TechCrunch40 is a new technology conference taking place in San Francisco this week:
The format is simple: Forty of the hottest new startups from around the world will announce and demo their products over a two day period at TechCrunch40. And they don't pay a cent to do this. They will be selected to participate based on merit alone. In fact, we're even offering a $50,000 cash award and lining up other in-kind services and awards from a generous group of corporate sponsors.
A group of 100 additional companies will also demo their products in a DemoPit adjacent to the main presentation room.
The conference was originally called "TechCrunch20" but too many great startups applied for us to select only 20 presenting companies.
I am your roving reporter on the scene for BlogHer. Tonight I'll give you a feel for the conference in general and tomorrow I'll tell you a bit more about few of the companies at the conference.
One of the frequent complaints about technology conferences is the lack of participation from a diverse group and often the same usual suspects (mostly male and very few women) speak. Because of the structure of this conference, with participants chosen on the merit of their technology and business, there are opportunities for women to not just participate but to steal the show. In the first round of presentations today (in the category "search and discovery") one of the strongest and best received presentations (for CastTV video search) was given by a woman who co-founded the company.
I spoke with Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience for Google, who was one of the judges/expert advisors for this session and she made some terrific points about the opportunities provided by this conference format for women in technology:
- It provides exposure for small startups
- It provides participants with a well crafted presentation with an opportunity to shine
- It provides an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership skills by thoroughly understanding your company and answering the sometimes tough questions posed by the expert advisors.
As Claritza Diaz, Head of Marketing, for presenting company trutap noted, when choosing the companies to present it's the idea that matters not the gender of the person who has the idea.
Perhaps there is a BlogHer out there with a great idea who will participate next year. Grab your chance to shine!
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