LONDON — Women Who Tech, a US-based nonprofit that advocates for women in the tech and startup industry, and craigslist’s founder Craig Newmark, today announced plans for the inaugural Women Startup Challenge Europe, which will unite female tech innovators from across the UK and Europe to compete for €50,000 in cash grants. The competition will feature 10 finalists pitching their ventures before a panel of tech industry executives on Wednesday, May 3, at London’s City Hall, hosted by the office of Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Women Startup Challenge Europe is open to tech startups with at least one woman founder or cofounder across the UK and Europe. A panel of esteemed online judges will score applications and select 10 finalists to pitch their businesses in person at London’s City Hall. Competition criteria and submission details can be found at Women Startup Challenge Europe 2017.
“This will be our first international pitch competition for women-led tech startups,” said Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech, which has sponsored four prior pitch competitions for women innovators in Silicon Valley, New York, and across the US. “We’re doing our part to disrupt a tech culture that has made it difficult for women entrepreneurs to access capital. There is an abundance of talented women out there, and we hope to spotlight the true innovators so that they can get the funding they need to scale.”
Judges will include Baroness Martha Lane Fox, founder of Doteveryone; Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia; Marie-Laure Sauty de Chalon, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of auFeminin.com (the world’s leading internet portal for women); Fatou Diagne, co-founder of Bootstrap Europe; Martin Bryant, Community Editor of Tech North and former Editor-at-Large of The Next Web; Cathy White, founder of CEW Communications and former Head of Communications for Tech City UK; and Hussein Kaj, Founding Partner of Hoxton Ventures.
The winning entrepreneur will receive a €50,000 cash grant to scale her startup. The Women Startup Challenge Europe is being held in partnership with tech entrepreneur and craigslist founder Craig Newmark.
“Only 10 percent of global investor money goes to women-led startups, yet women-led companies yield a 35 percent higher return than those led by men,” said Newmark. “We’ve got to do better.”
The Women Startup Challenge has support from tech industry leaders including Stephanie Hospital, Founder of OneRagtime; Rajeeb Dey MBE, Founder of Enternships.com & CEO of Learnerbly; Susan Lyne of AOL’s BBG Ventures. Partners have also included Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, IBM, Medium, 500 Startups, and others.
The Women Startup Challenge is one of the largest pitch competitions to showcase and fund women-led tech ventures. In the past 18 months, the organization has hosted four competitions, featuring a total of 42 women-led startup executives delivering elevator pitches onstage to VC investors and hundreds of attendees.
Accomplishments to date:
- Over $1,000,000 in cash and prizes has been awarded to support women-led startups.
- 1,300 applicants have participated, representing diverse, women-led startups across the U.S.
- 40% of finalists have been women of color.
- 1400+ attended the competitions, including founders, engineers, investors, and tech press.
- Alumni have closed seven-figure rounds.
- Alumni have been accepted into some of the most competitive accelerators.
- Competition and winners have received extensive press coverage (e.g., BuzzFeed, INC, New York Observer, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Recode).
- #WomenStartupChallenge has trended on Twitter during each competition.