SAN FRANCISCO – Women Who Tech’s Women Startup Challenge, one of the tech world’s largest initiatives to bring together promising early-stage, women-led startups, announced the selection of the ten finalists that will compete in a “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition in San Francisco, June 14, at LinkedIn. A group of distinguished investors and industry leaders, including Lisa Stone, co-founder of BlogHer; Kathryn Finney, founder of digitalundivided; Nisha Dua, principal at BBG Ventures; and Karan Mehandru, general partner at Trinity Ventures, will help award $50,000 provided by Craig Newmark of craigslist to the winning startups. Backstage Capital will grant a $10,000 investment, and the Audience Awards and IBM will award $320,000 in cloud services.
“The Women Startup Challenge has one goal – to shake up a culture and economy that has made it exceedingly difficult for women entrepreneurs to access capital. Our startup challenges have reached over 1,000 women-led startups from across the country, all of whom are focused on solving problems for people, businesses, and the planet,” said Allyson Kapin, founder of the nonprofit Women Who Tech, which organizes the competitions.
"We are excited to host the Women Startup Challenge in LinkedIn’s new office in San Francisco,” said Pat Wadors, senior vice president of the Global Talent Organization at LinkedIn. “The finalists are all accomplished professionals that have put forth exciting ideas. It's going to be a real challenge for the judges to choose a winner.”
The ten startup finalists that will participate in the pitch competition are as follows:
Babyation (St. Louis, MO) 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 (San Francisco, CA) is a blind recruiting app for job recruiters that hides the candidate’s name and photo to circumvent unconscious bias and facilitate diversity.
bluDiagnostics (Madison, WI) is the first app to enable women to understand their body through revolutionary saliva-based measurement technology that gives women immediate, quantitative data about their hormone levels.
Cake (Somerville, MA) 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 (New York, NY) is a financial-tech alternative investment platform, providing access to established and emerging managers with lower investment minimums.
Design Flux Technologies (Akron, Ohio) is revolutionizing the energy storage industry by creating and selling the world's first battery operating system, “Cognicell,” via clean energy applications.
Embrace Family Health (Woodside, CA) is a mobile-first digital maternal child health platform that empowers women with personalized information for maternity and baby care.
Entry Point VR (Santa Monica, CA) provides cross-platform distribution and analytics for virtual reality content.
Mohop (Chicago, IL) uses robotics to digitally fabricate mass-customizable footwear-on-demand.
SIRUM–Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine (Stanford, CA) is the “match.com” for unused, unexpired medicine, matching it with people in need.
The Women Startup Challenge is produced in partnership with Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects. Newmark is sponsoring the cash prize and will attend the competition and awards. “Less than ten percent of startup investments are directed to women-led startups,” said Newmark. “That’s not only unfair, it’s bad business. The tech world needs to be promoting its top talent regardless of gender.”
According to studies by Kauffman Foundation, tech companies led by women are more capital efficient, achieving 35 percent higher return on investment, and, when backed by venture capital, bring in 12 percent higher revenue.
The Women Startup Challenge is supported by leaders in the startup world, including: Fred and Joanne Wilson, Craig Newmark of craigconnects, Microsoft, Medium, BBG Ventures, 500 Startups, LinkedIn, IBM, Audience Awards, Rad Campaign, Invisu, and others.
The finals competition and awards will be held June 14, 2016, at 5:30 PM at LinkedIn: 222 Second Street, San Francisco. For more information see http://womenwhotech.com/women-startup-challenge.
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