Kasey Edwards met Becka Klauber Richter 12 years ago, when the UCSB freshmen both moved into their dorms a day early. In the time since, they’ve gone on to become best friends, “work wives,” and co-foster parents of two children. They entered the tech scene with Helpr, an on-demand childcare app launching with select users this October. The experience inspired their latest joint venture, Female Founders LA (#FFLA), a networking group they created along with the women founders of several other tech companies (Mend, The Dinner Party, Nail Snaps and First Seating) in order to share resources and compare notes about the difficulties—and excitement—of start-up life. FFLA meets monthly over dinner to discuss and solve entrepreneurial challenges.
In September, Edwards and Klauber Richter will be hosting an event promoting gender equality in the tech sector in conjunction with the Mayor’s office.
We asked them to answer our L.A. Woman questionnaire.
Place of birth:
KE: Long Beach.
BK: South suburbs of Chicago.
How has Los Angeles factored into your success:
BK: It’s the Wild West, especially coming from Chicago. Chicago has long-standing institutions and we don’t have that feeling here and I love that. It feels a lot more inclusive of everyone. And then obviously this bourgeoning tech scene in LA has been awesome.
How has living and working here been challenging:
KE: In tech, your evaluation is discounted a little bit compared to Silicon Valley. But I think it’s an exciting place to be. A lot of people are invested in seeing the tech scene really become something that is like Silicon Valley, but it’s own thing.
How female-friendly is your field:
KE: With tech, the numbers and data don’t necessarily support the power we feel as female CEOs. With the support of our collaborators and colleagues in FFLA, we’re trying to offer an alternative narrative about how women experience the field.
Why did you co-found FFLA:
KE: I met Ellen [Huerta] through a mutual friend and she was this kind of rock star who had left Google. I was really inspired by her. We were talking about how there were not a lot of places where you could meet other women founders who were willing to talk frankly about what the experience was like in a start-up.
Most kickass moment to date:
KE: We had been running this boutique agency, University Sitters, for many years when Lyft and Uber were becoming really big. We thought, “Wait a second, we are an on-demand service. Why are we not taking the chance to be bigger?” So we went to South by Southwest and got really excited about the opportunity to turn our lives from just providing childcare to more being tech-focused.
Where do you go from here:
BK: We really want FFLA to be multigenerational so that we can pass the torch, and we’ve talked about how cool it would be to start a VC fund amongst the founders.