Tech Leaders Lisa Stone, Kathryn Finney, Nisha Dua & Karan Mehandru
to Present Awards at “Shark Tank”-Style Pitch Competition
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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
“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
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
SIRUM – Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused
Medicine (Stanford, CA) is the “match.com” for unused, unexpired
medicine, matching it with people in need.
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
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
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.
For Women Startup Challenge
Bruce Bonafede, 760-831-5080