There's a growing gap in the tech industry that's been recently brought to my attention. As a tech and digital media enthusiast, it's hard to believe that many of the great startups you hear are not female founded. In fact, everyone's been trained to assume that "startup" equals a Mark Zuckerberg type sitting behind a computer sporting his laidback attitude as the new cool kid on the block. But where are the girls? Where are the women behind our vastly growing tech and digital field?
A recent article put out by of all places, Business Insider India, discusses the startup field in percentages that are hard to believe. To briefly summarize, research was conducted to see which venture capital firms in New York support women in a male dominated industry. To my surprise, the numbers did the talking. Out of 17 firms all but one surpassed my expectations. 16 of the 17 venture capital firms backed 19.6% of women or less. Only one firm from the list backed 61.5% of women in their portfolio, kudos to Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.This gender gap phenomenon has also made me think of previous interviews I've had the pleasure of having with major tech companies such as Meltwater Group & Qubit. If I told you what I went through to make myself the ideal candidate for their company you would've thought I'd tell you that I got the job. However, I did not.
Meltwater's rigorous interview process had me on my feet from precisely 9am to 3pm, going through a series of group exercises, 1 minute presentations, and the first person out of 20 something candidates to get an immediate callback. One long conference room table, 5 Meltwater Group execs and me. The most terrifying of interviews I've had to do to date. One hour of excruciating Q & A's and I walked out feeling like I would be the one. Two weeks later, they called to say they went with "someone else."
Criseida 0 - Tech Field 1
My next semi-venture into breaking into the tech field came with Qubit, founded by 4 ex-Googlers with offices in London and New York. The time zone difference had me interview precisely at 7am Eastern time via Skype with one of the founders in London. I knew going in that as a girl with a Fashion Marketing background, I had to be on point to prove I wasn't another girl obsessed with the latest season's trends. I used adequate terminology, expressed my interest with the company and still got nothing in the end.
Criseida 0 - Tech Field 2
Is it because I don't have a beard? Or because I didn't work a business out of a dorm room?
There's something frustrating that comes from such experiences. Especially when I'm also reflecting on my background. There are so many sub-categories in my DNA that I would be the ultimate minority at a startup. For example, I'm Mexican-American (sorry I'm not white), I also have a degree from a non-traditional university and I'm also a female with an uncommon name who happens to love the fashion industry but is totally obsessed with digital media.
So where does that put me? How can my voice make more of a difference? Am I missing a 21st century memo? Or are the tech + digital fields run by the same frat brother/douchiness that dominates Wall Street? Sorry not sorry, but someone had to say it. Women need to be represented and heard, especially millennial Latinas.
Thoughts? Comments? What are your opinions on this matter? I'd love to know!