Folks, I've spoken out a lot about the importance and urgency of men championing women in tech. It's one of the reasons I'm supporting the Women Startup Challenge.
Tonight in San Francisco, 10 women-led startups will pitch their startups at LinkedIn to a panel of investors and a sold-out audience. Even if you didn't have a chance to get tickets, you can follow along using #WomenStartupChallenge. I really suggest doing so, as this is the real deal.
The startups pitching are as follows:
- bluDiagnostics is one of the first apps to enable women to understand their body through revolutionary saliva-based measurement technology that gives women immediate, quantitative data about their hormone level
- SIRUM is the “match.com” for unused, unexpired medicine, matching it with people in need.
- Blendoor is a blind recruiting app that hides candidate name and photo to circumvent unconscious bias and facilitate diversity.
- Mohop digitally fabricates mass-customizable footwear on demand with robots.
- ClearVest Advisers is a fintech alternative investment platform, providing access to established and emerging managers with lower investment minimums.
- EmbraceFamily Health is a mobile-first digital maternal child health platform that empowers women with personalized information for maternity care and baby care.
- Entry Point VR provides cross-platform distribution and analytics for virtual reality content.
- Design Flux Technologies is revolutionizing the energy storage industry by creating and selling the world's first Battery Operating System, "Cognicell" in clean energy applications.
- Babyation created a breast pump that’s a gamechanger. It’s quiet, comfortable, and discreet. The bottles don’t hang off the breasts, and it’s controllable by smartphone and offers customizable programs and an app for “smart” data logging.
- Cake is the easiest way to do end-of-life planning. They provide experts to help you create a comprehensive end-of-life plan that’s stored securely in the cloud.
One of these startups will walk away with $50K cash, no strings attached. Backstage Capital will be investing $10K in one of the startups. And the live audience will use Audience Awards to vote for one startup to receive $120K in cloud services from IBM. Over the next week, the public will be able to watch videos of the startups pitching and vote for their favorite. At the end of the week, 2 additional startups will both receive $120K in cloud services.
I figure that if you’ve done well, as Kevin Spacey says, it’s your job to send the elevator back down — meaning we need to be intentional about opening our doors to women and helping 'em expand their networks and clout. This is one thing that the Women Startup Challenge is really doing.
Stay tuned for the winners of the Pitch Competition tomorrow...