“Diversity Pledges” Are Not Enough: Women Startup Challenge at Google to Showcase 10 Finalists Who Are Spearheading Innovation

To combat the severe lack of funding for women-led startups, Women Who Tech, one of the largest organizations that funds and showcases women-led ventures, announced the ten finalists selected for the Women Startup Challenge at Google. These early-stage, technology startups who are addressing serious gaps in innovation pertaining to Biotech, Education, Agriculture, Humanitarian issues, and more, were selected from 800+ applications.

The Women Startup Challenge aims to close the gender gap in the tech sector, providing founders a platform to showcase their ventures which are propagating meaningful change. On May 29 at Google’s NYC Campus, the ten finalists will compete for $50,000 as an equity free cash grant and $280,000 in Google Cloud services.

“The world is struggling to tackle the biggest issues globally right now, from climate change to healthcare to violations of basic human rights,” said Allyson Kapin, Founder of Women Who Tech. “We have some of the most promising startups who have the solutions to these problems, but struggle to raise capital simply because the playing field for women isn’t level. For the second year in a row, only 2.2% of investor money went to women-led startups. We need to stop the diversity pledges and start funding women-led startups. Our future literally depends on it.”

The 2019 Women Startup Challenge Finalists include:

  • Basepaws, who’s built the “23andMe” DNA solution for pets, focused on breed, health, and nutrition.
  • Ejenta, who are leading a movement of remote health monitoring licensed from NASA AI technology.
  • Elidah, who developed The Elitone device. Wearable and non-invasive, it works to stimulate pelvic floor muscles to help address the urinary incontinence experienced by 1 in 3 women.
  • Farm Fare, who built a customized platform linking farmers and food hubs to wholesale channels across regions, enabling wider distribution and access to hyper-local food.
  • Good Call NYC, who’s established a centralized 24/7 arrest support hotline to provide legal support for those detained in under a minute.
  • i-Subz, who developed a platform that links substitute teachers with schools serving low-income students, facilitating immediate hiring and instant pay.
  • LOOMIA, who have created lightweight, thin “smart fabrics” that can be touch-sensitive, or emit heat or light in products like shoes, planes, automotives, and wearables.
  • Metalmark Innovations, whose breakthrough Catalytic Converter technology turns toxic exhausts into breathable air.
  • Queen of Raw, whose marketplace based on blockchain and ML/AI enables companies to buy and sell unused textiles, profiting from waste and saving the environment.
  • The Growcer, which designs and manufactures hydroponic container farms to facilitate the growth of produce in the most extreme conditions – from deserts to tundras – as a solution to food insecurity.

“I’m proud to support Women Who Tech and these promising women-led startups who are working to combat some of our world’s toughest issues,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and who also sits on the Advisory Board for Women Who Tech. “In our unbalanced world, it is important to support women who are using technology to make a difference.”

Startups will pitch their ventures to esteemed investors including:

  • Ellie Wheeler (Partner at Greycroft)
  • Esther Dyson (Executive Founder of Wellville, Investor)
  • Jen Wolf (Partner and COO of Initialized Capital)
  • Jenny Fielding (Managing Director of Techstars and Cofounder of The Fund)
  • Nashilu Mouen-Makoua (Investor at First Round Capital)
  • Nisha Dua (General Partner at BBG Ventures)

84% of the Women Startup Challenge alumni have raised investor funding, collectively totaling $53M+. Women Who Tech is helping to draw global attention to the significant gender bias in venture capital funding and providing tech company leaders and investors with direct access to the best early-stage women-led startups.

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