W4WiT April: Melanie & Laura
Welcome to our Women for Women in Tech Blog post!
The intention of this series is for Tango to connect with the tech community as a whole and to better understand this industry from the female perspective. We want to participate in the global conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion.
Laura Schaack, Founder of Tattd has been working for early stage startups for ten years.
“I don’t know what I would do if I got a corporate job!”Laura Schaack, Founder of Tattd
She jokes as she introduces herself, energy and passion for innovation present in every idea she shares. The entrepreneurial mindset led her to find gaps in the art world, and so Tattd was born. Tattd is an app that connects people to local tattoo artists perfectly tailored to their needs, while providing a platform for artists to market themselves to their ideal client.
“I heard the side of the artist, living paycheck to paycheck, or having to figure out what social media marketing is. I’m very business minded so I can lend that side of my brain to artists, who in turn have become brand ambassadors within their community, promoting the app. Since I don’t charge them, I was able to do a data scraping project and launch with four thousand artists already in the app”Laura Schaack, Founder of Tattd
Laura studied non-profit management, and that mission driven mindset shows in her volunteer work. She’s currently a board member at SpeakHer, an organization that’s under the umbrella of App Growth Summit.
“SpeakHer seeks to give women in tech the chance to go on a stage for a conference or a panel and share their expertise. It’s all merit based and the main goal is to work with these women to develop their voice and speaking skills to be successful”Laura Schaack, Founder of Tattd
Girls with impact is another initiative that Laura joined, to teach middle school girls about entrepreneurship.
“The curriculum literally is all the bullet points that you need to know as a founder. They’re learning what an MVP is, how to validate a concept and their projects are very social impact driven and very environmentally conscious, which is so cool to see”Laura Schaack, Founder of Tattd
What advice would you give to any female entrepreneurs today?
“Lean on advisors and mentors. What’s really cool about the startup industry is that people will give you their time. I’ve had so many meetings with entrepreneurs that I respect where I just pick their brain and hear about their journey”Laura Schaack, Founder of Tattd
Like Laura, Melanie Wertzberger, Founder of Shaka Culture App also found a gap in the business world.
“I was working in corporate but changed to working at a startup; I got to see what it means to scale a startup and interact with investors. This led to Shaka Culture. We’re focused on creating a sense of community and bringing people together to make happier workplaces”Melanie Wertzberger, Founder of Shaka Culture App
Through interviews with HR departments, business leaders and studying the psychology of happiness, Melanie and her team have created a tool that helps companies build strong cultures, increase collaboration and boost employee engagement. Some of their features include integrations with calendars, creation of goals and challenges (group or individual).
“I just thought the world needed this tool right now, to keep employees connected. I got a lot of beta clients; I’m lucky that the world has found remote work to be a productive path. And it puts Shaka in a great position to continue to develop our platform and solve problems”Melanie Wertzberger, Founder of Shaka Culture App
Is there anything Shaka is doing to help women in tech?
“We’re working on a mentorship feature and we’re hoping it helps connect and empower women in an organization. Working from home is not that great for women and career progression; women are less likely to interrupt and speak up in calls. It appears that the loudest person in the call is the most valuable and that’s simply not true”Melanie Wertzberger, Founder of Shaka Culture App
In our previous talk we discussed VC and the importance of diversity. What has been your experience with funding?
“There’s a difference between how women and men pitch”, Melanie points out. “Women pitch based on progress and what they’ve accomplished. Men pitch on potential. Since we’re not boasting, investors see us as less confident and as a risk; this is why they ask us preventive questions. Founders that get asked preventive questions get six times less capital. So I’m learning that you need to swerve into promotive questions”Melanie Wertzberger, Founder of Shaka Culture App
“That’s really interesting! Now I’m wondering if this is how I’m pitching”, Laura jumps in. “As far as my experience goes, I have tattoos and facial piercings, so I’m not making it easy for myself. I’ve had investors withdraw because they said tattooing was wrong and against morality clauses. So I also wonder, what hasn’t been invested in, because it doesn’t fall under white male interests? It all comes down to this:
If there’s no diversity in investment, there’s no diversity in innovation”Laura Schaack, Founder of Tattd
For the recording to this episode and many more check out