(Courtesy photo by Laurent Lo)
Women Who Tech, a tech nonprofit launched in 2008 by Allyson Kapin to showcase and fund women-led tech startups, launched its Women Startup Challenge in Europe. The inaugural event co-hosted by the Office of the Mayor of Paris, took place on Oct. 25 at Paris City Hall where finalists from women-led startups across Europe pitched their ventures before a panel of tech industry executives and investors.
“Paris is determined to provide girls and women with the resources to occupy their rightful place in the society and in the tech industry. We were thrilled to cohost the Women Startup Challenge Europe and showcase 10 talented women-led startups who are making an impact in this world,” Deputy Mayor Jean-Louis Missika, said in a statement.
The D.C.–based tech nonprofit took its Women Startup Challenge global after finding that only a tenth of investor funding in the EU was allocated to women-led startups in 2018.
The in-person panel of judges included Mitchell Baker, cofounder and chairwoman of Mozilla, Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of Paris, Fatou Diagne, partner and cofounder at Bootstrap Europe, Julien Quintard, managing director of Techstars Paris, Alejandro Tauber, Editor-In-Chief of The Next Web and Stéphanie Hospital, cofounder and CEO of OneRagtime. There were three categories: grand prize, audience choice and Mozilla’s choice.
The winning women-led startups were (with descriptions previously reported by Technical.ly DC):
- Sampson Solutions Ltd. took home the grand prize, receiving $35,000 in funding from Women Who Tech to help scale their startup. This startup creates bio-based construction materials from sustainable sources using a closed-loop, carbon neutral manufacturing process.
- Inorevia earned the The Audience Choice Award. This startup develops and commercializes a new generation of patented technologies that miniaturize lab instrument volumes for analysis.
- Mozilla awarded an additional $25,000 cash grant to Vitrue Health, which was selected solely by Baker. Vitrue Health is system that sits in the background of clinical assessments, autonomously measuring motor function metrics, freeing clinicians to focus on more complex patient interactions, saving millions in healthcare costs.
Congratulations to all the #WomenStartupChallenge Europe participants, including Inorevia (audience choice), @VitrueHealth (@mozilla prize), and Samson (grand prize). @WomenWhoTech rule! pic.twitter.com/ZmyFFylTAk
— Kristin Johnson (@KSuzJ) October 25, 2018
“While it’s alarming to see the amount of funding for women-led startups compared to European companies as a whole go down from 14 percent to 11 percent between 2016 and 2018, the Women Startup Challenge is on a mission to close the funding gap once and for all,” Kapin said in a statement. “If investors don’t know where to look, our Women Startup Challenge program has a pipeline of over 2,300 women-led ventures who are ready to scale.”
Kapin was in Europe to kick off the Women’s Startup Challenge, along with Justyn Hintze, the organization’s director. Kapin said she has hopes for the organization to expand the Women Startup Challenges to focus on specific sectors like fintech, healthtech, biotech and sustainability while also adding to D.C.’s Women Startup Challenges that include all verticals.
“We’ve been approached by several major tech companies and investors about hosting Women Startup Challenges across the world,” Kapin told Technical.ly. “As we continue to organize Women Startup Challenges and our Women Startup Challenge Podcast, I’m convinced more than ever that it is women who will save this world and they will make billions for themselves and investors along the way.”
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