Australian Women Changing The Startup Game
Women entrepreneurs are not commonly found in the technology sector and it’s a fact that Australian investors, startup incubators and accelerators struggle to attract female talent. However, this is all about to change.
In Sydney last week, the Women’s Pitch event was held and launched the first ever open pitch forum for female founded startups. Created by Orsi Parkanyi, Founder of Women as Entrepreneurs network, the event sold out in 3 weeks and had to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate the 60+ female founded startup teams.
“The motivation behind the event was to create an opportunity for female founded startups to come together, be mentored and gain exposure by profiled industry influencers, and compete in a safe and comfortable environment”, said Ms Parkanyi.
Behind the event was a strategic partnership between the NSW Trade & Investment, Commonwealth Bank Australia, and Women as Entrepreneurs – all supporters of women in technology and sponsors in the up-and-coming CeBIT technology conference.
“This partnership represented a strong industry collaboration by likeminded organisations that not only influence but visibly support female empowerment in the startup space”, continued Ms Parkanyi.
The event commenced with a series of mentoring sessions to help the teams refine their pitch. Following the top eight were selected to present in the afternoons ‘competition’ to a panel of industry leading investors and entrepreneurs from the Australian start-up community.
Bart Jellema – Tjoos, ZEROmail, Startup Australia
Stephane Ibos – Maestrano
Joel Hauer – WeCo
Pascale Helyar-Moray – StyleRocks
Claude Modderman – Braintree
Orsi Parkanyi – Women as Entrepreneurs
Katie Mihell – CBA Women in Focus @katiemihell @CBAWomenInFocus
Laura Mckenzie – Scale Investors @scale_investors
Melissa Widner – Heads Over Heels, Sea Point Ventures @melissawidner
Phil Morle – Pollenizer @philmorle @pollenizer
Kuba Tymula – McKinsey & Co @KubaTymula
All judges were impressed with the high caliber of business concepts presented. The standouts included an app that helps fashion shoppers find last minute deals and make the purchase online; a community platform to sell items in your neighborhood; and an airbnb model for storage.
There were also multiple entries from businesses in the education space – changing the way university research projects are done; how parents associations and school communities connect, collaborate and contribute; or helping with connecting aspiring professionals and entrepreneurs with amazing mentors.
UrbanOutsource, pitched as the Uber of home services, was awarded first place. Co-founded by Noga Edelstein and Elke Keeley, UrbanOutsource offers a sleek on-demand
quote and booking platform – enabling users to instantly book and pay for trusted home and garden services.
“We’re changing the way people buy home services. For many years we’ve been able to easily purchase goods online – and now you can do the same for your home maintenance help”, said Ms Edelstein. “UrbanOutsource customers can book a pre-approved cleaner, gardener or handyman in real-time and while on the go, from a laptop or mobile device”.
When asked what winning first prize means to the business, Ms Edelstein responded, “Being amongst a room full of inspiring female entrepreneurs, we are absolutely honoured to have been awarded first place at the Women’s Pitch event. This win is a real validation for our business model and the opportunities that lay ahead for female entrepreneurs”.
First prize included a 1 minute branded video production offered by Narrativa Video Production valued at $650, a 1 year Women as Entrepreneurs membership plus a 1 year subscription for the Renegade Collective magazine.
In closing Ms Parkanyi said, “Although we still have a long way to go to reach gender balance in technology and entrepreneurship, it was amazing to see that Australian women are changing the game of startups. I’m extremely proud to have brought together and showcased women wanting to share their ideas in changing the world.”
Runner-ups at Women Pitch competition were: http://cmee4.com.au/ htt