While we’re completely committed to ensuring that SaaStock events offer an incredible return on investment, we’re well aware of the fact that a multi-day conference in a foreign country may be an unattainable expense for many.
When minorities and marginalized voices are excluded as a result of financial barriers, industry events can rapidly become unrepresentative echo chambers and the preserve of the privileged few. It’s something we never want to see happen at SaaStock, which has always been about bringing the full spectrum of our fantastic community together.
We’re not perfect, but we’re always looking for ways to improve our availability and offering, and a huge component of that ongoing aspiration is our Taking Stock Scholarship Program. This is made possible by the incredible generosity of our leading partner Zendesk and ensures that those for whom attendance was previously impossible, suddenly have the opportunity to be an important part of SaaStock19.
We don’t stop there. In addition to our partnership with Zendesk, the following 12 partners have come onboard to help us offer an even broader raft of benefits and opportunities. This year these will include 1to1 mentoring sessions, a diversity-focused workshop, a female-only networking app and an exclusive “Behind The Scenes” stage, where a handpicked crew of speakers will give insights into the personal realities and impact of growing a SaaS company.
It’s hard to think of better advocates for the power of a supportive community within the SaaS space than Volition. Offering first-rate advisory services for startups, they curate a network-based approach to supercharging the efforts of new ventures and entrepreneurs. Their highly popular Pitch Night event series offers fantastic opportunities for collision, collaboration, and knowledge sharing – and their panel of expert advisors are ready to offer the kind highly pertinent and targeted advice that gets startups firing on all cylinders. In our eyes, they’re the perfect Taking Stock partner: knowledgeable, altruistic, and total champions for the power of bringing people together.
With less than 10% of all venture capital deals going to women, People of Color, and LGBT founders, Backstage Capital take what others see as a pipeline problem and instead view it as “the biggest opportunity in investment.” To date, they’ve invested more than £7M into companies led by founders hailing from underrepresented minorities. In addition to funding, the provide an accelerator; a 3-month program designed to give founders the support they need to reach their next critical milestone. We can’t think of a better VC addition to our Taking Stock partner line up.
Women in Tech World
25% of the tech industry is women. And they get paid $7,000 less annually. Let’s let that sink in. Women in Tech World is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating community action plans and educational programming to support and advance women within the tech industry. Based out of Canada (and with most of their research being centered here), the insights that they are gaining into the inequity of the tech space are wide-reaching and important. Again, huge proponents of the power of community, they take a collaborative and data-driven approach to putting tangible, actionable roadmaps in place for the future betterment of the industry. We’re immensely grateful for the acumen that they’ll bring to our Taking Stock program.
DCU Center of Excellence
Established in 2018, and the first of its kind, the DCU Centre is a central hub for research, advice and knowledge exchange on diversity and inclusion. Based out of Dublin City University, the Centre creates a bridge between DCU’s talent, industry bodies, and specialist groups, helping organizations build cultures of inclusion by providing access to the very latest in academic research, insights and tools on diversity and inclusion. Additionally, it supports organizations in all aspects of their diversity and inclusion journeys. As a locally-based organization who are doing so much great work, we’re thrilled to have them on board for this year’s Taking Stock initiative.
Locelle (pronounced Lok-elle) are the wonderful providers of the women-only networking app at this year’s SaaStock. They provide a safe engagement platform for women in the workplace to easily connect with each other for support and mentorship. In the context of our conference, this means creating a sense of support and friendship that extends beyond the event itself. Sometimes attendance at events such as this can seem a little intimidating or overwhelming; Locelle’s app will ensure that you don’t have to worry about arriving and knowing no one. Offering both corporate and individual plans, we highly recommend checking them out outside of the context of SaaStock for the wider benefits that they can bring in your day to day professional life. We’re very grateful for the extra element that their expertise will bring to attendees’ experience of SaaStock.
