Founders Five with Melinda Fox of Tanji

Listen up, New Techies. We’re starting something new. Each month we’ll share insights and advice in the answers to our Founder Five questions. That’s right. We’re featuring all-star founders and asking them five buzzing questions to gain some perspective about founder life and to inspire you to pursue your passions.

This week we’re featuring Melinda Fox, Co-founder and CEO of Tanji. Tanji is the first app mobilizing audiences for women making film, TV and online content. Tanji will debut their beta at Tribeca Film Festival April 19–30 in NYC!

1. Why do you do what you do for a living?
I’m inspired by building something that can excite fans, audiences and allies for women making film, TV and online content. Parity on screen and behind the camera is something we can all support in our daily life by what we watch, how we watch it, and when we watch. Seeing more types of women on screen, in stories with range, that reflect the breadth of who we are, and from more of our points of view can transform how we relate to one another.

2. Why did you start your company?
My friends and I had a need to find more content featuring more women and made by them. The sheer volume of content and ways to consume it in this ‘culture of plenty’ begs for trustworthy curating.

There’s enormous data and evidence shedding light on the disparities between men and women on screen, quality of their roles, behind the camera, and in positions of power within one of the largest industries in the world. Conversely, there are more women making content than ever. The pipeline is rich with talent blocked from opportunity within a fractured system. Of the last 1,000 popular films to come out of major studios, only 4% were directed by women. It’s lower now than in 1998. For women of color it’s less. Because women make up 51% of audiences and influence 84% of media consumed by households we can play a VITAL role in changing the ratio.
The potential that our startup can build a consumer-movement by aggregating purchasing and viewer power AND do it with a social purpose is why I’m building a ‘feminist Fandango.’

3. What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from being a founder?
The one I’ve been reflecting on most recently is the importance of creating a network of other entrepreneurs who can support you when the startup journey can be isolating, challenging in big ways like fundraising, or working through something you didn’t see coming despite how much planning you do. I’m grateful to have a group that’s generous with listening and forthright with “real-talk.”

4. What is the one piece of advice you would share today with your younger self before you started your company?
Don’t wait or seek permission to do something cool with your resources or talent.

5. What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
That I’m a first-generation college grad that put myself through trade school and then college!

Click here to watch Melinda’s Women in Tech presentation at New Tech Seattle last month.

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