This CEO used to help startups at Silicon Valley's hottest mentorship program. Now, with a professional network for women, she'll go through it herself
- Last week, Elpha launched as an independent company, spinning out of the famed Y Combinator startup accelerator program.
- Cofounders Cadran Cowansage, Kuan Luo, and Abadesi Osunsade founded Elpha to build an online network of women in tech to provide each other with advice and resources - especially since women often find themselves as the only female member of their team.
- Elpha will become part of this summer's Y Combinator batch.
View all Offers
Dettol Original Germ Protection Bathing Soap bar, 125 gm, Buy 4 Get 1 Free₹ 220Buy On
Dettol Original Germ Protection Liquid Handwash Refill, 1500ml (Price Off)₹ 208Buy On
Mamaearth Onion Hair Fall Shampoo for Hair Growth & Hair Fall Control, with Onion Oil & Plant Keratin 250ml₹ 349Buy On
- 30% OFF
Pampers All round Protection Pants, Large size baby diapers (LG) 64 Count, Anti Rash diapers, Lotion with Aloe Vera₹ 801₹ 1149Buy On
Mamaearth Onion Oil for Hair Growth & Hair Fall Control with Redensyl 150ml₹ 399Buy On
Elpha began its existence as Leap, a project that Cowansage started and spearheaded while working at Y Combinator. In early February, after accruing some 7,500 members, Leap was spun out into its own indepdendent company, and given its new moniker to match the occassion. Appropriately, Cowansage originally connected with cofounders Luo and Osunsade via Leap.It's already gotten its first round of angel funding to get it off the ground. To bring things full circle, Elpha will join this summer's batch of Y Combinator startups. The Y Combinator program - which counts Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitch among its alumni - puts founders through intensive coaching, while also investing a small amount.
As an employee of Y Combinator, Cowansage observed the process; now she'll be part of it."I just had this realization that to take Elpha to the next level, I needed to have a little bit of pressure and have a founding team," Cowansage said. "I wanted to apply the lessons I was learning by watching startups and do it myself. I feel like there's a major opportunity here."
How Elpha worksCowansage was inspired to start Leap, and later Elpha, by in-person interactions with other women. She wanted to recreate these kind of connections online to build friendships.
On Elpha, women can search for job opportunities, or seek advice on a particular topic. Users can ask questions about fair compensation and how to get a promotion, learn what tech companies are more women-friendly, or even get book recommendations.
"We're expanding on this kind of network and creating opportunities for experts to share their experiences for the female lens," Cowansage said. "I'm thinking through how you can use real identities [or] conversations in order to build those kind of relationships. Those have been valuable and helpful."This is especially important as women in tech often find themselves being the only one on their teams, Cowansage says. She herself has found herself in that situation during her career, she says. According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, only 26% of jobs in computing are held by women.
Elpha isn't just for engineers, either. Women who work in other professions in the tech space, as well as students, are welcome to join.
"Knowing that there are other women out there in their industry or their field is really really nice to keep you going and staying motivated," Cowansage said.Read more: This startup wants employers to stop giving its workers lavish perks and start helping them pay their student loans
"I think thinking through what the culture is that we're shooting for, and how to build it and how to maintain it as the community grows, and how to keep that authenticity and making sure our members feel comfortable as we continue to expand - that's something that's going to be an ongoing challenge," Cowansage said. "We want to get the word out so that women know it's a place for them."
- Weekend watch list for OTT — Fahadh Faasil’s Malik to Farhan Akhtar’s Toofan and more
- Reliance Retail surprises all by more than doubling its net profit in the last three months
- Reliance Jio adds 42 million subscribers but the average revenue is pretty much the same
- YES Bank’s net profit grows four fold as provision for bad loans shrink
- Amazon Prime Day 2021: Best deals and offers on headphones