Women Who Tech launched a massive startup challenge to bring much-needed awareness and support to women-led startups across the country. The Women Who Tech’s Women Startup Challenge 2016 has announced the ten finalists in the competition, who will “pitch and showcase their innovative and disruptive ventures that are solving business for people, businesses, and the planet”.
The list of finalists for the Women includes women from across various fields within tech, each hoping for the chance to win the various prizes, including $50,000 provided by Craig Newmark of Craigslist to the winning startups; a $10,000 investment grant from Backstage Capital; and $320,000 in cloud services from IBM for the Audience Awards.
So, why host a Women Startup Challenge? In a press release announcing the challenge, Women Who Tech founder Allyson Kapin said the following addressing just that:
“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.”
The competition finalists include: Babyation (St. Louis, MO), Blendoor (San Francisco, CA), bluDiagnostics (Madison, WI), Cake (Somerville, Massachusetts), ClearVest Advisers (New York, NY), Design Flux Technologies (Akron, Ohio), Embrace Family Health (Woodside, CA), Entry Point VR (Santa Monica, CA), Mohop (Chicago, IL), and SIRUM – Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine (Stanford, CA).
With gender inequality still a rising problem for women in tech, it seems fitting that this competition goes underway at such a crucial time. As seen in an earlier press statement, studies by Kauffman Foundation show that tech companies led by women are more capital-efficient, achieve 35 percent higher return on investment, and, when backed by venture capital, bring in 12 percent higher revenue. The truth is clear – women are reliable and innovative startup leaders but lack the support they need to make their startups shine like their male counterparts. Having competitions like the Women Startup Challenge will hopefully move us in the right direction to dispel the tired stereotypes and discrimination that still hold women in tech back.
Tech.Co also participated in this important competition, with CEO Frank Gruber and COO Jen Consalvo judging and providing important feedback for the first round of startups.
More information about the final competition, which will happen on June 14th in San Francisco, can be found on the Women Who Tech website.