We wanted to use the March edition of our monthly video podcast to put focus on the brilliant women founders in our startup ecosystem. Luckily we have many to choose from in Barcelona, so we invited business angel and co-founder and CEO of B-Wom Helena Torras, co-founder of Geenapp Gina Tostand CEO and co-founder of Eelp! Nina Alastruey to discuss the status for women in tech in 2017, with a special focus on Spain and Barcelona.

Helena Torras is the co-founder and CEO of B-Wom as well as being an experienced business angel and director of Fund Of Funds.

Being a women is an advantage

Torras explains that being an entrepreneur, and being a woman in startups has changed a lot the last ten years. However, a decade ago, she always felt that being a woman was an advantage:

I was the only one, so when I went an event or a meeting, people remembered me. Ten years ago, all investors and entrepreneurs were men, that has changed with time, but I always saw being a women as an advantage.

Alastruey has a different approach that what it means being a woman in tech in 2017:

I think it’s super tough and very difficult. I remember being in an investor meeting with my previous startup in Silicon Valley, and one of the investors asked me what I did at the company. I said I was the CEO, and he was super surprised, he thought I worked with marketing, that’s the general conception.

Tost which founded Geenapp four years ago, said it wasn’t easy becoming an entrepreneurs, but that other women in the startup community, made it much easier:

Compared to Helena and Nina I don’t have that much experience, but when I started out it was easier because I had a network of great women entrepreneurs from Barcelona around me, and that empowered me to work even harder.

The power of diverse teams

All three entrepreneurs believe the startup ecosystem is the perfect place for women interesting in tech to start their career.

Alastruey puts it like this:

Women are incredible as they’re able to multi-task in a different way than men are capable of. For a startup that needs everyone to take responsibility, this is a skill that is in demand.

Tost, founded Geenapp together with Javier Casares and Jaime Ferre:

I have a very diverse team, and from the beginning I was always the multitasker, doing everything, and I think that’s why my more experienced team-members liked me. We started working together almost five years ago, and we’ve know raised a kid that’s kind of big.

Gina Tost co-founded Geenapp with her founders almost five years ago. The company links app creators and users is one of the Spain’s most successful SaaS startups.

Torras has invested in many different types of teams, but she says one thing is clear:

It’s not about having only women or having only men, all studies show that diverse teams perform better than non-diverse startups. It’s all about finding the right balance of talent, and I think a diverse team is the best way to go.

CEO and co-founder of Eelp!, Nina Alastruey think it’s extremely tough to be a women entrepreneur in 2017.

Need to prioritize networking

Even though Torras has never seen being a women as a negative thing in the startup community, she does have some advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs:

Some founders think it’s enough to do well during working hours, but I think you need to go out and network and meet people. It’s a key to building trust with investors and other entrepreneurs.

Alastruey says there’s still challenges also in these areas, and that women founders often are kept out of the networking circle because a lot of it happens in an environment mostly reserved for men:

You rarely see investors who are men inviting a women founder to play golf, and it’s not as normal to go out with your investors and have a beer if you’re a woman as if you’re a man.

Torras disagrees:

I do all the same things as any other man would do, investor or entrepreneur.

Support each other

Tost doesn’t think there’s a clear path to making the startup ecosystem more diverse:

There’s no list of things we should get done to become a more diverse tech hub, it boils down to supporting each other as women in tech and working really hard for what you want to achieve.

Also Torras thinks supporting each other’s progress is more important than anything else:

I always believed in seeing opportunities, before challenges. I like to stay positive and focus on the positive things that are happening in the space of women in tech in Spain.

She continues:

If you are involved in the startup ecosystem, and you show ambition and the right vision, I think being a women is more and more becoming an advantage.

Torras explains that there’s big things going on, and that she can’t reveal exactly what yet, but that it will benefit women in tech in Barcelona and Spain is for sure.

To get the full discussion, take a look at the video in the top.

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W.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A COWORKING SPACE FOR YOUR STARTUP

Your home office or a coffee shop won’t be enough!

Yes, we all know the tale about the guy who starts a small company in their garage or basement, has a brilliant idea and becomes the next Steve Jobs. It’s true, most successes have very humble beginnings. It’s also true that not all garage or basements are going to magically get you a successful business. They might work in the very (veeeery) early stages of your startup, but you can’t always meet a client at coffee shops, not to say your basement. 

A great, if not the best, solution is to find a coworking space. Coworking spaces have become very popular all over the world, either for freelancers or entrepreneurs and startups. 

Coworking spaces are not just big rooms with desks and chairs with high-speed wifi. The areas are made to be exciting places to work and improve your productivity.

As a startup, you need to find resources fast and affordably. More importantly, you’ll need motivation. This is why you should consider a coworking space. 

Here are some basic but amazing benefits from coworking spaces:

Community

Joining a coworking means joining a community.  Being surrounded by other entrepreneurs, freelancers and talented independent people is without doubt a one of the best features of a coworking.

Motivation is key when starting a new project and trying to develop your own business. The road will get though and you’ll appreciate other entrepreneurs’ vision and support! Other workers’ feedback can be very useful to improve your service/product before trying to sell it to the world. 

Networking, networking and…networking!

As a startup, you’ll be looking for networking opportunities. Most coworkings host professionals from different kind of industries, which can open up many doors for you and your business. Not all coworking spaces are about networking, some of them prefer to have a quiet individual work environment, so as a startup you have to make sure to choose a coworking with networking opportunities.

At Itnig, for example, we love to share ideas and support other entrepreneurs. Don’t be shy, some of the other coworking tenants can bring great business opportunities, or even become new clients (and friends)! 

Budgetfriendly

As entrepreneurs (or people for that matter) it’s very important to understand the importance of money, more specifically: budget. Tight budgets call for smart spending. Coworkings are usually budget friendly, most of them offer different membership options depending on your startup’s needs and budget.

Amenities 

A coworking provides you with everything needed to be as productive as possible. High speed internet connection, printers, conference rooms and COFFEE. Some coworkings even plan afterwork activities and events to make it all more fun! As a startup, a coworking space is your best chance at having all the basic amenities but also the fun ones, like a ping pong table or a nice chill out terrace. 

Happy clients

As you grow and have more clients, it can get messy if you keep meeting them in coffee shops. Coworking spaces offer office services such as conference rooms. That way your meetings will be more professional and comfortable for everyone. 

Barcelona is a city full of coworkings of every kind! Our Itnig community keeps growing, we now have up to 20 startups such as Andjoy, Classlife, Factorial and Freeverse, all under the same roof. We have afterwork activities and we also plan different kinds of events open to anyone interested in marketing, tech stuff, entrepreneurship and design. Our space is about 2.100m2 with up to 800m2 of conference rooms, events space, ping pong and fun activities. 

There’s also  wifi, endless coffee and talented people. Join us!