Female Founder Stories: Susan Johnson, Founder of Women.com (YC S14)

by Y Combinator2/8/2015

Women.com is a women-only sharing platform. Our members share experiences, milestones, questions, advice, pictures, articles, videos, books, products, stories, interests, habits, confessions, rants, high moments, low moments, and everything in between. We are a safe place for women-only.

Q: Tell us about your experience at YC.
We wrote an article about it here!

Q: What is the atmosphere like at YC during those 3 months with Demo Day approaching?
The YC experience is like the night before Christmas, but everyday. There is an excitement and tension that fills every thought you have. It’s awesome and stressful all at the same time.

Q: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far?
That running a startup/company is not intuitive.

Q: Was being female either an advantage or disadvantage in working on your startup?
My gender is a non-issue in terms of actually creating a product that people want to use. Good product knows no gender. I also didn’t feel like being a woman impacted my ability to raise money.

Q: What do you wish someone had told you when you were 15?
Don’t worry about people liking you. In fact, the popular (cool) high school student are not often the successful (cool) adults.

Q: You commuted between LA and Silicon Valley for 3 months with two small children. Please tell us about this experience.
It was exhausting. One part I didn’t write in the Medium post was the fact that I was breastfeeding the whole time. I would race back and forth to my rental to breastfeed my daughter or pump. There were a couple of times I was seriously stressed about leaking through my sweater– and so I always wore nursing pads, a blazer, or an extra shirt just in case something happened.

Q: What advice do you have for other mothers who want to start a startup?
Make sure you have family support. My husband was always an ear and a shoulder for me. If he didn’t support me (morally), it would be impossible to do. Also, the last month of YC I flew my mom out to Mountain View and made her live with me for 3 weeks while we were preparing for Demo Day. It felt like everyone in my life chipped in to make sure the summer was a success– and even then it was super hard.


  • Y Combinator

    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