There aren’t enough women in tech. It’s an often repeated refrain. Raising capital can be daunting for any new business, but sometimes for reasons beyond merit, the road can be more challenging for female technology entrepreneurs.
Crowdfunder is a social network whose aim is to connect local entrepreneurs and investors in an online forum and through offline events. CROWDFUNDx is an example of the latter, where local entrepreneurs take the stage to pitch investors.
Singularity University hosted CROWDFUNDxWomen at its NASA Research Park campus, where the 10 finalists of an online contest pitched their startups to a room of investors. (Check out all the pitches here.)
A panel voted on a winner and runner up—1-Page (CEO, Joanna Weidenmiller) and Switch Automation (co-founder and CEO, Deb Noller).
1-Page aims to streamline the hiring process by staging competitions between candidates to solve real problems faced by the company. By gamifying hiring, managers get to see what candidates can actually do, instead of struggling to read between the lines of hundreds of resumes—and still fail to find a good match.
Switch Automation, the contest’s runner up, hopes to usher building management into the 21st century. The firm’s software gathers real-time data from various devices and systems, consolidating, organizing, and simply presenting them in the cloud for easy remote access and analysis by managers. In return, managers can remotely monitor and control building systems, like heating, cooling, or lighting.
It’s important to encourage would-be entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, but nothing’s quite as powerful as highlighting a few examples to show what’s possible. We hope a few more ladies take their ideas onstage in 2014.