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July 21, 2011 / TechFemme

Turn a Great Idea into a Tech Business with Jamie Lee

Jamie Lee, Business Operations Manager, JumpThru

Jamie Lee (Business Operations Manager, JumpThru) wants to see women entrepreneurs succeed.  She runs the operations at a startup that aims to help women entrepreneurs start and build tech-related businesses.  Although she doesn’t refer to herself as a technologist, the truth is that one doesn’t have to be a hardcore coder to be considered active in technology.  Helping women start tech businesses more than qualifies as being a technologist, and that’s exactly what Jamie’s doing with JumpThru.  Most recently, JumpThru partnered with Girl Develop It to host the women-led Hamptons Hackathon for Humanity – a luxurious alternative to the male-dominated, pizza-and-red-bull-fueled, coding festivals that define most present-day hackathons.  Jamie is exactly what the Women-In-Tech community needs right now – someone to help women transition from the “I have an idea” stage to actually starting a tech business.

TechFemme:  What is JumpThru?

Jamie Lee:  So far, it’s an experiment.  Our goal is to help women entrepreneurs build businesses around great ideas, using technology, that serve the needs of women.  We do that by advising them along the process of forming the core team and in securing funding.  We’re very hands-on. 

TF:  How did you get involved in working with tech entrepreneurs?
JL:  I was a hedge fund analyst, which was really challenging and intellectually stimulating but I wanted to contribute to something that had social benefit.  After 2 years with the hedge fund, I tried to search for what to do next and I read a New York Times article about Golden Seeds and their investment in a female tech entrepreneur that couldn’t get funded by traditional VCs.  I realized I could really learn a lot from Golden Seeds.  This angel investor group is right on the money in terms of how to boost the economy – fund entrepreneurs with great ideas.  I wrote Golden Seeds a letter and got hired as an analyst intern to work with the CEO and founder, Stephanie Hanbury-Brown.  It was a great experience.  I got to learn about early stage investing and sat through a lot of great pitches.

TF:  How did you get started with JumpThru?

JL:  I met Deborah Jackson (Founder & CEO, JumpThru) at Golden Seeds. Early this year, Deb reached out and asked me to join her effort in starting a company that helps tech companies founded by women.  I welcomed the opportunity to help foster a community of forward-thinking women in tech.  One of the best parts about my job is getting to sit with new entrepreneurs that have great ideas. 

TF:  What are some of the things JumpThru is doing to help women tech entrepreneurs?

JL:  We’re exploring a new concept in the form of a business accelerator.  We’re particularly interested in the ways existing web-based technologies can serve the needs of smart women.  To better understand this opportunity, we meet with women entrepreneurs offering tech-based solutions to the female demographic.  Currently we have a relationship with Girl Develop It, an organization founded by two professional software developers in New York City.  Girl Develop It teaches women how to code in languages such as HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL.  They’ve taught more than 500 women in nearly 40 classes since they started a year ago.  Their success underscores that fact that women are hungry for technical knowledge and for an opportunity to learn in a supportive environment.  Because we are believers in Girl Develop It’s mission, we’ve backed their effort to secure sponsorship by providing strategic marketing support.   Also, we are creating a newsletter targeted towards an older generation of women to show them the fun and power of technology.  We’re curating content that would make them interested, excited and want to get involved in the tech world.  

TF:  What other activities is JumpThru involved in?
JL:  We’ve held an event called Not Your Daughter’s Twitter at the Samsung Experience at Time Warner Center in June.  At this event, mature women learned how to use Twitter.  A few sent out their first tweets during that event.  We’re planning a follow-up event in September on LinkedIn.  
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