FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO – The Women Startup Challenge announced the winners of its first West Coast competition for women-led tech startups held last night at LinkedIn in San Francisco.
The top prize of $50,000 went to SIRUM of Stanford, California, 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 of San Francisco, 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 of Madison, Wisconsin, 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 pitch competition, co-produced by Women Who Tech and Craig Newmark’s craigconnects, awarded more than $400,000 in cash and cloud services. Sponsors included Backstage Capital, Audience Awards, and IBM.
“We’re immensely proud of all the women who compete in each Women Startup Challenge,” said Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech, which ran the competition. “They are innovators creating solutions to real-world problems and challenges. They’re doing serious business, and tech investors and venture capitalists need to take notice and fund these ventures so they can scale.”
“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,” said Newmark, who advocates for men in the tech community to be true allies to women colleagues.
The judges included prominent tech leaders: 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 first Women Startup Challenge was held a year ago in Washington, D.C. The San Francisco competition was the third in 12 months. “Our 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 Kapin.
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