The 10 PITCH finalists have been chosen and we can’t wait to learn more about each early-stage startup. Thank you to all who applied! By Dana Rosenberg (PITCH Coordinator, Women 2.0)
Every day, all around the world, entrepreneurs create innovative new products and services. Today, we’re excited to announce a select ten of the most intriguing female-founded seed startups that will present LIVE on stage at the Women 2.0 PITCH Competition.
These startups were chosen from hundreds of applicants to present to a panel of investor judges as contenders in our PITCH competition. They represent an especially diverse range of industries -- from urban development to travel to finance, multimedia and more; and hail from places such as Hawaii, Canada and Israel.
On September 30th and October 1st, the pressure will be on as our finalists pitch live at our “How To” Conference to partners from Y Combinator, Google Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Maveron and several other top VC firms. Be sure to pick up your ticket so you don’t miss how the competition unfolds!
How PITCH Works
The Women 2.0 PITCH competition takes place at every Women 2.0 conference. The goal of the competition is to provide exposure and opportunity (with prizes) for early-stage, female-founded startups. Startups come from all over the world to participate. To qualify, they must have at least one female on the founding team and less than $1 million in funding. Our 10 finalists each have five minutes to pitch our judges for a chance at an incredible prize package that will help propel their business forward.
Two winners are selected at every PITCH Competition - one grand prize winner, voted by the judges and another People’s Choice winner, voted directly by the audience (a.k.a. you!) We also captured the process in GIFS.
To help our finalists and other entrepreneurs get more out of the conference, we’re switching things up a bit this year with a new panel: PITCH redux. In PITCH redux, our PITCH coach Dave Kochbeck will lead a discussion with the live judges after the competition on what our founders did well and what they can improve upon, helping every founder in the audience learn to nail their pitch.
This Year’s PITCH Prizes
The overall PITCH winner (as determined by a panel of online judges) receives a grand prize. In the past, our prizes have included meetings with Google Ventures investors, Angel Investor Esther Dyson, six months of free office space, a lifetime pass of CLEAR to let you zip through airport security and more.
This year our prizes include:
- A one-on-one, a closed door, feedback-filled meeting with a selected Partner at Andreessen Horowitz
- A complimentary package of legal services, provided by Startup Legal Garage
- Twelve months of Rackspace Hosting, discount at $1000 off per month
- CLEAR Lifetime Passes: get zippy access through the airport with passes for LIFE!
- WeWork office space at their new San Francisco or Berkeley location
Find out more about our prizes on the PITCH website.
Meet Our 10 PITCH Competition finalists:
1. Donde - @DondeFashion
The sophisticated technology is based on AI and contextual search with already tens of thousand of fashion items from most popular brands analyzed on the platform.
Meet the Founders
Liat Zakay, CEO
Liat has a deep passion for the fashion field which she couples with her strong technical skills that were groomed during her military service as an officer in an elite technological unit in Israel’s intelligence corps. Liat holds a BSc in computer science & economics from Ben Gurion University of the Negev. During her studies, Liat was the head of Cyber & Computer Networks course and teacher in Magshimim program, IDF Cyber training program. As Donde CEO, Liat is responsible for managing the team and delineate the spirit & strategy, as a programmer, she actively participates in product development. Liat is also a graduate of UpWest Labs, a business accelerator based in Silicon Valley supporting entrepreneurs in Israel.
Shai Katzir, CTO
Shai has six years experience in developing and designing multidisciplinary software systems in his previous role as software system leader in Rafael – Advanced Defence Systems. Shai served as a captain in the Israeli Army, where he was in charge of a high reliability software system. Shai holds a BSc with honors in Computer Science & Mathematics from Tel Aviv University. As Donde CTO, Shai is responsible for technology strategy, he is always up to date with every new technological development and the best manner to engage it to our product.
