FemTech

What it’s like to be a SUP46 member

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A SUP46 MEMBER

Now that you know how to become a SUP46 member, perhaps it would be interesting to know what it means to be one? Maybe hear from a current member, someone that has been with us for long enough to have an opinion on most things SUP46? We decided to sit down with the founders of It’s My Styl, Josephine and Felicia to ask them a few questions about their SUP46 experience.

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–  Tell us a bit about your startup?

We’re running the app It’s My Styl, which is a social network for teenagers within lifestyle and fashion. The vision is to be an inspirational platform where young girls across the world can be creative and communicate about daily life with friends and likeminded. It’s My Styl is a 100% user driven community where the user both create and consume the content. We’re able to crowd-source trends among young women and can deliver deeper insights and niched target groups.

We’re a team of four based in Stockholm with a passion for building an excellent product for this new digital generation.

– Why did you first apply to become a SUP46 member?

We applied because we heard about “this cool place” which just had opened and were supporting awesome startups. We’re originally from Kalmar and moved to Stockholm because of the need for a community that could contribute with a location and an awesome network.

– What benefits have you experienced from sitting at SUP46?

The SUP46 community and network have been extremely important and beneficial for us, everyone is very helpful and want you to succeed. All from investor relations, media coverage, tech events and of course – a bunch of new friends!

– In what way do you interact with other people at SUP46?

We have not only gotten new friends in the SUP46-community, but have also been able to get new business partners. We’re for instance using 46Elks sms-service so our users can easily login and reset their password with their phone number. We’ve also collaborated with the Influencer marketing startup Beatly that helped us with a campaign to reach our target group in social media!

Also, you’ll always find interesting tech people, students and companies at SUP46’s monthly event Happy Hours, which is open for everyone, not just members.

– What are you aiming to accomplish within the next six months?

We want to close our ongoing seed-round and expand our team with one UX designer.

A lot of fun things are also going to happen on the product side! The app is going to get a whole new look AND soon we’re launching on Android where actually 50% of our target group is – so we’re hoping to be ready for a nice growth curve in the beginning of next year!

The majority of our stylistas are from Sweden today but we can see that the Finnish users is going to increase with 10% within these coming 6 months as well.

– Do you think being part of SUP46 will help you in reaching this?

Definitely, we’ve already gotten great investor leads from the SUP46 network!

– What is SUP46 to you in one word?

Second home.

It’s My Styl are also one of the startups joining us from Sweden on our next #NordicMade trip, at which we are visiting New York for the third consecutive year. Ringing NASDAQ’s opening bell, a pitch night with local investors and media as well as community building activities for all the Nordic startups and much more is on the agenda.

If you want to know more about a startup membership at SUP46, don’t hesitate to contact our Membership Manager Lukas.


Being a Womengineer

BEING A WOMENGINEER

During the summer weeks we let Sandra – a previous employee of one of our members, who is also part of the nonprofit Womengineer and just finished her BSc in Media Technology and MSc in Computer Science at KTH – use SUP46 as a study den. While having her here we asked a few questions on how she got into coding, the upsides on working for a startup and what her recommendations are if you are a woman interested in learning to code. 

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– You previously worked with one of our members. Can you tell us more about your role at Qasa?

I did work at Qasa (which is an online platform for renting and renting out homes) for approximately eight months as a frontend developer alongside my studies at KTH. I joined the company at quite an early stage of the development of the platform and took part of the process of creating the first beta version of the site.

– What were the best things about working at a startup in your perspective?

To work at a startup taught me so much! Not only regarding development but also about teamwork, business value and to work on a bigger project with long term goals. I also really appreciated that the role of a team member in a startup is broad and can cover all possible tasks from the idea stage, to evaluation, to implementation, to contact with customers and so on. As a member of a startup you also have the possibility to make a great impact (in contrast to working at a big corporation). Additionally, you get a lot more trust and responsibility, which both is very fun and motivating, but also allows you to grow and learn a lot quickly.

– How did you get into coding in the first place?

Coding has not always been an interest of mine. However, I have always been a creative person and have, since I was little, always loved to try out different techniques for art, craft and other types of creational work. I see a great similarity between that and coding and that is the reason why I enjoy it so much.

The first time I came in contact with development was when using the Swedish community Lunarstorm, which was popular during the 90s. To design your profile page you could use a subset of HTML, and I spent hours and hours on making the most beautiful and cool designs that I could come up with for me and my friends. After that I learned how to create “real” websites (with all the crazy colors, moving GIFs and horrible electronic music covers, required for a proper 90s website). When it was time to choose a university program, I thought that web design could be interesting and applied to Media Technology at KTH. However, after my first two years, I realized that I was more interested in the logical challenges of algorithms and backend development rather than working with design and chose the track in computer science.

– Is there anything you wish you would have known before getting into coding?

I wish I would have been introduced to programming earlier and I am one of those people who can’t believe that programming isn’t part of the compulsory education in Sweden yet. I would also have liked it if someone had told me that you don’t have to be a genius or a “geek” to study computer science, that it is a very creative job and that there are a lot of awesome and interesting people working in this industry. In other words, I’d like to tell my former self that I would not have to worry about not fitting in or not being smart enough and that these thoughts were simply due to inaccurate stereotypes and prejudices.

– If someone reading this is interested in becoming a developer but unsure of where to start – what would you recommend them to do?

