Lessons from Leading Women Tech Entrepreneurs

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, and in some cases sold businesses in the tech sector. Our women entrepreneurs event was timed to take place immediately after Global Entrepreneurship Week, which ran from 8-14 November this year. Our event was held on Zoom.

Audrey Mandela, WiTT Chair and co-founder of Multimap.com, chaired the panel. Our speakers were:

  • Zarja Cibej, Founder and CEO, myTamarin;
  • Hannah Dawson, Co-Founder and CEO, Futrli; and
  • Rose Hulse, Founder & CEO at ScreenHits TV.

Our panel discussed their views and experiences, including:

  • panelists’ own challenges in starting and growing (and in some cases selling) their businesses;
  • best and worst decisions made while building their businesses;
  • whether panelists believe there are differences between male and female entrepreneurs, the types of businesses they start, their management styles, and their experiences raising capital;
  • views on scaling up businesses started in the UK; and
  •  advice for other women entrepreneurs.

To watch a video of this discussion, please go to the WiTT YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/Iz6oDcD33vM

Chair and Panelist biographies

Panel Chair
Audrey Mandela
Chair, Women in Telecoms & Technology / Co-Founder, Multimap /Independent Consultant / Angel Investor

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 market research and consulting services for select clients in the telecom, internet and geographical information 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 also a member of the advisory board of Angel Academe, an angel network that focuses on investments in women-led businesses; a member of the TEDxCouncil and an advisor for TEDxLondonBusinessSchool; a non-executive director on several tech start-ups; and a board director for Wedu, a charity that mentors and supports young women leaders from underserved communities in Southeast Asia.

Speakers

Zarja Cibej
Founder and CEO
myTamarin

Zarja was previously a professional athlete with multiple alpine ski championship titles. She spent a decade working as a corporate lawyer, and a management consultant with BCG before founding myTamarin in 2017. myTamarin is an award winning and much loved childcare brand, providing the highest quality childcare solutions to parents in London & beyond. Given the popular demand by parents, myTamarin now offers childcare as an employee benefit to corporates as well.

Hannah Dawson
Co-Founder and CEO
Futrli

Hannah is the founder and CEO of Futrli, the small business platform.

Cash flow, cash management and making the best decisions are a challenge for every business. Futrli uses AI to simplify and prioritise what needs to be done in your business every day, so you don’t need to plough through the numbers and can focus on the things you love.

She drives the product and platform vision, having founded Futrli after nearly losing a previous business due to not understanding the impact of cash flow! With 150m small businesses out there and 50% still failing, our mission is to reverse this stat.

Chosen as one of the Maserati 100, 2019 cohort of Entrepreneurs and Innovators in association with the Sunday Times.

 

Rose Adkins Hulse
Founder & CEO
ScreenHits TV

With more than 20 years of experience in the media, entertainment and technology sectors, Rose Hulse founded and serves as CEO of the highly selective, curated app-based streaming aggregator, ScreenHits TV (SHTV).

Hulse started the London-based aggregation service in March 2020 with a soft launch, which followed its transition from serving as a successful B2B aggregator for the entertainment industry since 2012. With many of her studio clients shifting their focus to the consumer streaming market – a trend she began to notice several years earlier – the longtime entertainment corporate development and distribution executive set out with a vision to create an independent aggregation service solely focused on making the consumer experience easier.

Overcoming a number of barriers for a diverse woman of color who was not seen as being part of the tech industry, Hulse leveraged her corporate, startup and entrepreneurial skills to develop and officially launch ScreenHits TV in April 2021. Raising more than $6.2 million in capital and rapidly recruiting 25 top industry executives to more than triple her workforce – up from eight previously – Hulse has secured partnerships with major U.S., UK and German content providers such as NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Television, Lionsgate, AMC Networks, BBC, iPlayer, Channel 4, ITV Hub, BFI, ATP TV and JOYN, the ProSiebenSat.1 Media and Discovery joint VOD venture, among others.

Today, SHTV operates in the U.S., UK and Germany with nearly 500,000 subscribers. It is on track to hit one million subscribers by year’s end and to be in 22 countries over the next two years across Europe, Africa, the Indian sub-continent, Latin and North America – with imminent launches set for Q4 2021 in Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Spain, India, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Romania. In the U.S., it currently houses 32 streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, Paramount + and Hulu.

Hulse’s burgeoning company is building out desktop, tablet, connected TV and mobile platforms, all of which are designed to let consumers overwhelmed by the sheer number of SVOD and AVOD services integrate all of their best streaming apps in one place, easily bundle them and earn discounts on the content and platforms they like the most. The mobile and tablet apps offer the social feature, TV Friends, which enables users to see what their friends are watching and liking.

Hulse started her career in politics in 1998 for Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan in his international trade department, organizing international trade missions for him while working closely with the movie and TV industries on incentives to film locally. She soon transitioned to the entertainment industry as director of corporate relations for the TV marketing association PROMAX & BDA, senior promotions manager at The Hollywood Reporter, director of corporate development for the Sundance Film Institute and director of studio partnerships for Universal Pictures’ film and DVD divisions. Later, while serving as EVP of business development for Argentina’s regional film production company, Indiecito/Illusion Studios, Hulse contributed her time to the Buenos Aires kids’ non-profit FOCO to raise funds for local community centers in disadvantaged communities.

Prior to forming her own business, Hulse helped lead the expansion of Audio Network, one of the world’s largest independent creators and publishers of original music for use in film, TV, advertising and digital media, into the U.S. as VP of development from 2010-12. The successful expansion ultimately resulted in the company’s $215 million sale to Entertainment One in 2019.

Hulse is one the 80 senior-level film, TV, video game and digital leaders chosen for the British Screen Forum, which examines the evolving media landscape, emerging technologies, policy and the regulatory environment; a member of OTT.X (formerly the Entertainment Merchants Association); a steering committee member of DEG – Digital Entertainment Group, which supports new formats and media platforms, along with direct-to-consumer content and device manufacturers; and serves as an advisory board member of TRIC, a non-profit that for nearly a century has raised money for good causes through social events and the high-profile TRIC Awards, while promoting mutual understanding and goodwill among those in broadcast technology and related industries across TV, radio and online platforms.

A frequent speaker at entertainment industry conferences and events, Hulse balances her growing business with her family and a steadfast determination to speak out against racism and – in her quest to improve equality, diversity and opportunity – the challenges women of color face both in the tech world and capital markets.

She is also active in many charitable and arts causes including the Malaika Charity, offering the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo access to electricity, clean water and educational facilities; New York’s Bowery Mission, which supports the homeless; and serving on the steering committee of the National Gallery’s Young Ambassador program.

Hulse, who is married to George Hulse and raising two children in the UK, attended USC and California State University, Northridge, where she received a B.S. degree in Business Administration.