You meet a lot of interesting folks on Twitter. Sara Chipps, cofounder/CEO of Jewelbots was one of them although most enjoyably, she reached out to me initially because she thought I had something to do with Homebrew, the Mac package manager and not Homebrew the venture fund. Once that was resolved it turned out we still had things in common and got together in NYC last year. She recently launched an opportunity for Jewelbots’ community to invest in the company via Quire so I wanted to reach out and catch up with her.
Hunter Walk: What I love about Jewelbots is it encourages girls to think about what they’d want to create, not just consume. How’d you decided to start this project?
Sara Chipps: I’m an eternal teenager. It was a time in my life that was difficult for me, however it was a time that truly defined my personality. I think teenage girls are the future, and an incredibly important demographic.
HW: When we talk about STEM education and kids, what aspects of the challenge are unique to girls?
SC: It’s unique because of the scary numbers coming out of engineering schools. The internet is the largest record of human history ever created, and our history is being written by white and asian males. It’s incredibly important for humanity that we change that.
The way we are approaching this is wrong, however. We keep telling them they should be into it. There are a million programs for telling girls “this should be important to you!! make it important!! you need to be an engineer!!!” We’re telling them what they need and not asking, I think that’s a recipe for failure.
HW: Have you gotten any pushback that a project based on jewelry reinforces notion that girls are only interest in “pretty things?”
SC: A few months ago I was in a meeting with my cofounder Brooke. She said something that solidified my belief that she’s an amazing partner. The person we were meeting with asked this exact question. She said “I’m personally offended that you think that things that are girly and beautiful can’t be technical.”
HW: You worked out of a hardware accelerator, right? What advice do you have for founders evaluating those programs?
SC: Always look at companies that have gone through before you. Sit down with the founders if you can. We learned an incredible amount from that and it’s the reason we went with Highway1. Look at their product, evaluate if that’s a company you would like to be like on the other side of the program.
Coming out of Highway1 we saw amazing companies like Ringly, Navdy, and Birdi. Talking to the founders and looking at their products we were sold. I’m incredibly glad that we did it, it was extremely valuable.
HW: What role does Quire play in fundraising for you? Why not just go traditional route?
SC :We have great investors that are available for feedback when we need it and truly care about our success. They’re an invaluable part of this company.