Our Female Founders Competition Finalists: Ten Women-led Companies Transforming Enterprise Tech
During my tenure at M12, I’ve been consistently inspired by all the incredible female founders I’ve been privileged to meet and, in turn, frustrated when I hear the industry misconception that there aren’t enough women starting enterprise tech companies. I’ve worked alongside them, invested in them; yet the data didn’t seem to exist, publicly or across my network of investors.
When I shared my concerns with Nagraj Kashyap, global head of M12, and Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development, we knew that something had to be done, not just to raise awareness of the number of women in enterprise tech, but also to address the broader funding disparity across the VC space. For two years in a row now, only 2 percent of VC funding has gone to female founders.
That’s why this past summer, M12 partnered with two organizations that have diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their values, EQT Ventures and SVB Financial Group, to kick off the Female Founders Competition, a global search to find and fund innovative female-founded startups bringing value to enterprises.
Our goal for the competition was simple: accelerate access to capital for women entrepreneurs. We knew from last year’s Innovate.AI competition that a contest that offered real capital, real growth and real exposure opportunities would prompt incredibly talented teams to apply.
I’m thrilled to confirm today that this competition has not only dispelled the myth that women aren’t innovating in enterprise tech, but also reinforced our belief in the sheer number of them. In just two short months, we uncovered several hundred. The toughest task thus far has been narrowing down the amazing applicant pool to just ten finalists, which we’re proud to announce today:
- Acerta Analytics (Canada) – Acerta, founded by CEO Greta Cutulenco, provides an AI platform that ensures quality and reliability of vehicle systems throughout the vehicle lifecycle.
- BitDam (Israel) – BitDam, founded by CEO Liron Barak, proactively protects an organization’s collaboration channels, guarding against the cyberattacks of tomorrow by stopping advanced content-borne threats contained in any type of attachment or URL, pre-delivery.
- Contilio (United Kingdom) – Contilio, founded by CEO Zara Riahi, provides a decision-making platform for smart delivery of construction projects, turning real-time site data into actionable insights.
- CrowdAI (United States) – CrowdAI, founded by CEO Devaki Raj, provides automated object detection and classification from sky to ground.
- Features Analytics (Belgium) – Features Analytics, founded by CEO Cristina Soviany, delivers AI-based conduct surveillance solutions for the detection of market abuse in equities, FX or other financial instruments, reducing operating costs, financial risks and exposure.
- Jargon (United States) – Jargon, founded by CEO Milkana Brace, enables third-party voice apps to reach global users in their native tongues.
- Mental Canvas (United States) – Mental Canvas, founded by CEO Julie Dorsey, reimagines sketch for the digital age by augmenting it with spatial strokes, 3D navigation, and free-form animations – all drawn with the ease of pencil and paper.
- TrialJectory (United States) – TrialJectory, founded by CEO Tzvia Bader, provides an AI clinical trial matching platform for pharma that reduces extensive screening efforts and streamlines the entire patient recruitment process.
- Verge.Capital (Ireland) – Verge.Capital, founded by Chief Risk Officer Ioanna Stanegloudi, aims to be the premier pan-European credit score provider, enabling EU citizens to freely carry credit scores across the EU and helping underbanked citizens access credit facilities.
- Wenspire (Israel) – Wenspire, founded by CEO Mirit Kagarlitsky, provides a secure-by-design solution to protect, insure and safely share data with third parties, overcoming the pain and limitations of traditional cybermeasures and also eliminating risk assessment procedures.
Just yesterday, the group gathered at the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco to pitch their companies to our panel of judges. Their passion, energy, and brilliance blew us away.
Now comes the hard part: choosing our two winning teams. Stay tuned until we unveil them in December!
Photo Credit: Rebecca Wilkowski