Hey, the Women Startup Challenge took place last night, and was a real game-changer. 10 women-led startups pitched, and were all the real deal. Each startup had 4 minutes to pitch their venture, and 4 minutes for Q & A with the judges.
The judges were big influencers from the tech sector – Lisa Stone, cofounder of BlogHer and Entrepreneur; Nisha Dua, partner at BBG Ventures; Susan Kimberlin, venture partner at Backstage Capital; and Ajay Chopra, general partner at Trinity Ventures.
- The top prize of $50,000 went to SIRUM, a “match.com” for unused, unexpired medicine which matches it with people in need.
- The Audience Choice Award and $120,000 in cloud services went to Blendoor, a blind recruiting app for job recruiters that hides the candidate’s name and photo to circumvent unconscious bias and facilitate diversity.
- A $10,000 investment from Backstage Capital was awarded to bluDiagnostics, one of the first apps to enable women to understand their body through revolutionary saliva-based measurement technology that provides immediate, quantitative data about hormone levels.
The 10 Finalists Included:
- Babyation has revolutionized the breast pump by making it quiet, comfortable, discreet, and controllable by smartphone. It offers customizable programs and an app for “smart” data logging.
- Blendoor is a blind recruiting app that hides candidate name and photo to circumvent unconscious bias and facilitate diversity.
- bluDiagnostics is one of the first apps to enable women to understand their body through revolutionary saliva-based measurement technology that gives women immediate, quantitative data about their hormone levels
- Cake is the mint.com for end-of-life planning. They provide experts to help create a comprehensive end-of-life plan that’s stored securely in the Cloud.
- ClearVest Advisers is a fintech alternative investment platform, providing access to established and emerging managers with lower investment minimums.
- Design Flux Technologies is revolutionizing the energy storage industry by creating and selling the world’s first Battery Operating System, “Cognicell” in clean energy applications.
- EmbraceFamily Health is a mobile-first digital maternal child health platform that empowers women with personalized information for maternity care and baby care.
- Entry Point VR provides cross-platform distribution and analytics for virtual reality content.
- Mohop digitally fabricates mass-customizable footwear on demand with robots.
- SIRUM (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine) is the “match.com” for unused, unexpired medicine, matching it with people in need.
Tech companies led by women are more capital-efficient, earn a higher return on investment, and when backed by venture capital bring in higher revenue. This is about fairness, but it’s also about good business.
The first Women Startup Challenge was held in June 2015 in Washington, D.C., and with the culmination of the this third Challenge in San Francisco, the challenges have reached over 1,000 women-led startups from across the country. Folks, that's the real deal.
If you missed the Women Startup Challenge, or just want to watch it again, Audience Awards recorded the pitches and you can view them and vote for your favorite here. Voting closes on June 20 at 5pm PST, and the two startups with the most votes will each win $120K in cloud services from IBM. You can also catch up by reviewing the livetweeting using #WomenStartupChallenge.