Women usually account for “less than 10 percent of founders” for high growth firms, according to the study Sources of Economic Hope by the Kauffman Foundation. Only 4 per cent of fortune 500 companies are run by women. In Silicon Valley, women earn only 49 cents to a man’s dollar and get less than 10% of all VC funding. According to a Babson College study, 96 percent of venture capitalists are men, and they control the majority of the money going into startups. The numbers are indeed changing, but not fast enough.

For women to play such a minor role in an industry that has become so prevalent in our lives, it would seem we are losing out on a lot of potential. 

Especially since women entrepreneurs tend to create businesses with a higher social impact and reinvest in their communities a lot more, as shown in a study published in the Harvard Business Review.

Moreover, high growth firms, the ones likely to create the most jobs, as reported by the Kauffman Foundation, tend to be built around new science and technology, where women are vastly absent. 

How do we try to change this?
We are two filmmakers on a mission for change.  The film project was started in April 2013 and we launched the She Started It movement in June 2013 with our first Indiegogo campaign

Our goal is to reach one million women & girls with this film in 2017 and show them that if you fall, you can get back up. We want girls who will see the film to know that they can take risks, that failure is okay and that it is worth trying something you are passionate about.

The women of SHE STARTED IT are smart, resourceful and relatable, offering viewers powerful examples of female entrepreneurship while revealing the challenges faced by women-led companies. Their stories urge educators, parents, investors and business leaders to support women entrepreneurs and to contribute to a culture in which girls and women are able to envision, fund and lead their own enterprises. In collaboration with Black Girls Code; 500 Startups ; Girls In Tech & more, the SHE STARTED IT Impact Screening Tour creates a forum for dialogue, skill-building and corporate culture training among young girls, parents, educators, employers and funders.


Nora Poggi is a French journalist/filmmaker directing her debut film, SHE STARTED IT. She has interviewed key players in Silicon Valley for the past four years for publications including & Usine Nouvelle. She previously worked at French social network and award-winning production company Lucky Dragon Productions. She is a TEDx speaker and has been featured in IncForbesFast CompanyGlamourHuffington Post and others.


Insiyah Saeed is a journalist and documentary producer based in Silicon Valley. With a background in storytelling and a passion for women in entrepreneurship, Insiyah combines these two passions with creating She Started It. She Started It is an award winning film which has been shown at over 20+ film festivals and over 500 community screenings globally. Insiyah also served as an envoy for the State Department’s American Film Showcase where the film was screened at Embassies worldwide including Russia, Mongolia, UAE, Ethiopia, Switzerland, France, Turkey, Ghana, and many more countries. Insiyah is graduate of the Columbia J-School and has worked extensively in film.


Jennifer Steinman is a Film Director, Producer and Editor with over 20 years of experience in television and filmmaking. She has established herself professionally as a creative storyteller, with a keen sense of pace and timing and the ability to tap into the heart and emotion of a story.

Jennifer’s most recent documentary feature film, DESERT RUNNERS, was named by the Huffington Post as one of “The Top 10 Documentaries of 2013.”  The film screened to sold-out audiences at IDFA and was selected “Best of the Fest” at the Edinburgh Film Festival. It won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at both the Vancouver International and The Hamptons International Film Festivals, and Best Cinematography at the Woods Hole Film Festival.

Jennifer’s feature directorial debut, the documentary film MOTHERLAND, had its world premiere at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival, winning the prestigious Emerging Visions Audience Award. The film went on to win several other best-of-festival awards and was released by Vanguard Cinema.

Jennifer began her career as a staff Editor at CBS, both in New York and San Francisco. Her work has aired nationally on ABC, PBS, Discovery, National Geographic, Sundance Channel and many other television networks. Her corporate clients include Blue Cross, Adobe and Kaiser Permanente. Her films have been accepted into many major film festivals including Tribeca, Rotterdam, and Sundance. She won a Telly Award and has been nominated for an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing.


Offline editor in the documentary unit at JAK Films, the production arm of Lucasfilm, editing 25 of the 94 companion educational documentaries profiling historical figures, events and significant ideas of the early 20th century that surfaced in the 44 episodes of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones television series.

  • Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics on Trial (2009)
  • Don’t Know, We’ll See: The Life and Work of Karen Karnes (2008)
  • Trading Bows and Arrows for Laptops (2008)
  • Without a Net (2008)


After a twenty-five year career in venture capital, Ted Dintersmith is now focused on issues at the intersection of innovation and education.  He is actively involved with a number of initiatives that seek to deliver vastly-improved learning experiences to people around the globe.  He’s currently financing a documentary on education and the economy.  He is particularly interested in the role of film (in conjunction  with other social media) in effecting social change.

Last fall, Ted served as part of the delegation representing the United States at the United Nations General Assembly, where he focused on global education and entrepreneurship.  Ted is a Partner Emeritus with Charles River Ventures, a leading early-stage venture capital firm.   He has been an early, active investor in numerous successful start-ups. Ted has served on the Board of the National Venture Capital Association, chairing its Public Policy Committee. Prior to venture capital, he was a senior executive at Analog Devices, and worked for two years on Capitol Hill on science and technology policy. Ted earned a Ph.D. in Engineering from Stanford University, and his undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary.


Mike Zak has a total of 23 years of experience as an entrepreneur and early stage venture capital investor. He is also the executive producer for the Sundance Grand Jury Doc Prize winner of 2014, Rich Hill.

