SXSW presents opportunities for women-led startups to learn and grow

Brooke Sjoberg

South by Southwest is a good business opportunity for startups, and although most corporation-sponsored contests for funding are over, there are still great avenues for women-led startups to gain knowledge and hear advice from the pros about getting their foot in the door and keeping it open. Here are The Daily Texan’s top SXSW speaking and networking events for women-led startups. 

Black Women and the Invisible Billion Dollar Startup

Monday, March 12, 5–6 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon J

Successful startup founders will speak about funding, access, resources and awareness concerning black women in tech. The panel will speak about their experiences creating successful startups and maintaining them while overcoming the hurdles they have faced as black women in business. Their conversation will focus on the solutions to address these issues and oversight in order to support a black woman as the next billion dollar startup founder. 

The Future of Business is Female

Sunday, March 11, 12:30–1:30 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon J

The conversation will focus on how new research and the #MeToo movement have opened up new pathways for investing in female leaders to become entrepreneurs, investors, global leaders, journalists, scientists, philanthropists and CEOs in male-dominated fields. In this panel, several women in business will be speaking about why equal opportunity for women is paramount to finding backers for a successful startup. 

Building a Badass Business Against All Odds

Thursday, March 15, 2–3 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon A

A new model for building startups has become necessary for underdogs in tech, and this panel might just have the solution. Confronting struggles encountered by non-traditional startup entrepreneurs, Building a Badass Business Against All Odds will focus on how the rules governing startup development have changed in just one generation, and how they can be manipulated in your favor. They will speak about tapping into resources and communities needed to launch, validate and grow a tech startup when the odds are stacked against them.

How Can Venture Capital Achieve Gender Parity?

Tuesday, March 13, 5–6 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon B

In 2016, only 5 percent of venture capital funding went to women-led startups. In order to teach women how to seize more of what VC has to offer for their benefit, Doree Shafrir, a senior tech writer for BuzzFeed News, will moderate a panel to answer the question of how recent revelations about sexual harassment in the industry can help women gain more funding. The talk will focus on empowering women to take what they are due from venture capital, as they are a demographic which has been long overlooked.

Waking Up to the $200B Femtech Opportunity

Friday, March 9, 11 a.m.–12 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K

As investors catch on to the market potential of tech startups serving women’s health, the retail side of this market is being revolutionized through apps, programs and services. With these new developments, new services rise to meet previously unknown needs. The talk will address this untapped market and explore the role of bias in investors’ lateness to embrace it.

Improving Diversity and Reducing Harassment in VC

Saturday, March 10, 11 a.m.–12 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon C

Having previously reported on harassment in the business of venture capital, Reed Albergotti will be moderating a discussion of continued harassment in the industry. Niniane Wang of Evertoona and Sarah Kunst of have both dealt with harassment in their careers as founders and will be sharing their experiences, discussing the culture within the community of VC, diversity among decision-makers and the climate for women in tech.