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Women Who Tech Launches Their First Program Focused on HealthTech Innovation

Applications are officially open for the 2019 Women Startup Challenge Europe HealthTech; Supported by Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and Office of the Mayor of Paris

WASHINGTON and PARIS, June 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Women Who Tech, one of the largest nonprofit organizations that funds and showcases women-led ventures, today opened the call for applications for the European-leg of its flagship Women Startup Challenge. Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, the Office of the Mayor of Paris, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, 10 early-stage women-led startups with a focus on healthtech will be selected to compete for a $50,000 grant, equity-free, on October 7th at Paris City Hall, Hôtel de Ville.

The esteemed jury will be comprised of investors and global health leaders such as:

  • Elena Fernandez-Kleinlein, Interim Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS EMEA
  • Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of Paris
  • Eamonn Carey, Managing Director of Techstars London

By 2040, the world will spend $25 trillion annually on healthcare – a 150% increase since 2014, according to the World Economic Forum. In an effort to accelerate healthtech innovation, the Women Startup Challenge Europe HealthTech aims to foster a culture and economy that increases funding for women founders who are developing solutions to the biggest health challenges.

Women Who Tech will deploy capital, resources, and mentoring to women-led healthtech startups that are working to improve lives and champion greater healthcare access by disrupting consumer health and wellness, grow the medical tech ecosystem, and bring innovative health solutions to people across the globe.

"Only 9.7% percent of investor funding goes to women-led healthtech startups. Put simply, progress for funding women-led startups is moving at a glacial pace. We need to change this narrative for good," said Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech. "Innovations that are literally saving lives are being left underfunded and we are on a mission to change the ratio."

"We need investors to start funding more women-led healthtech startups. We can't continue to solve healthcare problems around the world without engaging diverse backgrounds and experiences," said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and a member of the Advisory Board for Women Who Tech.

"At Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, we deeply believe in the strength of community and diversity to empower innovation all over the world. 26% of JLABS companies have a woman lead, compared to less than 1% in life sciences industry. But there is more progress needed, especially in the areas of investment and fundraising. Therefore, supporting this challenge is an excellent way to move the needle in the right direction," said Elena Fernandez-Kleinlein, Interim Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS EMEA.

Eligible startups in Europe and the US must have at least one woman founder or co-founder, and must have a presence in Europe. Criteria and submission details can be found at Women Startup Challenge Europe HealthTech 2019. Applications close August 1, 2019.

About Women Who Tech

Founded in 2008, Women Who Tech is helping to draw global attention to the significant gender bias in venture capital funding by shaking up a culture and an economy that has made it exceedingly difficult for women to launch and scale their startups.

By showcasing women-led ventures through Women Who Tech's flagship Women Startup Challenges, the nonprofit provides capital, mentoring, direct access to leading investors, and other resources for women who are creating the most innovative tech companies, with the ultimate goal of closing the funding gap for good.

The Women Startup Challenge is one of the largest global programs with a pipeline of over 3,000 women-led startups. The organization showcases and funds women-led tech startups, hosting thousands of women innovators across the world including New York, Silicon Valley, London (co-hosted by the Office of Mayor Sadiq Khan), and Paris (co-hosted by the Office of Mayor Anne Hidalgo). For information, visit

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS

Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS is a premier life science incubator program, and a global network of open innovation ecosystems, enabling and empowering innovators to create and accelerate the delivery of life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to patients around the world. As a leader in innovation, JLABS helps entrepreneurs in pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer, and health tech bring healthcare solutions to patients and consumers. Read more on

The Women Startup Challenge is supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, Office of the Mayor of Paris, Rad Campaign, Donna Griffit Storyteller, and more.

Allyson Kapin
SOURCE: Women Who Tech

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