WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Women Startup Challenge, one of the largest initiatives to bring
together top early-stage women-led startups, launched a national
competition to showcase and help fund their ventures. Applications
to compete in the competition run through March 31st. A group
of distinguished investors and industry leaders including Lisa Stone,
cofounder of BlogHer, will select 10 finalists to pitch in San Francisco
in June 2016. At the live pitch, Stone and other investors will help
award $50,000 in cash as well as other startup-friendly prizes.
Startup Challenge is a national effort to promote game-changing
women-led startups focused on solving problems for people, businesses,
and the planet. It is done in partnership with Craig Newmark, founder of
craigslist and craigconnects,
who is sponsoring the cash prize.
“Only seven percent of investor money goes to women-led startups,” said
Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech and the Women Startup
Challenge. “If we’re going to solve the toughest problems facing our
communities nationally and globally, we must foster and invest in a
culture of innovation from diverse perspectives. This means helping to
fund startups led by diverse founders.”
“It’s not just the right thing to do because fair is fair, but it makes
business sense,” said Newmark.
According to studies by Kauffman Foundation, tech companies led by women
are more capital-efficient, achieving 35 percent higher return on
investment, and, when venture-backed, bring in 12 percent higher revenue.
The first Women Startup Challenge was part crowdfunding and part pitch
competition. Held in June 2015 in Washington, DC at 1776, it was open to
applicants nationwide. November’s Women Startup Challenge NYC was
regional in scope and held at Microsoft in New York City. Both
competitions received hundreds of applications.
The winner of the first competition was On Second Thought, an innovative
messaging app that lets senders take back text messages before they are
received on another phone. Winner of the second competition was SoftSpot
by Moonlab, a plug+play sensor system for clothing.
The Women Startup Challenge has been supported by movers and shakers in
the startup world including Fred and Joanne Wilson, Craig Newmark,
Microsoft, Medium, BBG Ventures, 500 Startups, and others.
Bruce Bonafede, 760-831-5080