Jordanian Woman Builds Top-Notch Foodie Site

Jordanian startup, woman owned startup, startup interviewNadia Shomali started her company for the same reasons a lot of entrepreneurs do. She had a problem and built her own solution. She originally intended to only use the site herself and share it with her friends. She had no idea how many other people needed a food collection site! As the popularity grew among her friends and acquaintances, Shomali realized she may have a business on her hands. is a fully integrated site for foodies. Shomali describes it as merging all the most important features:

  • Google for food
  • Pinterest for food
  • Tumblr for food
  • Store for food…
  • All in one account.

On the Oasis500 website, the company says they “provide the opportunity to learn, add, and promote everything about food in a fun and interactive environment. Our users have access to informative articles, interesting recipes, engaging videos, and so much more.”


Shomali at Oasis500 training

Drawing on 12 years of experience in web design, development, and marketing, Shomali built the original version herself. Now, she leads at team of 9 as they continue to improve and market the site.

Although Shomali started on her own, she credits Amman-based incubator Oasis500 with much of her team’s success.

“Through Oasis500 we could get the angel investments, the support, and the weekly mentorship meetings that helped to create a very strong business model,” she says.

Oasis500 is the first early stage/seed investment company in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. They hold boot camps around the region and invite the most promising companies to incubate at their Amman headquarters. The invitation includes capital, access to other angels, and mentoring. The company big vision is to launch 500 startups in the MENA region in the next 5 years. is one of those companies. Four months into their incubation, they’ve brought on additional investment from Leap Ventures. Shomali was also very proud to share that in those 4 months, they’ve also reached 4 million page views a month.

We talk about female entrepreneurs a lot at Nibletz. I was curious to know if starting up as a woman in a predominantly Muslim country was any different than a woman starting up in the US.

When I asked, though, Shomali–who is a Christian–had answers very similar to the women I’ve talked to stateside: It’s challenging to start up as a mother (she has twin 3-year-old girls), but her husband and family are very supportive. That answer could have been taken from one of my own on the subject!

Shomali and her team aren’t slowing down, though. With the growing popularity of their current site, they are looking to launch a new one called The version of will focus on the Middle East only, and Shomali describes it as an Arabic Pinterest.

There is a growing wave of entrepreneurship in the MENA region. With woman like Nadia Shomali and the team, the future is looking bright.

Check out and, if you speak Arabic, the new, which is coming soon.


Meet Your Neighbors And Have A Conversation–A Neighborsation

Neighborsations, DC startup, 1776 DC, Woman owned startup, Allison Sheren

Neighborhoods are everywhere; they come in all kinds of shapes, and sizes. It could be a neighborhood in a metropolis like New York City or a neighborhood in Anytown, USA, or around the world. Chances are you live in a neighborhood and can count on one hand the close friends you have in that neighborhood.

Even in the suburbs, neighborly conversations have become rare, never mind neighborly friendships.

Well DC-based entrepreneur Allison Sheren  is hoping to spark conversations between neighbors with her startup Neighborsations.

Through their online community Sheren hopes to take online conversations off line, learn from one another, teach someone something, get to know your neighbors, and build stronger communities.

The website is divided into four categories that any neighbor can relate to; Town Hall (the bulletin board, safety updates, vendor recommendations), Neighbor Favors (need a cup of sugar or to borrow a lawn mower), Neighborhood News, and Block Party.

Currently Neighborsations is only open to neighborhoods in DC, but Sheren sees the value in Neighborsations anywhere and everywhere in the world.

Check out our video interview with Sheren below:

Now read: DC Mayor Vincent Gray celebrates Speek, DC Tech and 1776.


What To Do After School? DC Startup Activity Rocket Has The Answer

ActivityRocket, DC startup, startup interview, woman owned startupAs the parent of a kindergartener her father and I are swimming in mountains of ideas of things for our daughter to do after school. There are a lot of programs out there but not one central website to go to where we can check out everything. We’re just getting started and have a good 10-12 years more to plan for.

Parents in the Washington DC metro area won’t have to worry about this problem, especially going forward in 2013. Washington area startup Activity Rocket wants to be the Urban Spoon, or Flixter for after school activities.

Two ex-attorney’s and frustrated moms in Washington DC, Lisa Friedlander and Ilene Miller have created Activity Rocket to serve as a portal to the after school world for busy parents. Between the two women they have five children between the ages of 6-11 and before Activity Rocket, they had no place to start.

Now, their startup is filled with activity and program recommendations, referrals, expert written blogs, parent ratings and even calendar tools. Friedlander and Miller have made their system extremely easy to use. A parent searching for activities can go to their website and search as wide or narrow as they would like for the activities they want their child enrolled in.

