Tania.ai CEO shares personal journey of building a tech business as a woman

Tania.ai CEO shares personal journey of building a tech business as a woman



Entrepreneurship requires a lot of failing and trying again. And the challenges for female entrepreneurs can be even harder, especially in the technology field.

Nevertheless, being laser-focused and having a strong personal belief system are game-changers when building a tech business, especially for women, indigenous people, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to Donnamaree Ryder (pictured), chief executive officer of Tania.ai.

“We’ve been working on Tania.ai for almost three years now; standing up a business and running it successfully once you’ve set it up is actually a lot harder than what people think, especially being a woman and a Māori,” Ryder explained. “It’s not that I’m a unicorn, but instead, I have a very strong belief system. I have a dream that I’ve been following for almost 40 years.”

Ryder spoke with theCUBE analyst John Furrier during the Women in Tech: International Women’s Day event. They discussed what it takes to establish and run a tech business as a woman and how to tackle the stumbling blocks along the way.

Defying the odds

Low societal expectations triggered by factors such as background and gender should not limit a person’s capabilities, according to Ryder.

“Sometimes you’re not always surrounded by people who understand your value and what you can contribute to the world,” she said. “It’s not an underdog from a really vicious, uncomfortable standpoint where I’m trying to get back at anybody … basically, what you do is you use it as a little stepping stone.”

Having dreams in life opens many doors regardless of one’s background, she added.

“I come from a low socioeconomic area … I grew up in New Plymouth [New Zealand], and we didn’t really have a lot of money,” Ryder stated. “My mother struggled to put food and milk on the table … so what we did, although we didn’t have money, we had the ability to dream.” 

Being resilient and not worrying about what other people said were stepping stones toward establishing Tania.ai, according to Ryder.

“So it didn’t matter what people thought … it didn’t matter if someone was richer, or had more money than we did, or they had more execs,” she pointed out. “People said, at one point, “Oh, this company looks like they’re doing something similar to you; they’ve just raised $2 million. What makes you think that you are going to come even close to being successful like they are?’ And my response to them was that they aren’t me.”

Through AWS infrastructure, Tania.ai was able to establish a global footprint, because it knew where to bridge the gap by plugging in the right infrastructure, according to Ryder.

“If you look at AWS, they gave us the opportunity to be global instantly,” she said. “Without their infrastructure and their backing and for us to turn that on, in any country that we wanted, we wouldn’t have been able to go global.” 

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Women in Tech: International Women’s Day event.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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