Anya Ivanova was one of the more memorable participants from Startup Weekend last September. Not only was hers the last of 48 pitches on the Friday evening, as you will see below, Anya was the only female pitcher and ultimately went on to lead one of the more enthusiast teams over the course of a very successful weekend.
With #SWPerth now officially sold out, we are really excited to announce that more than 20% of participants this time around are of the fairer sex – that ratio is at least THREE times more than in the technology industry as a whole; a terrific achievement from the ladies of Perth, which we’re hoping will translate into another nine or ten talented women pitching their ideas and leading teams at the next Startup Weekend in March… But that’s enough from us for now – let’s hear from Anya as she shares some of her #SWPerth experiences!
The inaugural Startup Weekend in Perth was one of the highlights of the year for me. It was exciting, it was stressful, and it changed the way I perceived myself. I feel it expanded the opportunities that are available to me.
I knew I wanted to do Startup Weekend the moment I heard about it. I entered without expectations and with an open mind, wanting only to meet people and find out about the tech scene in Perth.
I was not planning to pitch. As I walked into the room where I was to spend the next 54 hours and saw the 100 people I was going to spend them with, I was struck by how many men were here. I looked around and spotted just a couple of women. At my Uni, we called these “sausage parties”.
People were lining up to pitch and it bothered me that there was not a single woman in line. This is what made me decide to pitch. I came up with the idea for a “review site for hair salons” and a 60 second pitch as I stood in line. I wanted to captivate the audience, make it clear and funny. I think I achieved this as I saw smiles spread across people’s faces.
Then of course, as soon as I pitched, my competitive side kicked in and I wanted a team and I wanted to win. Right after the pitch, I anxiously waited to see if anybody would come up to me and want to join my team.
My first team member joined, and then several others, and the rest is history. Our team came 4th, and in the process I learned that I can lead a team of 8, I can convince salons to sign contracts, I can approach people on the street, I can put together business models, I can present to judges and a crowd of 100. Most importantly, I remembered what inspiration feels like.