AMPLIFY 2019: A Startup Pitch Competition that Empowers Female Founders Around the World

Although there are more women starting companies now than ever before, the percent of funding those teams get has dropped. The consistent lack of female representation within the tech and startup worlds is what powers the Girls in Tech mission to get more female-founded startups the funding they deserve.

In 2015, the New York Times released an almost unbelievable glass ceiling truth. There are more male CEOs with the name “John” than all female CEOs combined. This gender gap doesn’t rest solely in Fortune 500 companies. It’s apparent in startups, too.

Fortune discovered that in 2018, all female-founded startups put together received $10 billion less funding than a single e-cigarette company. Even more than that, female-founded startups in the US made up a meager 2.2% of all venture dollars, which was $130 billion, last year.

But instead of pulling us down, these numbers spark our determination. They push us to break through that glass ceiling. For this reason, Girls in Tech introduced the AMPLIFY Startup Pitch Competition exclusively for female-founded startups. Last year’s winner was a truly breakthrough female-founded startup called OmniVis. OmniVis is a company working to cure world health problems by developing technology that quickly detects diseases through fluids in order to more rapidly control outbreaks. The $20,000 prize in seed funding that they won is helping them to scale and truly improve the health landscape for individuals worldwide.

AMPLIFY Brings VC Funding and Know-How to Female Founders

AMPLIFY Startup Pitch Competition is a platform where early-stage startups with at least one woman founder are invited to compete for seed funding. The way to change the statistics is to support one another. Girls in Tech realized the need to make both funding and accessibility to investors more available to female founders. The Finalist earns the opportunity to present their pitch in front of high tech industry veterans, VCs, serial entrepreneurs, first-time startup founders, marketers, and product developers on the AMPLIFY stage, which is also the Catalyst Conference stage for the first time ever.

The Judges

Our AMPLIFY 2019 judges are powerhouses of their own. They know what it’s like to be a female in the tech and startup industries. That also means they know what it takes to survive in this fast-paced environment.

June Sugiyama, Director of Vodafone Americas Foundations

First up we have June Sugiyama, Director of Vodafone Americas Foundations. She spearheaded Vodafone’s transition to its “Technology for Good” programs. Her focus now lies in furthering the mission of one of Vodafone’s major programs, “Empowering Girls & Women Through Technology”. The program invests in providing opportunities to global girls and women empowers them to lead financially independent lives.

Andrea Zurek is the Managing Director of XG Ventures

Andrea Zurek is the Managing Director of XG Ventures and is also an ex-Googler. You’re already jumping out of your seat, we know. XG Ventures has invested in more than 100+ companies with 36 exits including both Facebook and Wish. Andrea also leads a startup investor course with Y Combinator, educating startup investors on startup companies. So she knows a thing a two about this startup funding business.

Carol Mao, Vice President of Fusion Fund

Our next AMPLIFY 2019 judge is an expert in both the US and Asia markets. Carol Mao, Vice President of Fusion Fund, participated in or completed more than 15 IPO/M&A/Bond/pre-IPO investment transactions during her time at Deutsche Bank and CITIC Securities International. She now leads Fusion Fund in their mission to invest and cultivate disruptive technologies.

Phoebe Peronto is the Principal at Salesforce Ventures

Does Salesforce sound familiar? If you’re anywhere near business I’m sure it does. Phoebe Peronto is the Principal at Salesforce Ventures and she’s definitely a force to deal with. Salesforce Ventures does it all. They invest, they teach, they support. The small businesses, nonprofits, and startups that enter here become part of a family that grows together. It would be an absolute honor as an early stage startup to be part of the Salesforce Ventures family.

Laura Chau, Principal at Canaan

Last but certainly not least is Laura Chau, Principal at Canaan. Laura has a passion for consumer technology and lives it every day at Canaan, a VC firm, where they focus on supporting early-stage startups. She’s been named Forbes 30 under 30 Venture Capital and she’s worked closely with a Netflix fan favorite. Marie Kondo anyone? Laura helped Marie Kondo through the launch of her product business. Her know-how when it comes to sales and marketing is above and beyond. With Laura on your side, you’ll be sure to go places.

