I decided to write a few thoughts as so much fun stuff has come on my radar in the last few days. Unfortunately I’m writing this at the last minute as the week has somehow gotten away from me. I wonder if any woman out there can invent a machine that zaps you every time you get off task. Not too painful, but rather a gentle reminder to focus…focus…focus. I was thinking to buy a pair of these Wonder Woman G-Loves workout gloves to use when I’m writing (seriously) but I thought the Swarovski crystals might prove more distracting than helpful.
It’s been a busy week, chasing stories, planning our next event, and networking. Actually two of these came together nicely on Tuesday evening when I attended a sold-out first-of-its-kind women startup pitch challenge organized by Women Who Tech here in DC. It was amazing to see so many people there (the line went around the block, I kid you not) and very cool to learn this will not be a once-off event. Unlike the SBA’s InnovateHER competition that we covered in May, this pitch challenge is exclusively for female founders and preceded by a crowdfunding period where a larger group of startups (180 to be precise) ran one-month crowdfunding campaigns on Crowdrise. All participants got to keep their funds (yay, there are rewards for all that hard work), but 12 of the top performers were selected to pitch at the final challenge for a grand prize of $50K and runner up goodies like legal services and business support. There were many investors in the audience, however, so I have the feeling we will be seeing more of those who participated. The winner was Maci Peterson’s On Second Thought, an app that let’s you take back your text messages (finally, right?), followed by Michelle Salsberry’s Fam-ess, an app that teaches kids how to make better buying decisions, and Holly Esptein Ojalvo’s Kicker, which curates and repackages news for people who don’t like news (ie, millenials). All three of these women definitely gave kick-ass pitches, but my personal favorite was Myolo (man, that Shally Venugopal can tell a good story), a new player to the mortgage application market. Definitely others to watch include GEO Health, which lets you check how healthy your environment is, the commendable idea of Zidisha, a loan crowdfunding platform for people in developing countries, and VirtueUs, the self-described “social impact FitBit for your wallet” (to alleviate your spending guilt). You can see all 12 of pitchers on the Women Who Tech website and stay posted because we are definitely going to dig into the stories behind those stories.
In the same tech #womensupportingwomen vein, I loved this story about some women who are creating apps that will influence how you shop. Iris Kuo’s and Camille Rickett’s LedBetter database and Amy Cross’ Buy Up Index – both of which host information on companies’ gender diversity status – will be converted to apps with the aim of informing consumers and impacting purchasing decisions (and thus corporate behavior).
And the fun stuff?
- Check out this great advertising campaign by Swimsuits For All to create “an unretouched video empowering women to be #NotSorry about their bodies this summer. ” In one word: awesome.
- If you’ve got wonky feet (just sayin’), like to be a style Diva, or generally love shoes, then Shoes of Prey is for you! Founded by a former lawyer in Australia, this woman-owned company allows consumers to design their own shoes online. Don’t ask me how much these cost but it’s difficult to put a price on getting exactly what you want and being unique (especially when it comes to shoes).
- And my favorite … this young woman has launched a business making treats that are designed to reduce PMS symptoms. PMS Bites contain
herbs that reduce bloating and cramps, craftily disguised as chocolaty, decadent (vegan, gluten-free), desserts AND… wait for it, she delivers “directly to your home during the exact week you need it most.” Sign me up! And if you’re not sure when that exact week will be, there’s an app for that too! Ariana PMS Tracker is the brainchild of Scarlett and Estelle from Paris.
If you know a female founder with a great idea and even better story, use the Share your Story link on our home page and we’ll consider to feature you.