FEMALE FOUNDER PITCH NIGHT
In case you missed it we hosted a Female Founder Pitch Night this week. A Massive collaboration between MYOB, Startup Vic and One Roof.
With well over 500 registrations, it was exciting and the room was buzzing. MYOB were blown away by the number of people in their event space.
As you may have heard me say many times before One Roof is SO MUCH MORE than a co-working space. We exist to foster an environment that gives women-led businesses the greatest chance of success. Hosting networking events, pitch nights and creating a platform for women to be seen and heard are just some of the many things we do to support our members and the broader female founder community to success.
Nearly 100 female founders applied to pitch. As Startup Vic can attest to, this is a phenomenal number and well in excess of any other pitch night. Because we were so overwhelmed with applications and registrations we decided to host a Pre-Event with the intention of capitalising on this opportunity, sparking conversion and galvanising people into action to back a female founder.
We invited all Female Founders who submitted an application to attend and be ready to share what they need. We also invited a cross section of the broader community; established startups, mentors and advisors, investors, accelerators, corporate and government to attend ready to celebrate and support female founders. We facilitated speed networking and strongly encouraged the community to back a woman-led business. The support that was committed included mentoring, pitch training and curated introductions to potential clients and partners.
Lots of connections were made. Loads of support was offered. Action was taken which is exactly what we wanted to see.
We also leveraged from the pre-event as an opportunity to do a 'live mapping' exercise of all the Female Partners, that is, organisations in our ecosystem who specifically support female founders and women and girls. They each had 60 seconds to do a 'reverse pitch' to the room. We heard from an incredible array of Female Partners including Springboard, Scale Investors, One Roof, Girls in Tech, GirledWorld, The League of Extraordinary Women, Atto, Wade Institute, She Starts and SheEO.
The pre-event was a great prelude to the main pitch night. 10 female founders pitched for the main prize which included $5k cash from LaunchVic, sponsored desk space at One Roof thanks to MYOB, and a host of other prizes thanks to Startup Vic’s industy partners.
They had 3 minutes to pitch with question time from the judges. We had a diverse range of judges on the night; Kerri Lee Sinclair, Kristen Holden, Georgia Beattie, Sarah Holloway and Evgeny Tchebotarev. They are all successful founders and investors across Australia and internationally. They were able to strike the perfect balance of being both encouraging and also asking challenging questions.
We also opened up the opportunity for 5 female founders to give a 60 second pitch with no slides and no judges questions. They pitched to win sponsored desk space with One Roof.
Congratulations to the winners of the One Roof sponsored desk space. This is an amazing opportunity to support early stage women-led businesses providing them with a home for 12 months and a supportive community to tap into. A BIG thank you to MYOB and in particular Kristen Holden and Basil Adamou. They are sponsoring the opportunity for female founders to have desk space at One Roof for the next 12 months and they will be providing mentorship and expert support as they grow their start ups. This support is absolutely crucial in the early stages of a start up!
The winners were:
Annie McAuly, Founder of TalkiPlay engaging children in hands-on exploration of their world through play to accelerate a child’s understanding of language
Kaye Price, Cofounder of Donor Plus informing, empowering and supporting living kidney donors
Wei Sue, Cofounder of Navi Medical Technologies, helping children achieve brighter and healthier futures through medical innovations
Christina Hobbs, Cofounder of Verve Super, Australia’s first super fund for women by women
Zoe Milgrom, Cofounder of Eugene, you can make smart, healthy choices with their at-home genetic tests
The People’s Choice winner was Zoe Condliffe, Founder of She’s A Crowd, using technology to shares women’s stories
And the overall winner was…..
They blew the room away with their pitch. Everyone was cheering. A super fund for women was clearly important to every single person in the room.
We hosted this pitch night because we want to create a platform for female founders to be seen and be heard. We wanted to shine a spotlight on female founders, their courage, their businesses and their success. There is still a persisting gender gap in entrepreneurship and startup. Women experience entrepreneurship differently to their male counterparts. The expectations on men and women differ. We are still surprised to see women in positions of leadership or influence. We still struggle to find women in investment and women-led startups still struggle to access funding.
It’s time to create real, meaningful change.
The Female Founder Pitch Night is just one of many steps we take to create positive lasting change.
Stay tuned for what is to come in 2019. It is going to be a BIG year for female founders!
Thanks to everyone who participated and attended.
Sheree Rubinstein, Founder and CEO of One Roof.
If you want to experience the One Roof Co-working Space that supports such amazing female founders, register for your free week trial here.
Photo Credit: Kwanghui Lim