The Project Entrepreneur Summit | NYC: Fundamentals of Funding offers aspiring and early-stage women entrepreneurs the chance to connect with one another and workshop their ideas with some of the brightest entrepreneurs and investors. Workshop leaders and speakers include Jenny Fleiss (Co-Founder, Rent the Runway), Melissa Ben-Ishay (Co-Founder, Baked By Melissa), Shan-Lyn Ma (Founder, Zola), and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (Co-Founder, GLAMSQUAD and Gilt).
1:00-1:30pm Check in
1:30- 1:40pm Welcome Remarks
1:40-2:30pm Keynote Conversation
2:30-2:40pm 10 Minute Break
2:40- 3:40pm Workshop #1
3:40-3:50pm 10 Minute Break
3:50-4:50pm Workshop #2
5:00-6:00pm Wrap Up & Cocktails
Jenny Fleiss, Co-Founder and Head of Logistics of Rent the Runway
Jenny Fleiss, Co-founder & Head of Logistics of Rent the Runway, and since starting the company with Jenn Hyman in 2009 has spearheaded a diverse set of business priorities, including operations, business development, recruitment, and other special projects. Jenny has been honored with numerous recognitions including: Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30”; Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40”and “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs”; and Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology”. Prior to Rent the Runway, Jenny was with Lehman Brothers’ Asset Management Group where she was responsible for analyzing business growth opportunities through acquisitions, international expansion and new product strategies. Before that she worked at Morgan Stanley as part of the Strategic Planning Group crafting long-term company strategy. She received her BA from Yale University, Cum Laude, and her MBA from Harvard Business School. Jenny is Co-Founder of The RTR Foundation, a guest lecturer at Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Harvard Business School, an advisor to several female founded start-ups, and a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council. She currently resides in New York City with her husband, daughter, son and dog.
Melissa Ben-Ishay, Co-Founder & CEO of Baked By Melissa
Melissa Ben-Ishay is the President and Chief Product Officer of the New York City-based bite-size dessert company, Baked by Melissa. When Ben-Ishay was fired from her job in advertising in 2008, she decided to do what she loved to offer consumers the ultimate dessert experience. With the idea that people should be able to taste more flavors without a post-dessert guilt trip, Ben-Ishay personally develops all of Baked by Melissa’s unique, bite-size cupcakes and macarons. Baked by Melissa operates 13 locations and ships nationwide.
Rachel Sklar, Co-Founder & CEO of The Li.st
Rachel Sklar is a writer, entrepreneur and feminist based in New York. She is the co-founder of Change The Ratio, which increases visibility and opportunity for women in tech & new media, and TheLi.st, a network & media platform for awesome women. A former lawyer who writes about media, politics, culture & technology, Rachel was a founding editor at Mediaite and the Huffington Post.
Lori Feinsilver, Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility and Executive Communications for UBS
Lori is Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility and Executive Communications for UBS Group Americas. She also leads the UBS Foundation USA. Since 2011, Lori has led a strategic overhaul of UBS’s philanthropic and corporate giving platform, creating a more cohesive and impact-driven organization while establishing a culture of service among the region’s 20,000 employees.
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder of GLAMSQUAD and Gilt & Divya Gugnani, Co-Founder of Wander Beauty
Join serial entrepreneurs Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Divya Gugnani for an interactive discussion on turning your idea into a scalable business.
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson is an entrepreneur, board director, advisor, angel investor, author and public speaker. She has established herself as a pioneer, leader and deal-maker in digital commerce, retail, merchandising, sales, business development and marketing. She has a proven track record building and operating early stage, fast-growing consumer facing businesses and creating powerful brands. Alexandra is Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor of GLAMSQUAD, the leading mobile beauty services company. She was CEO of the startup from 2014 to 2016 and led the company through rapid growth and raised $24M in venture capital. Alexandra, together with Gilt co-founder Alexis Maybank, is the author of the New York Times bestselling book By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop.
Divya Gugnani brings 16+ years of investment and entrepreneurial experience to her role as Founding Partner of Concept to Co. She is a serial entrepreneur and has co-founded multiple companies. Divya is a Co-founder of Wander Beauty, a brand focused on multitasking makeup essentials created with global inspiration. She is the author of the book Sexy Women Eat: Secrets to Eating What You Want and Still Looking Fabulous, published by HarperCollins. In addition to a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Divya attended the French Culinary Institute.