Since 1991 he has been a principal investor at Charles River Ventures, located in Boston and Menlo Park.  In that time he has participated in raising and deploying $2 billion in early stage venture capital and has been involved in the funding of more than 150 companies in global industries such as wireless telecommunications, semiconductors, enterprise software, optical networking, internet infrastructure, and alternative energy.  He has acted as a lead investor in numerous projects and managed many of those projects to successful outcomes such as initial public offerings (IPO) or mergers and acquisitions.  Prior to joining Charles River Ventures, Mike was a co-founder of a successful start-up high technology company, backed by venture capital, where he served in various executive roles.

Mike is a 1975 graduate of the College of Engineering at Cornell University.  Upon graduation he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and completed numerous Cold War deployments throughout the western Pacific and Europe.  He graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA in 1981, after which he held positions at Motorola, Inc., and McKinsey & Company.


Jana Shea enjoys working with entrepreneurs with partner Tom Shea at Mentor Management LLC. In addition she is also an Executive Producer with partner Greg Nobile at Seaview Productions LLC a Broadway production company. They recently co-produced A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder currently at the Walter Kerr Theatre in NYC. She lives in Branford, Ct.


Kaleta Doolin is an artist (, philanthropist, and author of “Fritos Pie: Stories, Recipes, and More.” Her artist books are in major museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Museum of Fine Arts (Boston). For more than three decades, she has been an active member in The Zonta Club of Dallas, a chapter of Zonta International, a 96-year old service organization for women, the first in the US. Doolin is the Executive Producer of “Science Girl,” a half hour film made in New Zealand that encourages teen age girls to pursue careers in STEM.


Mike Cassidy is a Vice President at Google.  He is currently the Project Leader on GoogleX Project Loon (balloon-powered Internet for everyone).  Prior to joining Google, Mike was the Co-Founder and CEO of four start-ups: Ruba, Xfire, Direct Hit, and Stylus Innovation.  Ruba helped travelers share their favorite places and was acquired by Google.  Xfire helps gamers play online with their friends and was acquired by MTV for $110 million.  Direct Hit was a revolutionary search engine whose customers included MSN, Lycos, AOL, etc. and was acquired by Ask Jeeves for $500 million.  Stylus Innovation’s flagship product was computer telephony software Visual Voice.  Artisoft acquired Stylus for $13M.  Mike has a BS/MS in Aerospace Engineering from MIT.  He graduated from Harvard Business School.  He studied jazz piano at Berklee College of Music.


Kelly Keenan Trumpbour draws on her experience in Washington, DC lobbying on behalf of women’s business groups, recruiting young professional women to enter politics, and helping them link the personal stories behind their passions with the conviction of leadership. A published author and professional speaker, Kelly holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins and a law degree from the University of Maryland.


Roberto Daza has spent the early part of his professional career as a neuroscience researcher and technical writer before making the transition from scientist to journalist, and before graduating from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism where he focused on television and documentary filmmaking. His work can be seen in publications like Al Jazeera, The Center for Investigative Reporting, PBS NewsHour, the Economist and numerous independent documentary and commercial productions.


Martín Rossetti is an experienced filmmaker working in all facets of film production. He has worked on projects across the globe including Spain, South Africa, Argentina and China. Martín’s career in the film industry launched as an undergrad when he was awarded a grant by San Francisco State University to direct and produce his first (and award-winning) documentary, “A Moral Debt”. He has worked with renowned public figures such as Michael Moore and Edward James Olmos. With his great versatility, Martín has not confined his portfolio to just short films and commercials; under his belt is a noteworthy selection of films including the documentary “Two Escobars”, featured on ESPN and an official selection at Cannes, Tribeca and the Los Angeles Film Festival as well as “Inequality for All,” winner at this years Sundance Film Festival.


Selen P. Flores is a Cinematographer/Gaffer and a Radio-TV-Film graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Her passion for capturing the world in film took her to Paris, France in August of 2013 to network, do research for her personal projects, and explore film opportunities in Europe. She has worked on several commercials, music videos, short films, and documentaries, the latest being She Started It. She is passionate about lighting because it is a vital necessity for capturing not only the actors and the set, but can be shaped to convey mood, color, and intensity of the emotions on screen. It is the film’s key to telling the story that the director has in his or her head.


Sheetal Patel is a nonprofit communications and branding specialist. Through photography, writing, and research, she is able to combine her expertise in in telling compelling stories with her passion for stories that help move people to action. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with her PhD in nonprofit strategic communications and becoming a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, she moved to Silicon Valley to work at Stanford University as a nonprofit brand manager. She combines her love for photography and passion for women empowerment in She Started It. 


As a producer/manager, Sidney previously produced two documentary feature films (“Go Tigers” and “Amargosa”) that were short listed for a Best Documentary Feature Academy Award.


Holly Liu is co-founder and Chief of Staff of Kabam, the leader in the western world for free-to-play core games. Before co-founding Kabam, Holly was Senior User Interface Designer for AOL. She was named to Forbes’ “Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs to Watch” in 2013. Now running a 500 people team, she has great stories to tell about how she got there.


Elaine Wherry co-founded Meebo where she served as Meebo’s Chief Experience Officer prior to being acquired by Google in 2012. Elaine is a recipient of the Founders Fund TechFellows Award in Engineering Leadership, and her work on recruiting and leadership have been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and CBS. Elaine graduated from Stanford with a major in Symbolic Systems and a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction. Today she advises entrepreneurs on product design, user experience, and team building.

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