Global·PERSPECTIVES03.10.2023

Her Spotlight: Women Take Center Stage at AWS Startup Day

The future of tech innovation shined bright as Hong Kong's female leaders took center stage.

AWS Startup Day in Hong Kong was buzzing with a unique energy – a blend of creativity, ambition, and the sheer thrill of innovation. The event was a tapestry of individual stories woven into a collective narrative of entrepreneurial success.

One such story came from Alice Lyu, Co-founder of AlterMe Ai, who spoke on the Startup AI Journey Panel Discussion. Her startup is pioneering a new way of interacting with images – using AI to create, generate, or enhance photos effortlessly. Her company empowers users to transform their photos in a myriad of ways, from changing backgrounds to adding thematic elements, thus democratizing the world of image editing.

Alice Lyu, Co-founder of AlterMe Ai

Beyond individual stories, the event spotlighted broader issues facing the AI community. For example, there is a lack of diversity, with only 15% of data scientists worldwide being women. Additionally, many datasets that AI are based on are not representative enough. This can lead to biases, whether through unrepresentative and skewed data, or by reflecting existing societal biases. It affects how algorithms function, like software filtering job applicants in a biased way. Despite good intentions, organizations often try to address these issues through ineffective policies.

The inspiring women highlighted here represent only a glimpse of the dynamic female leaders present at AWS Startup Day. From AI pioneers to blockchain innovators, their creativity and vision prove women are ready to lead the way forward in technology and entrepreneurship.

Paving the Way for Women in Tech

At the same time, the event highlighted the growing role of women in tech. In the burgeoning world of web3, we found Cathy Lai, the Co-founder of Alkie Monk Drinking Club NFT (AMDC) and DROP System.io. Cathy's keen understanding of human behavior and her observant nature have propelled her into a realm still largely male-dominated. She sees fewer women in the web3 space as an opportunity to be a trailblazer, not a deterrent.

Cathy Lai, the Co-founder of Alkie Monk Drinking Club NFT (AMDC) and DROP System.io

As she puts it, "The current stage of web3 development is still on the technology and infrastructure building… I see my strength is on the downstream of the web3 ecosystem, i.e., utilities, user experience, and integration with daily operations. All these require sensitivity to human behavior and great observation, for which women usually have better instincts to do a good job.”

Next, we turn the spotlight on Annie Hui, Co-founder and COO of Custonomy. This powerhouse is breaking barriers in the world of blockchain security. Annie and her team of cryptographic and digital experience experts are crafting groundbreaking enterprise solutions. In essence, Custonomy is innovating the way enterprises handle digital asset security, enabling them to keep pace with rapid technological changes.

Annie Hui, Co-founder and COO of Custonomy

The contributions of women like Cathy and Annie showcase their vital role in tech innovation. However, the fact that women make up just 26% of tech roles globally cannot be overlooked. This gender gap is a stubborn issue that persists, despite strides towards equality. An AWS employee, Laura Verghote, noted, "AWS puts in a lot of effort to make the workplace as inclusive as possible. It’s also inspiring to have women role models in the leadership of our organization."

Connecting Startups and Investors

A standout feature of the AWS Startup Day was the VC matchmaking session and elevator pitch event, an opportunity for startups and venture capitalists to connect. This event provided insightful sharing from top notch global startup representatives on their perspectives on how overseas entrepreneurs build their startups and how to unleash imagination with global reach.

Pitching a startup to VCs

Amy Xiao, Director of Operations at CrossSpace observed how women contributed to the success of this event. "Women possess unique skills that make events like this thrive.” She said. “We excel in presentation, possess a keen eye for detail, foster meaningful connections, and take on responsibilities with unwavering dedication. These qualities have been instrumental in making this event a resounding success."

Amy Xiao, Director of Operations at CrossSpace

Xiao's sentiments highlight the diverse strengths women bring to the table in the world of tech and startups. Their skills in communication, building relationships, and executing plans are invaluable assets that lead to impactful events like the one at AWS Startup Day. Though progress needs to continue in closing the gender gap, women are already demonstrating their vital role in driving innovation.

Speeches delivered to an attentive audience

The Future of Women in Tech

AWS Startup Day highlighted the vital contributions of women to technological innovation through the sharing of inspiring stories and impactful connection-building. Yet it also served as more than just an event; it was an incubator for inspiration, networking, and learning. It provided a launchpad for startups to meet their match, be it a VC, a mentor, or even a future co-founder.

The event spotlighted female leaders breaking new ground across diverse areas of tech, from AI and web3 to blockchain security. Their stories demonstrated the unique strengths women bring - from sensitivity to human behavior to unwavering dedication. Platforms like AWS Startup Day offer opportunities for women to showcase these talents and drive progress.

For those with entrepreneurial dreams, let these trailblazing stories serve as a reminder: the road to success may be steep, but the view from the top is unparalleled. Events like this help clear the path by enabling meaningful connections. And who knows, the next AWS Startup Day could be the first page of your own entrepreneurial narrative. If this event proved anything, it's that women are ready to write the next chapter of technological innovation.

Mentorship at AWS Startup Day