Or Ron, VP Product
Or is a mobile and UX expert, with a passion for developing and hacking. He served in an elite technological unit in Israel’s intelligence corps. Or worked as an information security expert for Comsec, a world-renowned security consulting and risk management company. He served as consultant for companies around the globe and gained invaluable international experience. Or gained his expertise in mobile development as a co-founder of Cellutions, a startup that develops mobile solutions and has served as a tech-guru in a large array of projects. As Donde VP Product, Or, is responsible for developing engaging mobile products for the end user featuring high-tier mobile UX and UI.
2. Hitlist - @hitlist_app
Hitlist is a mobile app that allows users to add travel destinations to their own personalized travel wishlist. Hitlist then alerts users via email about the lowest airfare deals on the internet that are available for their selected destinations. Hitlist inspires users with beautiful travel photography, connects them with fellow travelers in their network and allows them to save money while booking their dream trips!
Meet the Founders
Gillian Morris, Co-founder and CEO
When Gillian was 18, she took her life savings, bought a ticket to Paris, and lived on $500 a month for a year. She is responsible for strategy, fundraising, marketing and making sure everything gets done. She was named a “35 under 35 Travel Innovator to Watch” by PhoCusWright in 2013 and is an entrepreneur in Residence at TechStars Boston in 2013. Gillian was born and raised in the NY area and studied at Harvard.
Luka Kladaric, Co-founder and CTO
Back-End Developer: Formerly at Deviant Art, Luka is responsible for overall architecture and reliability of the technical side of the product. ￼He was formerly lead developer at SCHED and is a featured speaker at ￼PHPday, MobileCamp, CROWD and ZgPHP.
3. Ziggeo - @ziggeoinc
Ziggeo is the "Twilio for video recording/playback" -- an API that lets any site or platform easily record and integrate video profiles, video messages, video reviews and video comments. No more uploading or downloading videos from Youtube -- videos can be recorded from any mobile or other device.
Meet the Founders
Susan Danziger, Co-founder and CEO
Previously she pioneered digital serialization of literature with DailyLit which she sold in 2013. Susan graduated Phi Beta Kappa as a College Scholar from Cornell University and received a JD from New York University School of Law.
Oliver Friedmann, Co-founder and CTO
Friedmann is a world-renowned mathematician, data scientist and engineer who recently solved an algorithmic problem that was outstanding for 50 years. Originally from Germany, he's the co-founder of Ziggeo and serves as its Chief Technology Officer. He holds a PhD in Computer Science.
4. Cheddar Up - @CheddarUp
Cheddar Up is a service that makes managing large group payments a breeze through the use of a wildly simple user interface. It enables individuals, schools and organizations to create custom online payment pages in a matter of seconds for almost anything, providing an alternative to inefficient cash and check payments.
Cheddar Up features robust online payer tracking, automatic reminders, no fees for the collector, and the ability for people to pay in as few as three clicks, whether it’s a group gift, event, school fundraiser or membership dues.
Meet the Founders
Nichole Montoya, Co-founder and CEO
Nichole Montoya has 13 years of experience helping to grow and build businesses. Prior to founding Cheddar Up, Nichole served as a marketing strategist for the past eight years, helping firms grow their brands and reinvent themselves. Her most recent clients include KPMG, where she was a consultant on special marketing projects that required strategy and execution. She was also retained as the Director of Marketing for WealthTouch, a global provider of financial data aggregation services, where she led its complete brand overhaul.
Molly DiCarlo, Co-founder and VP of Product
Molly DiCarlo has built an 18-year career in design and branding and has worked for major agencies in Austin and Atlanta, including GSD&M, WestWayne, Starkwhite and Brighthouse. Throughout her career, she has helped brand Fortune 500 companies and household names, including Solvay, Hewitt, Walmart, Rubbermaid, Simmons, and Cox Enterprise. Prior to Cheddar Up, Molly worked as a design consultant for the past eight years. Molly creates and manages every aesthetic aspect of the Cheddar Up brand, culture and user interface and is closely involved in developing the Cheddar Up vision, strategy, and product roadmap.
