Female Founder Stories: Jennifer Lu, Founder of ZowPow (YC W13)

by Y Combinator2/8/2015

ZowPow is building a virtual playground for kids with interactive toys.

Q: What did you do before starting ZowPow?
I worked in mobile gaming for a number of years. I managed developer relations at OpenFeint, led BD and marketing at TinyCo, started a gaming studio, and consulted for various gaming and mobile companies. During my tenure in mobile gaming, I became really interested in figuring out how to create richer gaming experiences and how to extend gaming beyond screens.

Q: How did you meet your cofounder?
I met my cofounder, Brian, through a mutual friend and former advisor. Brian had previously been working with sensors and wireless technology. We shared an interest in merging the physical and virtual worlds. Together, we came up with the idea of putting sensors inside of toys and wirelessly connecting them with mobile and tablet devices to enhance gameplay.

Q: Tell us about your YC experience.
It was an extremely intense 3 months, but I really enjoyed it. It forced us to be 100% focused on our startup. We really didn’t do anything else besides work on our startup. It was helpful to be around other founders going through the same thing– we pushed and supported each other.

Q: What is the atmosphere like at YC during those 3 months with Demo Day approaching?
Fast-paced, focused, determined.

Q: Was being female either an advantage or disadvantage in working on your startup?
There was a slight advantage. Having both a female and a male on the co-founding team made for a good balance. Our different perspectives and experiences were useful when building our products, especially since our toys and games are for both boys and girls. We often have to interact with kids and their mothers, and sometimes they are more receptive when I approach them vs when my co-founder does.

Q: What do you wish someone had told you when you were 15?
Learn to code! Take more risks. Do things differently than others.


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    Y Combinator created a new model for funding early stage startups. Twice a year we invest a small amount of money ($150k) in a large number of startups (recently 200). The startups move to Silicon