NEW YORK -- Women Who Tech, a national nonprofit working to break down barriers to women in the tech and startup industry, in partnership with Craig Newmark, announced the 10 finalists selected for its fourth Women Startup Challenge pitch competition, a nationwide contest that will focus on showcasing and funding women-led startups working in the areas of virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). The competition is co-sponsored by startup investors Fred and Joanne Wilson, and will award $50,000 as a cash grant, $35,000 in pro bono legal services by global law firm Paul Hastings, LLP, among other startup friendly services.
"We received close to 200 entries from women-led startups who are at the forefront of VR and AI. These ventures are building virtual limbs, self-driving non-automotive vehicles, 3-D immersive cameras, drone technologies and wearable tech for gaming. It's vitally important that women and their companies get properly supported so that their perspective on these life changing products is brought to market," said Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech.
The 10 finalists, who hail from California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas (see descriptions below), will appear together February 15, at the Google's New York campus in Chelsea. One grand prize winner will be selected in the course of a "shark-tank style" competition. More details here: www.womenwhotech.com.
The panel of judges who will be selecting the winners of the Challenge consist of investors Kate Shillo (Director, Galvanize Ventures), Kai Bond (Principal, Comcast Ventures), and Lisa Stone (Entrepreneur and Cofounder, BlogHer).
"The creativity and accomplishment of a lot of women in this highly technical field is impressive," said craigslist founder Newmark. "The startup challenge is about matching opportunity with talent. It's about opening doors. We can't make that happen fast enough."
This marks the fourth Women Startup Challenge since June 2015. To date more than 1,500 women-led startups have participated and nearly $1M in cash and other prizes have been awarded to winners and finalists.