5. JobBliss - @gojobbliss
JobBliss is a SaaS platform that connects top freelance advertising, development and design talent with local employers. Our frictionless combination of talent search and job scheduling allows employers to efficiently manage their need for flexible staffing by building and maintaining a network of freelancers, eliminating the middleman and connecting them in real time, directly with ready-to-brief, ready-to-book, pre-vetted professionals.
Meet the Founder
Angie Kramer, Founder and CEO
As an award-winning marketer and business leader with a passion for technology and problem solving, Angie Kramer has over 17 years experience in building new revenue models and innovative digital experiences for many Fortune 500 companies. A lifelong geek, Angie was able to take her love for tech, and apply it to her marketing background to identify and create unique results driven consumer programs.
6. Yuru - @askyuru
Yuru is the modern-day spin on the advice column that’s all about you! Totally personal and available any time, anywhere, Yuru is a fun, lighthearted platform that allows you to access and share helpful advice on any topic through the power of crowdsourcing.
Meet the Founders
Daphne Hargrove, Co-founder and CEO
Daphne Hargrove grew up in New York City, and began her artistic endeavors as a professional, principal ballet dancer. An entrepreneur at heart and with passion for creative design, Daphne went on to launch successful businesses that saw her products licensed internationally and drew international acclaim for her photography. Her business savvy drove her to the top as a sales exec for a Fortune 500 real estate developer. Daphne brings her discipline and skill to Yuru’s product development.
Nicole Randall, Co-founder and CMO
Nicole Randall is an award-winning public relations and marketing executive who brings over a decade of experience launching international campaigns for top global brands and organizations in tech, healthcare, tourism and consumer products. She began her career as a journalist and eventually went on to run global communications for MySpace. She was most recently a VP at Ogilvy. Nicole brings her deep expertise in business strategy to Yuru’s growth.
7. WiseBanyan - @WiseBanyan
Meet the Founders
Vicki Zhou, Co-founder and COO
She is excited to truly innovate the financial services industry and help everyone reach their financial goals. She previously worked in asset management, investment banking at Citigroup, and met her co-founder while doing financial and economic consulting. She has co-founded a medical device company where she co-invented the company's first FDA-approved product. She has degrees in Applied Mathematics & Statistics and Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
Herbert Moore, Co-founder and CEO
He enjoys building things, and loves finding intuitive solutions to complex problems. Prior to WiseBanyan, he founded a Registered Investment Advisor focused on ETF and options strategies for individuals and institutions. Previously, he was the head trader at a volatility arbitrage hedge fund in New York. He has a BA in economics from George Washington University, an MS in Engineering from Stanford University.
8. LocalData - @GoLocalData
LocalData is a cloud-based mapping platform that helps cities and communities make data-driven decisions by capturing and visualizing street-level information in real-time. By combining a rapid mobile data collection tool with an intuitive data dashboard, public and private-sector analysts can make data-driven decisions on the future of urban development.
Meet the Founders
Alicia Rouault, Co-founder and CEO
Alicia Rouault is an entrepreneur working at the intersection of technology, data and the future of cities. Prior to founding LocalData, Alicia worked with award-winning institutions including Code for America, MIT Media Lab, Architectural League of New York and in urban planning and economic development in the public sector. Winner of the 2012 Knight News Challenge for Innovation in Data, Alicia has deep expertise in the development and management of data and software projects, geospatial information, housing and transportation policy and product design. Rouault writes extensively on the role of cities, data and public policy.
Prashant Singh, Co-founder and CTO
Prashant Singh is CTO and co-founder of LocalData and has worked in engineering and technology for the past decade. Formerly, Prashant worked in software development at Microsoft where he created consumer television products for the Xbox, phones and set-top boxes. Before working on consumer technology, Prashant was a signal processing researcher. He received his BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Rice University and was a 2012 Code for America fellow.
