Folks, the Women Startup Challenge is on a roll. In Round I, over $315,000 was raised by the startups. A panel of judges consisting of investors and tech experts reviewed the 25 startups that raised the most money in Round I for viability and promise. Twelve women-led startups were chosen to move to the final round.
Join Women Who Tech for the first-ever Women Startup Challenge Pitch Competition. (I'm partnering alongside investors Joanne and Fred Wilson.) The 12 finalists from the Women Startup Challenge crowdfunding campaign will pitch and showcase their innovative and disruptive ventures that are solving problems for people, businesses, and the planet to a panel of investors. One startup will walk away with $50,000 in cash. Other prizes include a one-on-consultation with a partner from 500 Startups, pro bono legal services, and other startup-friendly services.
The 12 finalists (in alphabetical order):
- Amplify Loud: a DIY website and online marketing toolkit for small- and mid-sized businesses on a budget.
- Fam-ess (which stands for Family First, Earn Always, Save Often and Spend Wisely): an app that teaches kids ages 3 to 15 the discipline to make spending decisions based on their willingness to earn and save, so that they are better equipped to sidestep debt as they grow. Fam-ess has a mission to teach kids financial discipline long before they go off to college or get their first job.
- GeoHealth.US: has the goal of helping ignite kids with a sense of curiosity and excitement about STEM. They also work to share hyperlocal info with those interested in the impact of their environment on their health.
- Kicker: an independent digital news startup. Kicker provides snappy explainers with tweets, pictures, and videos that help you get informed and make a difference. They do relevant stories with substance, not clickbait. They note that they never drone on or screech; they curate and explain news and put it into helpful context.
- LGBTQutie: a progressive online dating and social networking platform that allows people to find meaningful connections, romantic relationships, and friendships. They note that they're the only site that exclusively caters to the full spectrum of LGBTQ sexual orientations and gender identities.
- MYOLO: Considering that nearly half of all borrowers don't shop around for a mortgage, leaving thousands of dollars on the table, and that women heads of household pay 0.4 percent more on home mortgages on average, Myolo is here to change that. They say, "We make it simple, easy, and dare we say it, fun, for anyone to apply for a mortgage."
- On Second Thought: an innovative messaging app that lets you take back text messages you regret before they are received on another person's phone. Whether autocorrect is waging a war on your phone or you've just had a little too much to drink, On Second Thought has your back. Replacing the phone's native messaging app, users can eliminate any awkward or damaging text situations with this app.
- PeerSpring: a civic-tech educational platform that helps students understand, apply, and master core skills through the practice of good citizenship and passion-based learning.
- Primary Book Club: an e-commerce discovery platform and resource for parents. They currently offer a subscription service for parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Each month, members receive a set of age-appropriate children's books selected by their team of early-childhood-development experts.
- Vijilent: strives to create technology that gives individuals and businesses impartial and informed opinions of peoples' fitness for sharing economy transactions. Unlike other opt-in or subscriber-based trust services, a Vijilent "V-Score" is based on predictive analytics of anonymous peoples' public records and public social media data. It's much like a credit score, only tailored for particular social transactions instead of financial ones.
- Virtue.Us: takes your purchasing data (from your email inbox) and maps research done by NGOs and sustainability experts onto it, giving you a distinct sense of how your purchases are impacting the world. You can think of it as "social impact analytics about your purchases, straight to your email inbox."
- Zidisha: P2P Microlending Without Borders: an online microlending community to connect lenders and borrowers directly across international borders, overcoming previously insurmountable barriers of geography, wealth and circumstance. Zidisha borrowers pay one lifetime membership fee when they first join, and thereafter only 5 percent for each loan. Lower costs mean that profits from the loan projects go to the borrowers instead of to the banks' administrative expenses.
These startups are the real deal, and it's about time that we fund more women-led startups. With only 7 percent of all investor money going to women-led startups, we've got a lot of work to do.
To show your support, RSVP to the Women Startup Challenge Pitch Competition, where 12 women-led startups will showcase their startup and one will win $50,000.