The 14th of February marks the day for the celebration of love and romance. However, on this date 2013, almost 1,000 women from all around the world congregated at Westin St. Francis in San Francisco to celebrate a love of another form – their love for innovation and technology, at the 6th annual Women 2.0 Conference 2013.
The annual Women 2.0 conference is held to connect the most brilliant women-led tech startup with potential investors and partners. It featured Pitch SF, a pitching competition among 10 women-led startups. These startups were shortlisted from 290 applications from 28 countries. Greengar, led by Ho Chi Minh City-based CEO Thuy Truong, was the only Asian representative at the pitching competition.
Greengar, pitched their flagship real-time collaborative app, Smartboard, and had come in second at the pitching competition. Truong’s pitch was met with resounding applause from the crowd. They came close behind Angaza Design, which created metered solar energy for the developing world.
The results of the pitching competition was finalized by a panel of judges made up by venture capitalists and angel investors, including Kevin Laws, board member of AngelList, and Jenny Fielding, Head of Digital Ventures at BBC Worldwide.
Founding member of Match.com, Fran Maier, one of the keynote speakers at the conference, summarised the lack of participation of female in the tech scene, “Women only represent 8 percent of venture capitalists, 11 percent of entrepreneurs, and 15 percent of board members.”
Kara Swisher, founder of AllThingsD, mentioned in her opening remarks that startups are now run and started by men, and in order to create successful companies, women need to take control of technology, which is important to the ecosystem.
The whole-day event also featured a lunch session where aspiring female entrepreneurs were paired up with experienced female founders for a mentoring session. Among the female founders was Aihui Ong, founder and CEO of Love With Food, who was also the pitch director of Women 2.0 Conference from 2008 to 2011.
Entrepreneur, Suzanne Wouk, who is the founder of a e-commerce platform, Snap Post, said, “The conference had been very enriching, and it is wonderful to see so many other female entrepreneurs.
The conference was organized by Women 2.0 — a media company catering to women innovators in technology. This yearly event is part of their mission to increase the number of female founders of technology startups.
Find out more about Women 2.0 here.
Greengar’s Pitch at Women 2.0 2013
Thuy Truong looked unassuming in her white traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai and wearing her bashful smile, as she stood in front of over 1,000 fellow female entrepreneurs and investors. No one could have guessed that she is the co-founder and CEO of Greengar, which flagship real-time collaborative app, Smartboard, had eight million downloads to date.
She was representing Greengar at the annual Women 2.0 Conference’s Pitch SF competition finals, where 10 out of 209 female-led startups are chosen to pitch to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors. The company was seeking US$1 million in funding for the development of Smartboard. She was the only Southeast Asian representative at the pitching competition.
Thuy had returned to Ho Chi Minh City after graduating from University of Southern California in 2009, She launched a frozen yogurt chain with five branches, raising up to US$400,000. In 2011, she closed down the chain to go into Greengar full time, and managed the Ho Chi Minh City office.
Greengar is responsible for Whiteboard app and Draw Together, an online picture puzzle/drawing game. Their flagship app, Smartboard features iCloud, Evernote, and Google Drive integration. It also has the ability to connect up to five smartphones or tablets with each other. It is available on both iOS and Android.
We had met the night before, at an entrepreneurial seminar held at Stanford University by one of her mentors, Professor Thomas Kosnik.
Thuy had rushed to the class after the rehearsal session for the pitching competition to meet with students from National University of Singapore’s Overseas Colleges program, along with her co-founder, Elliot Lee. She shared her anxiety about the pitching session that is taking place the following afternoon. “It didn’t go too well,” she had said about her rehearsal for the pitching session.
Her anxiety was unfounded. Both audience and the panel of judges were paying upmost attention throughout the pitch, and roared with applause and laughter at the right moments.
Thuy beamed in delight when Christine Herron, director with Intel Capital, one of judges, said that her daughter enjoys using the Smartboard for pure entertainment purpose.
The pitching session took place in two separate sessions, with five different finalists presenting in morning and afternoon sessions that had different panels of judges. Greengar was voted as the winner for the afternoon pitching session. They came close behind Angaza Design, which set out to create metered solar energy for the developing world.
Investors and fellow entrepreneurs at the end of the pitching competition surrounded Truong, all excited to hear more about Greengar’s latest launch.
The new app operates on a very simple concept on making collaborative learning and drawing easier and more fun.
Watch Greengar’s pitch at Pitch SF below:
Image Credits: Women 2.0/Erica Kawamoto Hsu