What do you love most about your job?
I get to work with a team of inspiring people who are passionate about changing the way women think and feel about technology.
Did you benefit from having a role model / someone to look up to when starting your career in the tech industry?
I had been working in health education and promotion for 15 years - both in the U.N. and at Marie Stopes International. I never planned or dreamt of running a technology company. I just saw a big health problem (pelvic floor health) which was clearly preventable with better exercise, and thought that surely technology could make this easier? I was lucky to meet Alexander Asseily, the co-founder of Jawbone, early on and he was one of the first people to invest in Elvie. His knowledge of the industry and experience in creating connected devices has been invaluable.
Best advice you ever received?
In terms of career advice - there is definitely never just one perfect career. I've had two so far and plan on having at least another!
Are you actively involved in any initiatives promoting gender diversity in the tech industry?
We are proud to be an early partner of AllBright. Debbie Wosskow and Annie Jones are doing incredible things to support female founders in the UK. Their venture fund invested in our last round and we partner on a range of educational and community projects.
How can we make young girls more enthusiastic about STEM subjects?
It’s important to offer opportunities to everyone to get into the STEM subjects. It shocking how few women are in senior positions in STEM. However, we need to change attitudes from school age. I was one of the best at my school in maths and at twelve, I wanted to study maths at university. However, by 16, I decided not to as it wasn’t “cool”. The same happened for most of the girls in my class. We waste far too much energy worrying about what people think about us. Most of the time, people don't even care!
Technology has the potential to improve lives on a global scale. Yet when it comes to women, this potential has been hugely overlooked. I’d like to see smarter technology to solve real world needs for women. As women start taking the reins and leading STEM research and companies we will start to see more movement in this area.
What do you believe to be the three most exciting things about the tech industry?
This is an exciting time for women’s health tech because of the convergence of three trends – we are all talking more openly about our bodies; the internet and innovations in sensor technology means real-time body monitoring is now possible; and finally, our perceptions of health and wellness have dramatically changed from one of doctor-patient to individuals taking control for themselves.
The new generation of connected health devices, such as Elvie Trainer, are much more focussed on identifying what outcome consumers want and providing that in the simplest, most useful way possible. I think we need to be bold in women’s tech and hold ourselves to the highest standards. Are we solving a real problem?
Are we providing a significantly improved solution? Many women, fed up with the lack of innovation, have started companies themselves and come up with their own solutions. This type of innovation is always best as it comes from a place of real user need and understanding. I knew that to make a meaningful difference to women’s lives Elvie Trainer had to be the funnest and easiest way to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor, with fast results.
What are the biggest misconceptions about working in the industry? How can we dispel them?
I think that lots of women assume it’s harder for them to be an tech entrepreneur than if they were a man. We are building the first ever global women's tech brand so being a woman is definitely an advantage as we aren't only changing technology, but also conversations and how technology helps us understand our female bodies better.
Why should readers enter the FDM everywoman in Tech Awards?
It’s a great opportunity to meet other female founders, who will be a vital support network when as you build your business, while also raising the profile of women in tech.
Tania will be speaking at the 2018 everywoman in Tech Forum at London Hilton, Park Lane on 8 February 2018 on "WOMEN IN TECH CHANGING THE IOT WORLD" - In this session key players in IoT will look at how this fast-paced sector will affect women in business. What impact will the IoT have on workplace equality and what resulting opportunities will arise for women in tech?