StartHer finalists, team, and judges

StartHer Awards 2017 recap: inspiring women, champagne, and Paris

Ten incredible women startup founders, 48 hours in Paris, five minutes on stage, and an all round great experience: that pretty much sums up my trip to Paris to participate in the StartHer Awards.

Why women-focused events are important

My fellow finalists were talented, smart, and driven. (And funny.) Yet many of them had never pitched or spoken on a stage before! As the five-time organizer of WordCamp Israel, I saw how hard it is to recruit women speakers, and I think that one of the issues is that many women have little experience with public speaking. As a result, they may not feel confident in their ability to provide value or may feel extremely nervous about the prospect of speaking, and don’t apply. They need that first speaking opportunity to break the ice and see that they can do it.

Ten finalists and their pitches

Each and every one of the ten StartHer finalists is a rockstar, and I loved meeting them, so I want you to meet them too. But first, here’s the live video of all our pitches (I’m around the 1:00 mark):

Aline Muylaert, co-Founder & Head of Sales, CitizenLab — Belgium

Aline co-founded CitizenLab due to her keen interest in urban studies and citizen involvement. CitizenLab is a civic engagement platform on which citizens co-create their city. Aline is very motivated and ambitious, and her company already has many successes in terms of getting governments to sign up for their platform.

Martyna Arent, co-Founder & Head of Sales, Contellio — Poland

Martyna was previously co-founder of a software boutique in Krakow, where she grew it from 3 people to almost 20 within a year. She is now the co-Founder of Contellio, which is used by companies to convert existing content into marketing designs that sell. She is very engaged in Krakow’s Startup Community, and volunteers in the Hive53 community where they organize various events that educate and inspire young people to become entrepreneurs. She also loves her dog — I got to see pictures of him. Adorable.

Elisa Romondia, CEO & co-Founder, Devoleum — Italy

Elisa is a front end developer and UX designer, and her family owns a number of olive trees. She co-founded Devoleum to ensure that the virgin Italian olive oil that people are buying is both virgin, and Italian. This is accomplished with Blockchain which offers the transparency and openness needed to reassure them that the EVOO they eat is exactly what the label says it is.

Sonal Rattan, co-Founder & CTO, Exate Technology — UK

Sonal coded the software behind Exate in the evening while working at one of England’s largest banks in the daytime. Exate protects sensitive data in order to allow for greater client trust with firms and to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Exate’s data middleware solution allows clients to apply rules which easily and effectively control how data is accessed.

Ditte Strachotta, co-Founder, HelloMind — Denmark

Ditte co-founded HelloMind with Jacob Strachotta, who has provided hypnosis therapy and hypnotherapy for more than 20 years. HelloMind is a mobile app that can help its users change or eliminate low self-esteem, stress, fear, bad sleep and unhealthy habits. HelloMind can be used by anyone who is open and willing to make a positive change in life.

Clemence Franc, co-Founder & CEO, Novagray — France — WINNER!

Clémence Franc worked for household names in the engineering, consulting and scientific fields (Deloitte, GE HealthCare, Colas) before founding NovaGray. Novagray is working towards improved and personalized radiation therapy cancer treatment. Clemence won the StartHer award with her moving and effective pitch.

Miriam Schwab (me), co-Founder & CEO, Strattic — Israel

StartHer is a competition for European companies but they opened it up to Israeli founders too, and I am so grateful for that.

Yes, I put Elsa in my pitch :)

Laura Medji, co-Founder & CTO, Tracktor — France

There aren’t very many women in Construction tech, so Laura is the second woman I met in the industry, which is impressive. Tracktor is a marketplace for renting construction equipment. Laura founded Tracktor in order to facilitate access to construction equipment and to allow construction teams to devote themselves to the needs of their site. The premise is simple: book the right machine at the right time, at the right place and at the right price in just three minutes.

Tatyana Mitkova, CEO, Claim Compass — Bulgaria

ClaimCompass helps air passengers receive their deserved compensation for delayed, canceled or overbooked flights. ClaimCompass offers a web app and tries to speed up the claiming process for passengers. Their average claim refund is $420.

Anne-Claude Pont, co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Wilov — France

Anne has been a Business Angel for over twelve years in the FBA network. Wilov is the first “pay as you drive” car insurance, 100% managed via mobile with the goal of making car insurance transparent.

The finalists, StartHer volunteers and judges

About the trip

We were kept very busy during our stay in Paris. The first evening we arrived we had a dinner for the finalists, which was great since it gave us a chance to start to get to know each other.

Secretary of State in charge of Digital Mounir Mahjoubi speaking to StartHer and others from the French tech ecyosystem

Station F

Following lunch, we headed to Station F, a new coworking space that was established by a French billionaire and is apparently the largest startup campus in the world. This was where the StartHer Awards event was taking place. I had heard about it from other people, and since I love to explore and photograph coworking spaces I was excited to see it.

This giant pile of playdoh is apparently a work of art and was acquired for millions of euros.

Practicing our pitches with representatives from the Femmes Business Angels network

To sum up: I’m loving Europeans

Over the last few months I had the opportunity to attend two Europe-focused events in Paris: WordCamp Europe in June, and now StartHer Awards, and I have to say that I’ve loved the people I got to meet! I really do hope that I have more opportunities to participate in European tech events, since it’s such a positive scene.

Awww thanks :)

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