- October 10, 2018
- Posted by: Ashley hoffman
- Category: Blog, Local Events
It was a cool, crisp Autumn evening at The Seattle Center. Under the Space Needle, a queue of people – ranging from startup founders, eager to meet someone who will make their dreams come true and those with the funds to make them happen – formed out the doors of the Pacific Science Center.
As everyone filed into the theater and found their way to their seats, one thing became clear: this was not an average pitch event. For one, there was a certain energy in the room – one filled with excitement and the lack of expectations that comes with something new and different. Beyond that, however, there were a lot more women than normally found at these kinds of events. The lights dimmed as Monique Laven, co-anchor for KIRO 7, stepped behind the podium. She greeted the audience and commented on the same energy we all felt.
She introduced the event by announcing, “women’s voices need to be raised – and we need to raise them.”
The room burst into applause. Yes, we are here to raise them. And we’re going to raise them like hell.
She then introduced Leslie Feinzaig, the founder and CEO of Female Founders Alliance, who then stepped out from behind the curtain and was greeted by thunderous applause.
“We are here because we believe in women,” Feinzaig announced, “But also because we believe women.” The applause started up all over again, combined with various whoops and hollering. In today’s tough political climate, this was welcomed – this was needed.
She explained the ideology behind Female Founders Alliance and Ready Set Raise. With just 2% of female-founded companies receiving venture capital, she knew there had to be a better way. But she didn’t want to do it just like everyone else.
“We didn’t want to copy what they do – we wanted to design from the ground up,” Feinzaig explained.
And build the program from the ground up is exactly what they did. Because she understood the needs of female entrepreneurs – months-long daycare isn’t exactly ideal, or in many cases, possible – she was able to craft an accelerator that supported the women in charge just as much as the businesses they run.
Ready Set Raise was born out of a need to support more women-owned businesses. As such, the program focuses on earlier stage companies (those in their first round of funding) and required founders to be on-location in Seattle for just one week. Did I mention those who needed it got free daycare throughout that week?
Speaking of those women, the female founders who made it through the accelerator each came out with something truly amazing to show for it.
Introducing…the Ready Set Raise Class of 2018
Lori Lee Emshey founded Future Sight AR when she noticed an opportunity in the oil and gas construction realm – an industry worth $1.7T a year (enough to buy both Facebook and Amazon, as she mentioned). Her goal is to simplify the equipment checkup process, evolving a 10-hour workday into a 3-hour workday by “turning the clipboard into the cloud”.
Laura Oden founded Pandere as a solution for people who can’t wear regular shoes. Her team developed expandable footwear with a unique toe box that allows people to buy a single, stylish pair of shoes – no matter what their medical needs are.
Dr. Sandra Johnson founded geeRemit to eliminate many of the roadblocks that come with sending funds to friends and family Sub-Saharan Africa. She crafted a new patent-pending system by combining mobile money, a currency that will be usable by 85% of the population by 2020, and blockchain.
Mim Ingarvson founded MoxieReader as a way to get children to read more books. Each student receives personalized reading goals and gets Moxie points for engagement including reading books, providing reviews, commenting on others’ reviews, etc. Both teachers and parents will be able to use the app to see data and check up on the children.
Aditi Shekar founded Zeta, a personal finance app that allows couples to manage their finances together – and separately. Realizing 63% of millennials don’t merge their money fully, she came up with a solution that allows couples to separate their funds into buckets. The app alleviates tension related to money and creates better conversations around finances between couples.
Elaine Kwon founded ChanLogic as a solution for brand managers to manage their e-commerce platforms across one succinct database. ChanLogic brings in data from third-party e-commerce sites and uses it to optimize product listings, provide smart recommendations on marketing budget for growth, and more.
Somya Kaushik founded Esq.me when she noticed lawyers doing hours of extra non-billable work that could be easily duplicated. She created a web-based marketplace where lawyers could exchange documents they use in order to save time and money creating them from scratch.
Alexa Anthony founded Magic AI to monitor animals through commodity cameras, computer vision, and machine learning. Starting with the equine industry, Magic AI will be able to monitor animals for nonverbal forms of communication to monitor animals’ health and safety and potentially save thousands of dollars.
The night wrapped up with an outdoor reception under the stars and the glittering Space Needle. Attendees and
founders alike walked around sipping their much-deserved glasses of wine and chatting about their favorite presentations.
By the end of the night, it was clear: women are making their way through the world of business and they’re
changing everything for the better by doing it. It’s about time.
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