Closing the Gender Gap: A Peek Inside Programs to Train Female Developers

The 20 Girls Who Code participants working out of AppNexus's Flatiron office (Photo: girlswhocode.tumblr.com)

“Maliyah, step away from the mouse!” called Ashley Gavin, a software engineer at the MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and instructor at the Girls Who Code summer program. Maliyah Greene, the recipient of Ms. Gavin’s reprimand, reluctantly tore herself away from Photoshop to come and talk to Betabeat. We were sitting in AppNexus’s Flatiron office, watching her fellow Girls Who Code students work on virtually tagging brick walls with their names. “It’s not as hard as I thought it would be,” Ms. Greene smiled.

She is one of 20 high school girls who gave up summer vacation to learn about app development, robotics, web design and other topics at Girls Who Code, a summer computer-engineering program for girls.

Though this is its first summer in existence, Girls Who Code already boasts executives from Gilt Groupe, Twitter and General Electric on its board and has been working with AppNexus and other New York startups throughout the summer. Read More

the startup rundown

Startup News: NASA Space Apps Challenge in NYC and Outer Space, Hacker School and a Spotify Challenger

The map of participating NASA Space App Challenge locations

3..2..1..BLASTOFF. It’s official: NYC is now one of the spots for NASA’s Space Apps Challenge, a two-day development event happening in cities on six continents and aboard the International Space Station. StartupBus NYC and the NY Tech Council are both helping with the coordination of the event, which focuses on how technology can address problems with minimal resources in creative and innovative ways. Register here.

SPLISH SPLASH. Don’t you hate it when all your friends get into a band you’ve already been sick of for weeks? You tried to spread the good sonic vibrations early on but to no avail—the world simply wasn’t quite ready for that new fangled rock ‘n’ roll music. But that’s not a problem anymore. Splash.FM, a new social music platform, will make sure you get the credit for discovering a band before they were cool. Splash.FM has been in private beta since Jan. 16 and is preparing to go live publicaly on April 17th. Like on Spotify, users can follow friends, search for and stream songs and make recommendations for friends—called “splashing.” Beyond that users will be be able to see what songs are trending among their friends and assign “splash scores” to rate other’s music discovery skills. It’s an official hipster socreboard! Splash.FM plans to eventually allow artists and labels into their analytics to see how when, how often and where their songs are being played. Take that, Spotify! Read More

XX in Tech

Etsy Announces $50K in Hacker Grants for Women

(etsy.com/shop/cellsdividing)

There is only one woman in Hacker School’s current class of 20–but a generous pool of grants from Etsy could literally change the ratio. Etsy is offering $5,000 grants for up to ten female developers who want to attend the summer session of Hacker School, the immersive programming class hosted quarterly in New York. The hope is that the grants will allow women to move to New York if necessary to attend Hacker School (and then come work at Etsy afterward).  Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Rushed Edition

rumormonger

BETAWORKS. Has a new filing with the SEC indicating $7.8 million of a $15 million offering in options and warrants raised. Does this have to do with Betaworks’s evolution from a fund/incubator into “a true company, not a fund,” as per John Borthwick’s recent letter to investors? The filing indicates a reinvestment of money paid out to investors in dividends, John Borthwick said, so the filing doesn’t represent a new round; and the amount being reinvested is actually closer to $10 million.

STEALTH TOWN. What is fiftythree.com? Sources say a local VC is leading their round. The web offers no clues, their Twitter page doesn’t work, and we haven’t received an email from their stealthy splash page. Things that are 53: a bank and savings and loan holding company, the We Are the 53 percent meme, and the Year of the Consulship of Silanus and Antonius. Read More