Whether parents are looking for soccer, baseball, ballet, math club, computer clubs, cub scouts, girl scouts, or tutoring classes, Activity Rocket is the place to search. Right now they are solely focused on the DC metro area, but we’re willing to bet that demand will mean expansion in the coming years.

In between code revisions, meetings, car pooling, and holiday decorating we got a chance to talk with Miller about Activity Rocket, the DC startup scene and what it’s like for busy women to launch a new startup. Check out the interview below.

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New York Startup: Cheek’d Brings Back The Actual Calling Card For Romance

New York startup Cheek’d is bridging the online dating world with old school real world romance and bringing back the physical calling card. In an time where everyone knows the now infamous line:

“Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, here’s my number, call me maybe”

Lori Cheek and her innovative startup are bringing back traditional calling cards for people to hand out to people while at the gym, the club, the bar, a restaurant or even walking down the street. From the calling card the person given the card can engage with the person who handed out the card via the web portal.

The explosive hit by female pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen actually brings back memories for the parents of the teeny boppers listening to the song ever so loudly in the car. In fact, even in my 30’s I remember jotting my number down on a piece of paper and giving it to a cute girl or two at the ice rink in the 8th grade.

Sure back then all we could do was leave a phone number. Now through Cheek’d you can create a profile online and point people to it via the Cheek’d card.  Some singles have resorted to having their facebook profile links on their business card or personal cards. Some even jot their Facebook profile down on that slip of paper they hand to a potential love interest. We all know that Facebook may not be the place we want someone we’re interested in to check us out.

Cheek is actually an architect by trade and now she’s designing new architecture for the dating space. Check out our interview with her below:

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Say It Forward With This Connecticut Startup INTERVIEW

By now everyone has seen the startups pop up that let you put all of your Instagram photos on just about every product under the sun. We’ve even reported on a startup that prints your tweets onto toilet paper. Connecticut startup Say It Forward, curates meaningful and inspiring social media content and puts them on greeting cards, with other products soon to follow.

Say It Forward says they do this to promote positivity and inspire people. Their goal is to inspire, share and connect. Surely the founders at Say It Forward know what the real world is like, which is precisely why they’ve created Say It Forward. Now rather than turning to the inspirational minds at Hallmark, Say It Forward uses messages from the public at large for their inspirational products. Think of it as crowd-sourced inspiration.

The Connecticut startup’s founders are two sisters Steph Centorino(22) and Allie Centorino (18) they’ve also enlisted the help of their mother as the chief ideas officer. Step and Allie are no strangers to the world of good. Their previous startup, which is still in operation today, is called CUREchiefs which are funky and soft bandanas designed for people with cancer who’ve lost their hair due to chemo-therapy.

We got a chance to interview mom, the Chief Ideas Officer, Sandra Centorino. Check out the interview below:

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Des Moines Startup: Tikly Wants To Solve Ticket Shock, INTERVIEW

Des Moines Iowa startup Tikly wants to solve ticket shock. The startups 22 year old founder Emma Peterson experienced ticket shock first hand while touring for roughly a year with Iowa’s favorite American folk band, The Nadas. What she found while touring with them is that venues and artists feel ripped off and taken advantage of by the outrageous fees associated with the mainstream ticketing services (LiveNation/TicketMaster).  So rather than trying to design some new platform to game the TicketMaster system Peterson set out to create a whole new ticketing system.

Tikly is that system. Peterson tells us in the interview below, that her fee structure is centered around easy to understand, low-cost, flat rate fees. This is obviously something that artists, venues and fans will love.

We’ve seen a lot of ticketing apps proposed, like one being accelerated at the Brandery in Cincinnati. That team is hoping to provide a platform for small group ticket sales to sporting events. Another ticketing platform, was presented last week in Chattanooga at the GigTank demo day. They hope to take on Ticketmaster as well.

With a mission that rivals Eddie Veder’s campaign against TicketMaster in the 1990’s, Peterson is hoping that independent artists, and smaller venues will embrace Tikly and help her build scale for her ticketing startup. We think that by going to artists and small venues directly, rather than trying to rock the sports industry or game the concert market, Peterson has a more realistic plan for success.

Check out our interview with this young, innovative female entrepreneur from middle America below.

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Interview With Colorado Startup Pixorial

Way before Viddy, SocialCam, and just about any other video app that you can think of, Pixorial was making waves in Englewood Colorado. Pixorial was somewhat ahead of the curve when it comes to video, online video editing, collaborative video editing, and sharing. Pixorial integrates all of that in a very simple and easy to use consumer facing interface.