Shan-Lyn Ma, Founder & CEO of Zola
Market validation is a central element that potential funders look for, and Shan-Lyn Ma, CEO and Founder of Zola will share strategies for finding product-market fit, including the early stage product development strategies she used to develop the wedding registry concept, and to develop various products at Gilt Groupe. The average life of a start-up is 7 years, which makes it even more important to validate your idea before devoting the next 7 years of your life to it!
Shan-Lyn Ma is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zola. Launched in October 2013, Zola (www.zola.com) is an online wedding registry for millennials. Zola has raised over $16M in funding, and is pioneering a hybrid e-commerce/marketplace business model. Shan-Lyn holds a BCommerce with First Class Honours from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and an MBA from Stanford University.
Janet Kraus, Founder & CEO of peach
Serial entrepreneur and CEO/Founder of Peach, Janet Kraus, will work with the audience to consider and answer three crucial questions: 1) Will you build your company by bootstrapping alone or will you raise money from outside sources? 2) How do you know when you are ready to fundraise? 3) What is the right next step for you?
Janet Kraus is the CEO of peach, a company that is changing the way women shop for and feel about intimate and basic apparel. Janet is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Harvard Business School where she advises students in entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur’s advocate, Janet sits on the board of directors of three start-up companies and advises many others. She currently lives outside of Boston with her husband and twin 9 year old daughters.
Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups & Co-Founder of Black Founders & Hayley Barna, Venture Partner at First Round Capital
What kind of company do you want to build? How do you identify an idea that will scale? Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups will take early stage entrepreneurs through the thought process so that when it comes time to fundraise, you are prepared.
Monique Woodard is a Venture Partner at 500 Startups where she invests in early stage startups and leads a $25M micro-fund that invests in Black and Latino founders and growing markets. She believes that demographic shifts combined with current $2.5 trillion in Black and Latino purchasing power is creating the next big emerging market – right here in the United States. As the co-founder of Black Founders, Monique created an organization for tech entrepreneurs and has provided support for startups around business strategy, marketing, and fundraising. She also served as an Innovation Fellow for the City of San Francisco where she worked on government innovation, including open data and municipal broadband access. Monique has a 15-year career in tech that includes both entrepreneur and operating experience in consumer-centric businesses in mobile, media, e-commerce, and civic technology.
Hayley Barna is a Venture Partner at First Round Capital based in New York. Prior to joining First Round she co-founded Birchbox, the leading beauty and grooming retailer seed funded by First Round in 2010. Before launching Birchbox in 2010, Hayley received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She started her career as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in New York. She also spent time at two very different ends of the retail spectrum through her roles in strategy at Christie’s in Hong Kong and product management at Amazon in Seattle. In addition to her current role at First Round, Hayley is a board member at Birchbox, RAB Lighting and Madison Reed.
Fran Hauser, Early Stage Investor
What does a perfect investment pitch deck look like? Fran Hauser will share the content that is critical to have in your deck, based on listening to hundreds of pitches over the years and identifying the common themes in the ones that hit the mark.
Fran Hauser is an early stage investor, long-time media executive and a vocal advocate for women across the globe. Hauser funds and advises early stage consumer-focused companies such as HelloGiggles, ZADY, Levo, Knowsy and Gem&Bolt. Previously, Fran held President and General Manager positions at Time Inc., AOL and Moviefone. She’s best known for her role in building one of the biggest media brands on the Internet, PEOPLE.com, though friends will say she’s best known for being a proud mom and for mentoring hundreds of smart women all over the world.
Ramona Ortega, Founder & CEO of Mi Dinero Mi Futuro
Getting to “Yes” will cover strategies for developing strong and value added relationships with investors to get to yes with less stress.
Ramona Ortega is the Founder & CEO of My Money My Future, a mission-driven financial tech company that combines tailored content and simple to use tools to help Millennials, particularly young women and minorities, manage their money with confidence. Ortega is a serial entrepreneur with over a decade of leadership in the public and private sectors. She was recently named one of six Latina founders to watch and is a board member of the Latino Startup Alliance. She is a contributor to TechCrunch and Huffington Post on issues of law, tech and diversity.