Furthering its mission to close the funding gap and help women launch startups and raise capital, nonprofit Women Who Tech has released the names of the 10 finalists selected for the sixth Women Startup Challenge. The finalists will pitch their ideas in a Shark Tank-style competition to top investors and an audience of tech industry executives at Google’s New York campus in March.
“A meager 7 percent of investor money goes to women-led startups. Through the Women Startup Challenge, we aim to shake up a culture that has made it exceedingly difficult for women entrepreneurs to access capital,” said Allyson Kapin, Founder of Women Who Tech. “We’re excited to showcase top early-stage women-led startups that are at the forefront of technological innovation: building drones and holographic displays, developing cutting-edge healthcare to save lives, creating renewable energy sources, and improving environmental sustainability.”
Since its inception, the Women Startup Challenge has worked with over 1,700 diverse, women-led startups, awarded over $1 million in cash and prizes, and seen alumni collectively raise over $20 million.
“Fairness means supporting good ideas that are making an impact in this world, regardless of gender, and the Women Startup Challenge is an effective way to do that. Connections to serious influencers, like noted VCs, points the right way to a new normal,” said Craig Newmark, Founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and a supporter of the Challenge.
Four of the selected startups have developed innovative solutions targeting pressing sustainability issues such as food waste, plastic pollution and water scarcity. In March, re:3D will present an industrial human-scale 3D printer that prints from plastic recyclables and creates access to local and sustainable manufacturing material, while Re-Nuble will pitch its patent-pending process to transform food waste into chemical-free, organic nutrients for both soil-based and hydroponic cultivation.
The panel of judges includes Nisha Dua of BBG Ventures; Iana Dimkova, Director of Healthcare Investing at GE Ventures; Hayley Barna, Partner at First Round Capital; and Hoolie Tejwani, VP of Obvious Ventures.