This entry is part of our summer blog series on women in the tech sector. We chose women and companies that we find Ursula – InHerSight interesting and we asked them about what they’ve learned along the way. Below we have the responses from the Founder and CEO of InHerSight, Ursula Mead. Her comments set expectations on what its really like to be an entrepreneur and highlights how they go about improving the workplace for women.
What we asked: What is InHerSight?
What she said: At InHerSight.com we help women find companies where they can succeed. We do this through an anonymous company ratings platform — like Glassdoor — but specifically for women. Women have rated nearly 40,000 companies in the US, sharing their insights to help more women find their ideal workplaces, whether that’s an environment where they can climb the corporate ladder, make it to their daughter’s soccer games, find great training and development opportunities, and more.
What we asked: What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs?
What she said: I could go on for pages about the things I’ve learned as an entrepreneur in general and as a woman entrepreneur specifically — being an entrepreneur may just be the best education you can get. But three lessons stand out and are recurring themes as we grow our business. The first is that your founding team is critical. Don’t underestimate the importance of making sure that you have the right people, personalities and skills on board to build a company for the next ten years.
Second, build a supportive ecosystem for your startup. I highly recommend that you seek out and build relationships with the other entrepreneurs around you and find opportunities to meet on a friendly, social basis to share successes and challenges. It takes work to build a network like this, but it’s worth it. When you find and cultivate the right tribe of fellow entrepreneurs, there’s an incredible amount of shared value.
And finally, brace yourself. Starting your own company is a roller coaster. The highs are high and the lows are low and you can feel elated and in the pit of despair all in the same day. The key is to remember that what you are feeling is temporary, whether it’s bad or good, so get whatever learning or enjoyment you can from each moment.
What we asked: How is it to be a relatively young company in the DC Market? What is missing?
What she said: While we started our company in the DC area and still have some of our team based there, last year we moved our headquarters down to Durham, NC. Both cities have ecosystems that are rich with entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, and mentors who are all willing to help you find your footing and who want to see you succeed. One thing that is special about Durham and specifically about American Underground, the coworking space where we are based, is its focus on diversity. Nearly 50% of the founders in our community are women or underrepresented minorities. Diversity is something we care about deeply, so it’s awesome to be in an environment that shares that value and focus.
What we asked: What is InHerSight focused on in 2017?
What she said: Our number one focus has been and continues to be gathering insights from working women about their workplaces. Women (and men!) have already rated thousands of employers, from government agencies to household names like Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, and Walmart, but we’re just getting started, which is why the most important thing we’re asking women to do now is to rate their workplaces and help us spread the word on social media, to organizations they’re a part of, and especially to other women at their companies.
As we know from other crowd-sourced ratings platforms like TripAdvisor and Angie’s List, the more people who participate, the more valuable and useful the information becomes.
What we asked: Did you know the company was going to need data gathering, editorial, and a job board to complement one another from the start? Did you have to pick a focal point?
What she said: They say that successful entrepreneurs and companies can predict the future, meaning that great companies design products and solutions that audiences and markets want before they even know it. From an operational perspective, that means regularly revisiting your vision and strategy to make sure you are laying the right foundation to achieve your goals. We have known from the start that data is critical to the value we can create — after all, our mission is to improve the workplace for women by measuring it. So that’s where we started and that’s the basis for many of the other pieces of the business that we build out.
If this post was of interest to you, then check out some of the other posts in this series.