“I can’t decide which of my start-ups I should take to Demo Day to pitch for funding”. Oh the plight of the Outbox Incubator exec. Just 17 years old and Ciara Judge has three start-ups which are funding-worthy. The ideas existed before she joined Outbox, but the latest developments to Germinaid, Zilkr and PurchaseMate and the opportunity for funding has only come through the incubator.
These are big conversations so it’s no wonder that the girls find making them a big deal. We’ve also seen a bit of a startup shuffle this week: one day into Week 2, @hollerrapp (Cats Against Cat Calls as emblazoned on their jumpers at YRS) had asked one of the newest girls to join the house to join their team. Then, late at night, Callie came up to me in her PJs and asked if Grace could sleep in the spare bed in their room.
“It’s just for one night. She says she wants to help us with the graphics & designs for our app, and we want to stay up late working on it tonight”
How could I say no?
Our Outbox execs are clearly taking it seriously and they know that this isn’t just one to six weeks of their life that they’ll complete and then forget. Many of them understand the potential for their learnings from this summer to propel them forwards. And it’s kind of obvious too.
Overheard at Outbox Incubator: “I know we will all have made it in 20 years. When I say “made it”, I mean that we’ll get an official blue tick on twitter”.
We have the women who have lead our sessions to thank for much of this. We have 90 two-hour sessions booked, morning and afternoon, over the 6 weeks. ‘Authentic leadership’ was the topic of Sarah Drinkwater’s session, head of Google Campus and regularly commenting on women’s issues. On the more technical side, Chris O’Dell from JustEat looked through the processes behind the JustEat app (many of these girls are using apps as part of their start-ups) and discussed the ways we can integrate ideas to improve an app. During Lauren Currie’s (Product design consultant) ‘How to change the world’ activity…
Overheard at Outbox Incubator: “This is such a nice exercise – my ego is, like, flushed right now”.
We’re glad you’re getting such a confidence boost from this, girls. No, we really are.
Sue Black, top-dog women in tech advocate, turned up too; postponing her session until next week due to coming down with a cold, she instead spent hours in the house, teaching the girls how to knit and braiding the girls’ hair. Inspiration comes in all shapes and forms.
Then there was just the small matter of a trip to a world-leading investment bank, Goldman Sachs, to tackle. For the Goldman Sachs ‘Community Team Works’ day, the girls worked on a shopping trolley design challenge, as inspired by a real brief that the guys (read literally: in this 90s’ video, it was all guys) at IDEO took on. Their ideas were fantastic, including entertainment systems for children and bumpers to protect supermarket shelves. I’ve never heard so many eggcelent egg-related puns in the presentations at the end of the day either – we were eggstatic.
At the end of a full-on week, it was time to kick back – with a glass of red wine, decided 13 year old Audrey, as she swanned into the living room. Not just with a ton of swagger, but with wine glass in hand too. “It’s particularly good with a good strong cheese”, she quipped. I’m still yet to be convinced about pairing Ribena and cheese, Audrey – sorry.
So yes, #thestruggleisreal but these girls really know how to lighten the tone. And that’s what is so great about them and what has made the Outbox house an absolute pleasure to spend so much time in. They work hard, but they play just as hard. It seems like these girls have got the balance spot on at the moment on the road to entrepreneurship.
Thank you, as always, to all the fantastic people who helped out this week, without whom we wouldn’t have had such a fantastic week 2:
- Tina Mashaalahi (Founder @KweekWeek)
- Ailish Irving, Chris O’Dell (JustEAT)
- Joanne Chidwick (Salesforce)
- Funi Oludaiye (Goldman Sachs)
- Lauren Currie (Cofounder @wearesnook)
- Graham Ruddick (Digital Doughnut)
- Chloe Hole (Topcoder)
- Claire O’Connell (Lecturer, DCU)
- Sue Black (Founder, Techmums & BCS Women)
- Jeremy King (Founder, STIXX).