The women we work for at AirTree

The incredible women leading teams at TidyMe, theright.fit, Different, Hyper Anna, MetaOptima, GlamCorner, Thematic, Canva, Brighte, Expert360, Flurosat, and Jobbatical

🎉 We’re very proud of the founders we work for at AirTree, and given it’s International Womens Day tomorrow, we thought it was a great opportunity to share some tips and advice from the incredible women leading companies in our portfolio.

We asked:

  • What’s one piece of advice you’d share with new founders starting their first company?
  • If you had a magic wand, what’s the one thing you’d do to help and encourage more people to start, or work in, technology companies?

Anastasia Volkova, CEO & Founder — Flurosat

Anastasia, Flurosat

Advice for new founders

“Just do it!” You will learn and gain confidence along the way. Doing is a much better way of using one’s energy than worrying.”

To help encourage more people into tech

“I would make programming and technology a natural part of the education process in the same way that arts and sciences are.”

Bridget Loudon, CEO & Co-Founder — Expert360

Bridget, Expert360

Advice for new founders

“Start with talking to and truly listening to your customers. Customers, customers, customers.”

To help encourage more people into tech

“I wish that everyone could know that working in technology today is like being in Rome during the Renaissance.”

Melanie Perkins, CEO & Co-Founder — Canva

Melanie, Canva

Advice for new founders

“It’s important to solve a problem that people care about, if you can do that — then everything else will be a lot easier. But it’s also important to know that you’ll have to learn everything as you go, you’ll never be ‘prepared’, you just have to jump in and be an avid learner!”

To help encourage more people into tech

“I think if you haven’t worked in a tech company or a startup, the idea of doing so can be a little intimidating, however, if you are passionate about solving problems and eager to learn, you’ll be able to learn a lot as you go. There’s certainly an incredible amount to learn for everyone! I absolutely love my job — working with smart and passionate people to solve problems that affect millions of people across the globe, I wish everyone knew how fun and rewarding it can be!”

Taryn Williams, CEO & Founder — theright.fit

Taryn, theright.fit

Advice for new founders

“Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, or seek out expertise of those who have walked the path before you. Some of the best mentors, advisors and board members I’ve had over the years have come from times I have put my hand up to say “I’d love to ask your help with this particular problem…” Like the old adage goes, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

To help encourage more people into tech

“Celebrate and publicly champion the stories of the great tech companies we are seeing in Australia (especially those founded by females!) to make it a viable & aspirational career prospect for the next generation of potential tech founders. Giving the visibility to the type of career options available within the tech landscape, and making STEM subjects a desirable choice in study to help solve the talent pipeline problem.”

Alyona Medelyan, CEO & Co-Founder — Thematic

Alyona, Thematic

Advice for new founders

“If you haven’t been in sales, make sure you teach yourself how to sell! As a founder of a company, you’ll be selling all the time! You’ll be selling your idea, vision, solution when looking for co-founders, customers, investors and employees. So, you need to get a great understanding of the basics of selling. There is really no way around it. Either you are a natural, or you’ll need to learn these skills through books, podcasts, courses.”

To help encourage more people into tech

“I would fix the subconscious bias people have towards others and possibly themselves too. There is so much pattern matching going on that’s preventing people from pursuing their dreams and in particular founders who don’t match the stereotype. So my magic wand would ensure that people are judged objectively. To get there without a magic wand, if everyone just starts being aware of their own subconscious biases, it would be a great start.”

Katherine McConnell, CEO & Founder — Brighte

Katherine, Brighte

Advice for new founders

“Be bold and back yourself and your vision. Quoting Eminem ‘opportunity comes once in a lifetime’ so don’t ‘miss your chance’ and go for it.”

To help encourage more people into tech

“I’d encourage more people to get diverse work experience in a range of companies, including seeking out tech companies as preferred places to work. I think the days of one job for 14 years at one company are over (and I did 14 years in one company so can speak from experience). A more diverse resume shows you are equipped to deal with change, different organisational structures and have a diversity of experiences. Don’t be scared to venture out and see what a tech company can offer.”

Mina Radhakrishnan, CEO & Co-Founder — Different

Mina, Different

Advice for new founders

“Always ask the question “how can it be done” rather than “can it be done”. In many ways, most people who start companies, especially tech startups have to be slightly delusional because the odds are not in your favour. While it’s not quite the hunger games, the daily challenges can feel overwhelming at times. But when you reframe problem solving by using this question, you’re coming from a place of creativity, rather than from a place of constraint. At the end of the day, you might still not choose to do that project, or solve that problem, but you always want to have an approach for how you might choose to do so.”

To help encourage more people into tech

Abolish the fear of failure. Starting a company or working at a startup is never a bad thing regardless of the outcome. There is so much gained and learnt along the way that is not about the outcome. I love hiring people who have worked at “failed” startups (quotes deliberate) because they understand deeply what worked and what didn’t. It’s the greatest learning experience there is in business, and it only makes you more valuable to any future employer or more appealing to any investor.”

Audrey Khaing-Jones, COO & Co-Founder — GlamCorner

Audrey, GlamCorner

Advice for new founders

“Protect your vision and know that building a business is a journey. Enjoy the journey even if it gives you a little bit of heartache.”

To help encourage more people into tech

“For people from a young age to be exposed to a multitude of career options that they don’t even know exist. And to change the perception that jobs in technology aren’t as “successful” as other traditional career paths. When I was growing up in Burma, my career choices were very limited, and society’s view was that a doctor or an engineer were the only “successful” jobs. I was neither, and it took me a long time to find a career that I was passionate about. I think encouraging more students into STEM is important, however there are so many different careers that can lead to working in, or even to starting, technology companies, that’s important to open people’s eyes to all future options.”

Maryam Sadeghi, CEO & Co-Founder — MetaOptima

Maryam, MetaOptima

Advice for new founders

“It’s all about your TEAM! Focus on their social and human capital, and trust the people who are by your side from the very beginning. Having a good co-founder to support you through the tough decisions and difficult days is key, as well as learning how to delegate. I used to be involved in every detail that happened at MetaOptima, now I have learned to trust my team. It’s hard at times, but it’s crucial to build a scalable business. Be mindful of the fact that starting a new project means you will face many obstacles and challenges, but one thing has to be clear: you can never give up — use your team for support!”

To help encourage more people into tech

“For people to know that even though the journey is tough, by building a global technology business you have the potential to impact thousands of lives. Seeing cancer patients diagnosed early because they used a technology that we helped develop, gives us such a sense of purpose. To know that patients have higher survival chances and better quality of life is enough to keep me going when the road gets tough. We have the opportunity every day to make the impossible, possible.”

Stacey Jacobs, Founder — TidyMe

Stacey, TidyMe

Advice for new founders

“Hire great people as soon as you can afford to, they will be a huge help to you and make the work more exciting and enjoyable.”

To help encourage more people into tech

“I would encourage schools to incorporate a better understanding of the pathways into startups to give teenagers a view into entrepreneurship as an option.”


If you’re an entrepreneur looking for advice, or you’re thinking about getting into the tech industry — get in touch with our team, we’d love to hear from you ❤️. And if you’d like to learn more from the rockstar founders in our portfolio — sign-up to our AirMail newsletter. The big tech news in your inbox, every month.