On March 29, Women Who Tech, a national nonprofit working to break down barriers to women in the tech and startup industry, in partnership with craigslist founder, Craig Newmark, announced the 10 finalists selected for its fifth Women Startup Challenge (Europe 2017). This is Women Who Tech's first-ever international competition.
According to the official press release, finalists will compete for €50,000 cash courtesy of the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, and $210,000 in cloud services from IBM. Contestants are expected to pitch their ventures before a panel of tech industry executives and investors on Wednesday, May 3, at London's City Hall. The event will be hosted by the office of Mayor Sadiq Khan.
"As a proud feminist, I am delighted that City Hall is hosting this exciting competition. Last year, the capital was crowned the best city in Europe for digital entrepreneurs for the second year in a row, so London really is the perfect location for this event," Mayor Khan said in a statement. "I recently unveiled my Digital Talent Programme which aims to boost the proportion of women working in the technology industry, which currently stands at just 17 percent. Both of these initiatives will help to nurture the next generation of female tech entrepreneurs and cement London's reputation as the tech and digital capital of Europe."
The judges panel will include Baroness Martha Lane Fox, founder of Doteveryone; Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia; Marie-Laure Sauty de Chalon, CEO of auFeminin.com; and Rajeeb Dey, founder of Enternships.com, and CEO of Learnerbly.
"This is our first-ever international competition and the response from the tech community has been extraordinary," Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech, said. "We had more than 200 applicants, and our finalists include some of the most innovative women-led startups based in Austria, Finland, France, Ireland, Spain, and the UK."
"Only 10 percent of global investor money goes to women-led startups, yet women-led companies yield a 35 percent higher return than those led by men," Craig Newmark added. "We've got to invest in talent and close this gap."
Women Startup Challenge Finalists (as described on the Women Who Tech Website):
Open Bionics – Open Bionics is an award-winning robotics startup, founded by Samantha Payne, that is revolutionizing the healthcare industry by using 3D scanning and printing to create (stylish) advanced, and affordable bionic limbs. (Samantha Payne)TechSixtyFour – TechSixtyFour offers families with innovative technologies that will positively impact their lives. The Gator Watch, for example, is a wearable mobile phone and tracker designed for young children. (Colleen Wong) Tespack – Tespack, created by Caritta Seppa, provides mobile energy creation on the move with its smart clothes and Smart Wear. (Caritta Seppa) BLITAB – BLITAB is described as the world's first "tablet" for the blind, creating tactile text and graphics. BLITAB allows blind users to work, learn, and play on one mobile device. (Kristina Tsvetanova) Simprints – Simprints has designed an affordable biometric scanner, mobile app, and cloud platform that could become the first source of providing identity to the 1.5 billion people who do not have formal IDs. (Alexandra Grigore) Lifebit – Lifebit is said to be creating the operating system of genomics. Lifebit's framework enables insightful real-time genomics analyses by making them easy to deploy, portable across clusters and clouds, scalable no matter the size of the data to be analyzed, reproducible, and more time and cost-efficient. (Dr. Maria Chatzou)
See Fashion – See Fashion is a discovery platform that helps fashion brands identify new trends and buying opportunities in their market. (Ivana Ojukwu)
Sound Bounce – Sound Bounce is an acoustic metamaterial, that provides improved noise attenuation when compared to conventional materials. It can be integrated into aerospace, automotive, construction, and many more industries to reduce the impact of environmental noise. (Rhona Togher)Epicery – Epicery is a food delivery app that allows users to order fresh produce directly from local artisan shops, with one-hour delivery. From cheese makers, to butchers, to fishmongers, Epicery lists it all. (Elsa Hermal)We Got POP – POP, a marketplace for film and TV production, is introducing innovative technology that brings efficiency to an industry that is (surprisingly) reliant on manual, old school processes. (Kate McLaughlin)
[Feature Image By Pexels]