Fearless women in IT setting their own tone on the startup scene

Females are turning to tech startups as a career route, according to FDM everywoman woman of the year Torie Chilcott

Launching a startup enables you to set your own tone, according to Torie Chilcott, co-founder and CEO of Rockabox, and winner of the FDM everywoman woman of the year award 2014.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Chilcott said females have a tendency to feel guilty about having a family, whereas "with a startup you can be the boss and set the tone – stop feeling so guilty about having a family”.

Chilcott herself has two children – a daughter aged nine and a son aged 11.

“Women in this space are fearless in the tech sector,” she said.

Chilcott founded targeted video distribution firm Rockabox with co-founder James Booth in 2008. Before Rockabox, she headed up format development for FremantleMedia, where she created and produced Bafta-nominated The Farmer Wants a Wife for ITV.

She went on to co-develop the Idol format for Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell, when she worked at 19 Management. She started her career by working on the launch of Sky Sports. She also produced for CNN Travel, GMTV, LWT Entertainment and 2020 TV.

Inspiring women in technology

Having recently won the FDM everywoman of the year 2014 award, Chilcott said she is now focusing on ensuring she, and the other winners, use the next year to give back to the women in technology community.

Discussing the need for the industry to spread awareness of the wide range of roles available, she said: “Ask me what you can do with technology and that’s what I find exciting, but ask me about coding and I have no idea. We’re about delivering an experience, and making sure technology gives you the best experience.”

Speaking to Computer Weekly recently, Cristiana Camisotti, co-founder of SiliconMilkoundabout, agreed that a startup company is a great career choice, particularly for women.

On finding talent, however, she said: “I don’t think there’s a shortage of talent – I think there’s a shortage of people who view startups as a career route. People feel they won’t receive the same benefits in a startup, such as full pay for maternity leave. But this is a myth.

“Startups are perceived to be more of a risk; however you can work at a corporate and be made redundant. Then you would only be given one month before you had to leave. At a startup, you can shape your own role and team and you have a direct line to the directors.”

Camisotti started her career heading up branding and visual design at Glo and HCL, later launching her own events company Event Atelier.

She later co-founded recruitment company SiliconMilkroundabout, which specialises in technology startup companies and currently has 14,000 candidates on its books.

Camisotti is currently on a mission to “better represent our underrepresented groups, particularly women”.

For example, the company is offering subsidised pitches for “bootstrapped” companies at its recruitment event in May. The firm is offering 50% off pitches to “under-represented” groups, which includes teams with a female founder.

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