With recent research showing that that teams with a male: female ratio of 40:60 are more productive, WhyDesign is working to address the gender imbalance in the design industry across Ireland, by showcasing influential female Irish designers. They support all aspects of creative thinking and are proud to promote brilliant work that women are doing in the creative sector to address the existing 25:75 gender imbalance. Huge cheerleaders for the tangible positive impact of more broadly diverse teams, they’re raising really important questions about equality in both Ireland, the creative sector and the workplace more broadly.
Women Who Code
A real international phenomenon, Women Who Code now counts over 180,000 members in networks across the globe, all envisioning a world where women are proportionally represented as technical leaders, executives, founders, VCs, board members, and software engineers. Membership gives you access to programs and services designed to help you step up your tech career as a woman in a male-dominated industry. With a membership of career-aged tech professionals operating at every level of the industry, WWC are a real force for good in our industry, and we’re so pleased that they’re joining forces with us in Dublin to help bring some of this magic to SaaStock’s Taking Stock initiative.
YSYS, standing for ‘Your Startup, Your Story’ acts as a beacon for founders, developers, creatives, investors and more on a mission to make an impact. Firm believers in the idea that amazing things happen when people start sharing ideas and collaborating, their community is a space for people with shared values interested in launching a startup, joining a team or building a diverse and inclusive culture. They run a series of three programs, offering everything from mentoring to investment-readiness. In addition to creating this network, they also support accelerators, incubators, venture capitalists, startups, not-for-profits, universities and corporates on initiatives that foster diversity, inclusion and social change.
Dawn Capital are a tech-loving, early-stage VC firm who are known for their unwavering belief in the diverse entrepreneurs that they back. From college dropouts to those who graduated from the very top schools, they place real importance on passion, drive and ambition – regardless of background. Focused on the sectors of Enterprise Software and Fintech, their portfolio companies include Mimecast, iZettle, Neo Technology, iControl, Showpad, and Gelato Group. It’s wonderful to have them contributing their significant experience and advice to the members of this year’s Taking Stock program.
Femstreet offer an incredible resource for those looking to get a broader female-focused angle on the industry, with a brilliantly curated weekly newsletter on Women in Tech and Venture Capital. In addition to top headline stories, they also pull together industry insights, investment news, founder/operator focussed content, upcoming events, and an incredibly handy resources list, featuring a broad range of relevant rabbit holes to find yourself falling down. Subscription is free and easy, enabling readers to discover investor leads, female-founded companies, and relevant news, as well as connecting with fellow founders, funders and industry experts. In an industry that can be fairly binary and unbalanced in its approach to representation in the media and press, FemStreet are a real breath of fresh air, and we’re delighted that they’re supporting this year’s Taking Stock.
Celebrating the diverse contributions of migrant women and non-binary people and providing support to advance their ongoing careers, GoingFar are an initiative in close collaboration with Microsoft Ireland. With 1 in 6 people in Ireland born outside of the country, they champion the benefits that gender and ethnic diversity brings to the workplace, improving our ability to tap into the unexplored skills that help the global economy thrive. They offer a range of events from a mentoring program to seminars and workshops, with their latest event celebrating the diverse range of migrants working within Ireland today. As an initiative in perfect alignment with the goals of our Taking Stock program, we’re very excited to have them on board for 2019.
Girls In Tech
Girls in Tech is a global non-profit organization focused on the engagement, education, and empowerment of women in technology. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in San Francisco, the Girls in Tech global community is 47 chapters strong with an impact of more than 62,000 members in 33 countries. They combine the power of community and technology to network, share wisdom, make friends, and start businesses, and have seen incredible results through their programs of empowerment and education. We have a huge respect for the work they’ve done and continue to do, and are delighted that they’ll be a part of SaaStock this year.
If you’d like to learn more about the various ways that SaaStock are looking to improve our diversity and inclusion, you can read about our multiple initiatives and commitments here. When it comes to providing a platform for marginalized voices, the SaaS industry must work harder and do better. We have a long way to go, but with the help of Zendesk and the 12 fantastic partners outlined in this article, we’re excited to be taking steps in the right direction.
If your ambitions are aligned with ours in this area, we’d like to invite you to take the #takingstock pledge to show your ongoing commitment ahead of SaaStock19.