg and take it from one side of a track to another. She also explains how entrepreneurship is all about creating and building amazing products and an amazing team of people.

The success of female entrepreneurs like Cathy Edwards, establishes that although men still overwhelmingly rule the tech world, the wind of change seems to be blowing in favor of females. The aspiring female entrepreneurs can reap the benefit of this favorable change by following important tips.

Daily muse sketches out a few lessons for the aspiring female entrepreneur. The article encourages women to spend enough time exploring themselves  “unedited from the world” to understand what they can really excel at. Women should not wait for “the perfect moment” to make a change, pursue a dream, or start their company.

It also stresses on the need for women to invest in themselves and in other women and build a supportive community. Other important suggestions are laid out by WomeninBusiness.

In addition to following the tips, Female solopreneurs can get a groundswell of support from a growing network of mentors, advisers and investors. Some of the resources that can be of great help to women entrepreneurs are Ladies Who Launch, National Association of Women Business Owners, eWomenNetwork, Center for Women’s Business Research and Make Mine a Million Business.

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