Women 2.0 and Kauffman Foundation Pioneer New Wave of Job Creation with Founder Labs

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Founder Labs focuses on Entrepreneurship in Action using Lean Startup Methods and Agile Development Techniques

Women 2.0 is pleased to announce a Kauffman Foundation sponsorship in support of Founder Labs, a pre-incubator program whose mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups worldwide. This sponsorship will double the outreach of Women 2.0 enabling additional Founder Labs, which will serve at least 100 aspiring entrepreneurs in 2011.

Founded in 2006, Women 2.0 has offered variations of workshops, competitions and networking programs over the last four years, all of which were the genesis of the Founder Labs format. Focused on idea validation, customer development, and rapid-prototyping, Founder Labs features five groups of five people who “moonlight” for five weeks (and often weekends), using lean startup methodology. A hands-on, “get it built” experience that fosters gender balanced technology teams - 50% men and women and 50% technical and non-technical.

In the Founder Labs program, teams develop new skills in lean startup methodology which enable them to quickly evaluate markets and validate startup ideas. The program also gives individuals a taste of the fast-paced life of a high-growth entrepreneur. It is this aspect of Women 2.0’s work that caught the interest at Kauffman Foundation.

“Providing women entrepreneurs with entrepreneurship skills, access to mentors and networks are critical to the success of early stage firms. Aligning resources with Women 2.0 will support the growth of new firms and therefore support economic recovery and growth,.” says Lesa Mitchell, vVice pPresident of Advancing Innovation at the Kauffman Foundation.

The first two Labs have produced promising start-ups who are beginning their journey. House of Mikko, is a beauty recommendation engine targeting ethnic consumers, and Spoondate, is a fun way to grow your circle of foodie friends. Both of these companies have gained interest from the next phase of the funnel - capital. The framework for Founder Labs puts innovation in the front seat of job creation. By stimulating entrepreneurship, jobs are created and thus Founder Labs is impacting one of the greatest challenges society faces today. “There is no secret that despite best efforts put forth by many parties, job recovery is just not happening at the rate that will have a meaningful impact on our society,” says Shaherose Charania, CEO and co-founder of Women 2.0.

Founder Labs’ unique approach and value proposition have also attracted top names in the entrepreneurial education and venture fields. Among them are Steve Blank, creator of customer development and author of the ground breaking book Four Steps to the Epiphany and Eric Ries, creator of Lean StartUp Methodology. Classified as Founding Fellows of Founder Labs, they serve as cornerstones for each Founder Lab – they participate in teaching core methodologies and provide ongoing feedback and guidance to the teams. Founder Labs is also pleased to have as Fellows Theresia Ranzetta Gouw of Accel Partners, Ann Miura-Ko of Floodgate and Dave McClure of 500Startups, each of whom bring distinction to Women 2.0 as supporters, and Founder Labs as

Charania says, “Founder Labs, and Women 2.0 is in the business of empowering people to create companies...and that creates jobs. Our supporters and this sponsorship will help us get our arms around growth, bringing that benefit to more cities across the US, and eventually, the globe. The two Founder Labs planned for the first part of 2011 are happening thanks to the generosity of the Kauffman Foundation.”

Please contact Angie Chang, (415) 299-7166

The mission of Women 2.0 is to increase the number of female founders of tech startups. A social venture based in San Francisco, Women 2.0 offers a 5-week pre-incubator program for entrepreneurs to validate their business idea and find startup co-founders. Women 2.0 hosts Founder Friday networking mixers globally in support of Startup Weekend. For more information, please visit http://www.women2.org/

Kauffman is a $2B non-profit foundation devoted to entrepreneurship — they fund Nobel prize winners. And now they want to reach you — the future founders of high-growth companies.


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Angie Chang
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