The November meeting of Women in Telecoms & Technology (WiTT) celebrated women entrepreneurs in tech with a panel discussion among leading women who have founded, grown, sold, and promoted businesses in the tech sector. Our women entrepreneurs event was timed to take place immediately after Global Entrepreneurship Week, which ran from 12-18 November this year.
Audrey Mandela, WiTT Chair and co-founder of Multimap.com, chaired the panel. She was joined by:
- Shirin Dehghan, Senior Partner, Frog Capital; founder and CEO, Arieso (acquired by JDSU);
- Bethany Koby, Co-founder and CEO, Tech Will Save Us; and
- Catherine Wines, Director & Co-Founder, WorldRemit Ltd.
Their biographies are below.
To see a video of the event, please go to the WiTT YouTube Channel.
Here are a few insights from our speakers:
“Be No 1 in your market; No 2 and 3 just pick up the crumbs.”
“Your technology is only 10% of what it takes to be successful.”
“Make sure your co-founder has complementary skills.”
“Doing a start-up is a journey and many things change on the way.”
“Doing a start-up is like throwing yourself of a cliff – you go into free-fall.”
“Take a mentor early – someone who has done it before.”
“Recruitment is hard when you are growing fast – hire people as soon as you are able.”
“Every entrepreneur is totally insane! Something drives/ outshines your fear!”
“Make sure that what you are doing is something you are passionate about.”
“Being an entrepreneur is 1,000 times harder than you think and a million times more rewarding.”
“However hard you are working to make it a success find time for yourself.”
Chair and Panelist biographies
Co-Founder, Multimap; Chair, WiTT
Audrey Mandela is chair of Women in Telecoms & Technology (WiTT), a networking group for women in the sector. She also runs Mandela Associates, which provides consulting services for clients in the telecom, internet and geographical sectors.
Audrey was Co-Founder of Multimap, one of the world’s leading online mapping providers, where she acted as the company’s corporate counsel and marketing director, and was a board director. Multimap was acquired by Microsoft in December 2007.
Audrey was formerly Senior Vice President, International, for the Yankee Group, one of the industry’s leading IT research firms. As Senior VP, Audrey was responsible for managing the Yankee Group’s research, consulting and sales activities in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Audrey is a member of the steering committee for the Global Board Ready Women initiative; a board director for Wedu, a charity that mentors and supports young women leaders from underserved communities; a member of the advisory board of Angel Academe, an angel network that focuses on investments in women-led businesses; and an NED at several start-ups, including Hiver; a networking app.
Senior Partner, Frog Capital
Founder and CEO, Arieso
Shirin founded, expanded and subsequently sold mobile communications business Arieso. A University of Southampton Engineering alumna, she has over 20 years’ experience in the software and mobile communications industry. She is a senior partner at Frog Capital where she sits on the board of Skimlinks.
She is also the Non-exec Chairwoman of Opensignal, a UK based company that sets the gold standard for mobile experience globally. Shirin is a passionate advisor and board member to companies wishing to transform their business.
Catherine co-founded WorldRemit in 2010, convinced that digital innovation would enable faster, lower-cost money transfers around the world. Her current board responsibilities focus on corporate governance and compliance, and she frequently represents the company with keynote appearances at conferences and in the international media talking on issues from fintech and innovation to women in business.
A qualified accountant, she has extensive international experience and has held several previous corporate leadership roles. She is also the Pathway Leader for the Fintech Entrepreneurship Specialist Pathway at Cambridge Judge Launchpad.
Co-Founder & CEO
Tech Will Save Us
Bethany Koby is the co-founder and CEO of Tech Will Save Us who are on a mission to fill the technology skills gap by providing fun, educational, accessible experiences for young kids and engaged parents to creatively engage with technology.
Koby is also a mum, designer, educator and entrepreneur. She is passionate about shaping a brighter future for kids by empowering them to create with rather than be fearful of, or passive to, technology.
In 2018, Koby was awarded Innovator of the Year at the Technology Playmaker Awards. Koby has also been named one of the Designer’s that Matter by Wired Magazine, one of the Top 50 Creative Leaders by Creative Review, Barclay’s Entrepreneur of the Year and has spoken at TED Kids, Resonate and Maker Faire, to name a few.
Originally from Los Angeles, Koby now lives in London with her husband and co-founder, Daniel Hirschmann, and their son.