Our judges will all get the chance to listen to and meet all our AMPLIFY 2019 Finalists pitch their early stage startup.

So now we’re proud to officially announce the AMPLIFY 2019 Finalists who will be presenting their startup pitches on June 20th at Catalyst Conference SF 2019.

The Finalists are presented in no particular order.

AMPLIFY 2019 Startup Pitch Competition Finalists

Reia is a female-founded startup that sees the value in not reinventing the wheel when it comes to women’s health

Reia is a women-owned start-up redesigning the pessary, the non-surgical treatment for pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that affects 50% of women over the age of 50. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the pelvic floor connective tissue and muscles weaken, allowing the uterus or vaginal walls to descend. Due to their rigidity, current pessaries for prolapse management are painful or impossible to insert and remove independently. Reia’s design enables today’s women to manage their pessaries themselves, with comfort and confidence, so they can get support when they need it.

Reia Team

Vitruvian is a female-founded startup improving the user experience in online shopping

Vitruvian is a virtual dressing room software that takes away the uncertainty of finding the right fitting garments online. With just two pictures, our software creates a realistic 3D avatar that captures each user’s unique shape and simulates how garments will look on that person’s body. By using our virtual try-on technology, retailers can decrease their returns, increase their sales, and enhance their customers’ shopping experience.

Vitruvian Team

Clinicai is a female-founded startup creating a future where predictive healthcare is accessible to everyone

Late disease detection accounts for more than half of the annual deaths worldwide. This is mainly due to a scarcity of non-invasive monitoring tools and health information when needed. Current health monitoring and disease screening kits only provide a one-time measurement, are expensive, or time-consuming. Moreover, in most cases besides regular screenings, people only visit their doctor when they experience extreme symptoms toward later stages. In the absence of symptoms, which is quite often, diseases can quietly progress to stages beyond treatment. This is why it is vital to develop a health monitoring tool that is affordable and requires minimum input from the user. That is the main goal of Clinicai. To avoid taking patients’ health out of context, we build a diagnostics ecosystem around each user, inside their homes. We aim to create health tracking sensors for early detection which can be embedded into the regular components of houses.

Clinicai Team

Entera Therapeutics is a female-founded startup working to improve the daily lives of 36 million people in the US

Entera Therapeutics is developing a novel, non-invasive drug-delivery device that accesses the target sinus anatomy. Thirty-six million people in the US suffer from Chronic Rhinosinusitis (CRS), which is inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses for >12 weeks. Symptoms of nasal congestion, facial pain, and headache can be debilitating and lifelong. The device is used by the patient on a daily basis at home, empowering them to manage their disease. Our patent search has yielded the freedom to operate and a strong patentability position. We filed a provisional patent and have developed an early working prototype. The device is a new delivery method for an approved medication, Fluticasone Propionate, and would be regulated by the FDA through the favorable 505(b)(2) approval pathway.

Entera Team

Skinalytics is a female-founded startup giving back the power of skin care to today’s consumers

The Skinalytics beauty app, skin care IQ (scIQ), makes selecting skin care products smarter and easier, with an overarching reason of helping users avoid adverse skin reactions to skin care products, by adding the power of data to the selection process. Through the app, user data is collected about skin type, demographics, geography, and skin genomics and microbiome as well as a history of skin allergies, sensitivities, and reactions to skin care products. An artificial intelligence algorithm using context-aware collaborative filters will be developed to recommend beneficial skin care products and help users avoid adverse skin reactions. We will use the information we gather to create personalized skin care products. scIQ wants to be the go-to resource before you purchase anything that touches or affects your skin.

Skinalytics Team

Attend AMPLIFY + Catalyst Conference 2019

Come meet all of our finalists as well as the extraordinary judges at this year’s AMPLIFY and Catalyst Conference 2019. You can purchase your tickets here.  

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