Matthew Hampel, Co-founder and Data Science Lead
Matthew Hampel is co-founder of LocalData and lead front-end web developer. Matt has a deep interest in the changing landscape of civic information, having worked with organizations including Code for America, the Chicago Tribune, Harvard University’s Berkman Center, University of Michigan and the City of Detroit to build and research data-focused web applications.
9. Scrumpt - @GetScrumpt
Scrumpt provides busy parents with all of the portioned ingredients and instructions needed to make lunch for their little ones. All products are sourced from passionate farmers and food makers, and receive a stamp of approval from their panel of physicians, nutritionists, and health-minded moms.
Meet the Founders
Bri James, Co-founder and CEO
As a prize-winning cook, child advocate and enthusiast for all things delicious, Bri James is both proud and excited to have a role where all of her passions collide. Before Scrumpt, she was the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Main Street, a mobile application company for SMBs. She received her BA from Emory University and JD from Duke University, School of Law. When not eating kid’s snacks for work, Bri volunteers as a pro-bono consultant with the Taproot Foundation, where she's worked with a range of nonprofits including child wellness and food advocacy groups.
Schery Mitchell-James, Co-founder and Chief Health Officer
A veteran pediatrician and proud mom of co-founder Bri, Schery received her BA in Biology from Lincoln University and her medical degree from Howard Medical School. Schery practiced medicine at Kaiser Permanente for 30-years and now serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UC Davis, School of Medicine. When she's allowed a rare break from Scrumpt, she performs as the lead vocalist/flautist/guitarist of jazz trio, SVT Jazz.
10. Rock Your Block - @RockYourBlock
Rock Your Block is a job and career development platform for youth ages 13 to 24 years old, working to become the "LinkedIn for youth" and crush youth unemployment around the world. Globally, there are 75 million unemployed youth. In the US alone, by 2025, 50 percent of our workforce will be of the millennial generation, yet they currently have record high unemployment rates today. We are changing this by connecting youth with meaningful job experiences in their communities and helping them build their first resumes.
Meet the Founders
Sarah Young, Co-founder and CEO
Sarah Young grew up working every odd job and part-time job imaginable: walking dogs, babysitting, working at a local bakery…you name it! As she grew up through the evolution of the Internet and watched services like LinkedIn and Monster emerge that were targeted toward adults and professionals, she wondered why there was no solution for the most tech savvy generation of job seekers – youth! She saw a huge market opportunity, and decided to pitch the idea at Startup Weekend Twin Cities 2010, where the company got its jumpstart.
John Hibscher, Co-founder and CTO
Caryn Evans, Co-founder and Community Outreach Director
Caryn Evans brings over 20 years of teaching experience to Rock Your Block. Caryn has taught both typical students and children with special needs, ranging from infants all the way to college-level students. Caryn is proficient in teaching American Sign Language. After earning a degree at Emerson College, where she studied children's theatre for the deaf, Caryn found herself drawn to educating children. Today, Caryn works hands-on as the liaison between Rock Your Block's young job seekers and with our community partners and employers.
We can't wait to meet all the great finalists and see these innovative businesses in action at our upcoming HowTo Conference. This pool of candidates makes us excited for what we can expect in the future. Get ready for some incredible energy with talented entrepreneurs and investors from around the world.
Which one will you be rooting for? Grab your tickets now!
The Women 2.0 PITCH process as told in GIFS.
About the author: Dana Rosenberg is currently a summer associate at Maveron LLC in San Francisco. She has previously been a director of business development at Rock Health, led user acquisition, engagement, marketing and PR at HealthTap and been a consultant at Easton Associates, a healthcare strategy consulting firm. Dana first joined Women 2.0 as a coordinator for South Bay where she handled all things related to City Meetup, formerly known as Founder Friday.