They launched their first consumer facing product in 2009, again a couple of years before the video phenomenon.

Pixorial caught the eyes of the powers that be at Google as Pixorial was chosen as one of the inaugural 18 companies to partner with Google’s new Google Drive product. This partnership gives consumers access to the entire Pixorial tool to edit, collaborate, and share videos on Google Drive’s cloud based service.

Pixorial’s video product has the simplicity and ease of use of Apple’s iMovie HD in the cloud, providing a much more robust feature set then YouTube’s new video editor. In fact this year they’ve even added filters to their iPhone App.

We got a chance to talk with Pixorial in the interview below.

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Recipes Find You With DC Startup INTERVIEW

Recipes find you with Washington DC startup This new startup in the recipe space has turned the traditional recipe website model on it’s head. Sure they have hundreds of thousands of recipes but rather than have you searching and sifting through thousands of recipes, their intuitive algorithm matches you to recipes based on a quiz you take when joining.

The quiz is fun and practical. It’s multiple choice and you can answer questions about your cooking habits with answers like “the microwave is my best friend”. The quiz also mixes up a bunch of “this or that” questions, like tacos or creamy soup. At the end of the quiz it actually served up results that I would find appealing. With my “the microwave is my best friend” answer, the recipes that offered were relatively easy to cook. They also asked how well stocked my pantry was. Indeed I need to do some more shopping but I think me and this could get along.

We got a chance to talk with Milli Mittal one of the co-founders of Check out our interview below.

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Interview With California Startup: Bib4Brides

Okay so in a previous life I owned a rather large dj business, you know the type that does weddings, school dances, that kind of thing. We were the biggest in the state of North Carolina and South Carolina as well. I’ve actually been involved in over 1000 weddings, that’s a lot. 

When helping brides plan the dj part of their wedding, we had a lot of influence over the schedule and flow. One of the big things that brides and grooms wanted to know was when should they do their special dances, like Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, Bridal Party Dance etc. The question was easy, the answer was some times chuckled at, laughed at and some even found it offensive. We would ask every bride and groom that asked us that question, well “are any of you messy eaters”.  Why, because a stain on a tux or wedding dress could ruin the wedding photos the couple is paying thousands of dollars for, and that are precious memories.

Enter in California startups Bib4Brides. Now we know this isn’t a tech startup but as we’ve shown here many times we do tangible startups too and this one was one that couldn’t be passed up.

Bib4Brides founder Sandi Romena has developed a product, essentially a bib for the bride and the groom, that in the long run can save embarrassment, ridicule and a lot of money.  Sure the bride keeps her dress forever but Italian sauce isn’t the easiest stain to remove from the tuxedo before you take them back Monday morning.

The Bib4Brides was created after Romena had a little incident at her daughter’s wedding which she describes in the interview below:

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Atlanta Startup Creates App To Make People Hate Work Less INTERVIEW

WorkityWork,Atlanta startup,startup,startups,woman owned startup,black owned startup,workplace moral,Ashli NortonA new startup in Atlanta called WorkityWork has set out on an ambitious goal of making people hate work less. While many actually like their jobs, there are equally as many who don’t like their jobs. This is what WorkityWork is hoping to do.

While we’ve reported on a couple of startups that allow people to give feedback about their workplace and job conditions both by name and anonymously, WorkityWork is about your co-workers. Work Place moral has become a hot space for new startups. We really like the ones that are taking advantage of front facing social media like Kebuki and this one. Although it has equally as silly a name as Kebuki, the idea behind using social media to recognize co-workers can be uplifting.

In fact, while Kebuki is a management tool, one of the key elements is a pat on the back from the manager. WorkityWork’s key element is a pat on the back from co-workers.

When you got that promotion, or came in under budget, your co-workers can send you Kudos. If the entire team hit a sales goal, you or your manager can recognize the entire team. You can even set your mood on WorkityWork using what they call Vibes.

Check out how WorkityWork works, in this video below.

We got a chance to talk with Ashli Norton co-founder of WorkityWork in this interview below the break. And yeah, after watching the video WorkityWork is more of a fun name than a silly one.

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Cleveland Startup Organization Jump Start Receives $250,000 To Spur Development Of Women,Minority and Inner City Startups

Jumpstart America,Funding,Startups,Cleveland Startup,Woman Owned Startup,Inner city startupThe JumpStart organization in Cleveland Ohio is a non profit organization looking to help startups across the country. While Startup America does a great job on a broader scale, JumpStart focuses on women, minority and inner city based entrepreneurship.  JumpStart is also a member and partner with Startup America.