Just to give it a go! And also to be a bit patient. Programming requires a bit of a different mindset and, from what I’ve seen, it often takes a while before things fall into place. A good place to start is Codecademy to learn some basic programming techniques and languages. If you like logical and mathematical challenges, I’d recommend you to learn some Python and then try out Project Euler. If you’re more into design, I’d encourage you to learn some basic HTML/CSS and JavaScript and then build your own website and learn what you need on the fly by just googling. Google is probably a developer’s most important and well-used tool!

However, to actually become a professional developer, you can take many different paths. Some people are self-taught and there are endless of resources online. Others study short and focused programs, focusing on a specific language or technique (e.g. iOS developer). I have chosen to study a five-year engineering degree, which gives you a broad, theoretical knowledge in the field, but not as much specific or practical knowledge. Because of this, internships, summer jobs or working extra is a great way to get that practical knowledge that you don’t get in school and personally I can not think of a better way to get that much valuable knowledge than to work at a startup.

– Are there any networks or meeting groups that you feel are a must for any female developer?

Fortunately, there are a lot of fantastic initiatives and networks for female developers! Just to mention some of them: Geek Girl Meetup, Pink Programming, Tjejer kodar, PyLadies, Women in Tech, DataTjej and The Code Pub. Also, if you’re interested in studying any technical program, but would like to get some more insight, I’d recommend you to look into Womengineer, IGEday, Teklafestivalen and Pepp!.

– Do you have any specific role models or similar within the field?

I don’t think I have any specific role models exactly. However, I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration and mentorship from people around me in my everyday life that I just find inspiring and that I want to learn from. For example people from higher years at university or colleagues, and to talk with these people for guidance and advices has been very helpful and motivating.

However, something that I actually find problematic is that there aren’t many visible female developers to be able to identify yourself with and to get inspiration from. Luckily, there are organizations such as Geek Girl Meetup, the WIT conference and of course SUP46’s own event series SUP46 FemTech, that all tries to highlight more female role models in the industry, which is really needed.

 

Do you have any additional initiatives, organizations or groups that inspire women in tech? Please let us know in the comments!


How to know you should startup

How to know you should startup (w HappyTail)

Have you ever had the urge to break free and start your own company but feel unsure of whether or not startup life is for you? We asked Maja and Katharina – the founders of HappyTail, one of our members – a few questions about their thoughts on starting and building a scalable startup. Hopefully their input can be of help and answer some of the questions you might have about starting out.

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– Firstly, please tell us a bit about your startup.
HappyTail matches dog lovers locally. It is a fun and social network for people sharing the same interest: dogs! In the app you can easily find dog friends and dog sitters as well as dog friendly places nearby or join social walks in your neighbourhood.
The problem we see today is that dog lovers with common interests such as breeding, agility, social walks or mutual benefits – say you need dog sitter or want to borrow dog – can’t get in touch easily today.
We are solving the problem with a fun and social network based on location.

– How did you know you wanted to start your own company?
We have always been inspired by great ideas – especially when we see a need on the market but no solution for it – and if this is the case, then you have to go and fix it yourself!

– Do you have a routine of some sort to create order in the normally quite versatile startup life?
Yes, of course! We have weekly to do’s that we have split among the different team members and that we follow up each week. It helps to focus on the most important tasks and to see and evaluate our progress.
In addition we always start the week with looking through what else needs to be done and when and who we will do those tasks.
Maja: I personally exercise regularly, once a week with a trainer and the other days I keep active with cycling, running and power walking. For me it is important to eat healthy and combined with my daily exercises, it gives me the energy I need to feel good in the otherwise very stressful startup world.

– What is the best thing about running your own company?
You can work with something that you love. You can be a part of changing the future and making the world a better place 🙂

– What is the best thing about being female founders of a startup?
We stick out, there are not that many female founders in the tech startup scene (yet)!

– If someone reading this has thoughts or plans to start their own company, what would you say they should start with?
Find the right team that fills the necessary skills to get started without the need to have an investment in place.
It is important to check your own network first, because the longer you have known the person to join your team the better 🙂 But of course there are other ways as well, for example your friends’ networks or more formal networking events where you can find for example tech people. It is always important though to get a reference from a person you trust!

– How does one find a co-founder?
This part is really hard! You need to find someone that complements you and at the same time believes in the same vision as you. You should be able to trust each other and work well together, so the optimal situation would be that you have known this person for a long time, maybe have done some projects together and know that you can endure hard times together!

– What are the three things you wish someone had told you before starting up?
Most things we were told, but it’s hard to take in when you haven’t experienced it yourself. But what can be a challenge is:
1. Everything takes much longer than you think and also cost much more, you should multiply estimated time and money with 3 when planning your roadmap
2. It takes time to build the perfect team, because there are many components that are “more important” than a persons skills, for example passion AND personality. Don’t rush when building your team, it might be more costly in the end if you employ the “wrong” person
3. Try to get your legal papers and shareholder agreements in place as soon as possible, it can be harder and more time consuming to do this later on in the process

Do you have further questions or has this perhaps sparked an idea or two? Look out for the next SUP46 FemTech event, a great opportunity to meet and network with entrepreneurs and other women in tech. It will take place in our event space on June 20 and we will soon publish all the information here. You can also take a look at one of our previous FemTech events here.

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