The $250,000 grant came from the Surdha Foundation one of the nation’s oldest and largest family foundations. The foundation is headquartered in New York City and was founded in 1917 by John Emory Andrus, a successful New York businessman who served four terms in congress.

“Through our Strong Local Economies program, we aim to create robust and sustainable economies that include a diversity of businesses and sectors, improved access to quality jobs and opportunities for economic mobility. We are proud to support JumpStart in its efforts to expand this valuable program,” said Surdna’s president, Phillip W. Henderson.

“Minority and women entrepreneurs growing larger scale firms can contribute meaningfully to the country’s economic output by becoming more significant job creators,” says Darrin Redus, JumpStart’s Chief Economic Inclusion Officer. “With Surdna’s help, JumpStart can continue to develop and share inclusion best practices and make key connections that will help speed the growth, market entry and success of these high potential young companies.”

Along with the Knight Foundation, the charitable foundation that is the legacy of the Jack and Jim Knight, the brothers who started the Knight Ridder newspaper empire, Surdha is a founding partner of Jumpstart Inc.


Find out more about Jumpstart here

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Toledo Startup: Buyvite Launches Group Payment Platform INTERVIEW

buyvite, brandy wimberly, woman owned startup, startup, toledo startup, nibletzDo you have a big family? Have you ever pulled money together from your entire family to buy grandma and grandpa a cruise, a vacation or other gift? Well pulling all the money together, checking off the payments and then writing one big check or paying by credit card can be a huge hassle. Sure these days you can have most of your family Paypal you but there’s still those few that don’t have a Paypal account. This is just one of the scenarios that Toledo OH based startup Buyvite is looking to solve.

Another easy scenario is times when maybe you and a bunch of friends have wanted to pull together money to buy tickets to a concert or a basketball game. One person typically shells out all the money and waits to get paid back. No more of that thanks to Buyvite.

Buyvite members will have the ability to create a Buyvite by inviting friends and family to a group purchase. Once the requested amount is achieved, the group purchase organizer has the ability to trigger a Buyvite Code, that functions like a gift card code, that is worth the requested amount and can be used to make the purchase on any site that integrates the Buyvite API. Group purchase organizers also have the flexibility of sending the collected funds directly to any U.S. bank account for free.

We got a chance to talk to Brandi Wimberly the woman entrepreneur behind Buyvite

Interview after the break
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NY Startup: StoryTBD Revives The Choose Your Own Adventure Model (Interview)

This is the story of an awesome New York startup for many reasons. First off, it’s a woman founded startup, we love covering women founded startups in addition to startups everywhere else. Secondly, it brings back a favorite past time of mine, and many other technogeeks around the same age in Choose Your Own Adventure.

I remember many a day sitting at a Crown Book Store (way before the big boxes) and deciding which of hundreds of Choose Your Own Adventure titles I would buy with my lawn cutting money and my allowance. The series of books really sparked your imagination and it was almost like buying many different books in one by the way the stories were laid out and the alternative endings you could navigate through.

Now, Katherine Myers, who had a career in the entertainment industry, with stops at DreamWorks, CBS, AMC and New Line Cinema, has turned entrepreneur and launched StoryTBD, a digital, mobile form of Choose Your Own Adventure.

We got a chance to chat with her a bit interview after the break;

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Denver Startup: DailyCloset To Open Monday

dailycloset, daily deals, groupon, nibletzA new woman owned, Denver startup in the daily deals space is slated to open tomorrow. The #startup called DailyCloset, is going to offer daily deals on a variety of women’s clothes and accessories.

DailyCloset realizes that the daily deals space is getting crowded. They plan on differentiating themselves by making their #dailydeals more socially appealing to their users. Users will be encouraged to comment and share the deal of the day via their Facebook account.

“In addition to providing a product for purchase, we utilize the featured item as a centerpiece that engages visitors and stimulates conversation,” said Charles Cunningham, Chief Marketing Officer with “We want to see users talking about the product and respectfully share their opinions, whether good or bad.”

DailyCloset is going to kick off their site tomorrow morning at 9am EST at their first deal will actually be free while supplies last. DailyCloset has teamed up with AJ Morgan to give away hundreds of free sunglasses. Each user will be able to get one pair of free glasses and all they have to do is pay DailyCloset’s flat rate shipping fee.  After they run out of the initial free pairs they will have more available for $4.00. The deal lasts for 24 hours like all the deals on DailyCloset.

DailyCloset will also have a weekly drawing for a free handbag tied in with liking the site on Facebook. Every day at 5pm EST DailyCloset will post a new daily deal. The deal will end at 4:59pm the next day.

The free deal starts at 9am Monday.


Check out here at their website

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