Top Founders from World’s Largest Diverse Pitch Competition Head to Silicon Valley to Compete for a Portion of $600K Investment Capital

Hannah Kate Kelley
Jan 14 · 5 min read
Welbi CEO Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau pitches at the SoGal Ottawa Pitch Competition on Nov. 28. Photo by Alexandria Preston.

That’s a wrap!

Just before the new year, SoGal Foundation tied up our last regional round for the 2019–2020 SoGal Global Pitch Competition, the world’s largest global competition for women and diverse entrepreneurs.

After a flood of 1,700 applications from 61 countries, we kicked off 25 regional competitions, which started in late August in Charlotte, North Carolina and finished up last month in Bengaluru, India. This year, we partnered with over 150 investor judges, hosted competitions across 5 continents, and are sending 115 founders to the final global competition and startup bootcamp in Silicon Valley.

The top founders will fly to Silicon Valley in February 2020 to participate in the SoGal Global Pitch Finals as well as a 3-day immersive startup bootcamp. Winners will get guaranteed facetime with Bay Area investors and pitch for a chance to win a portion of $600K in investment dollars from our friends at SoGal Ventures and Draper U Ventures.

Curious what a SoGal Pitch event is like? Check out our coverage in Ottawa, Dallas, Charlotte, South Bend, Bangalore, Salt Lake City, Berlin, Shanghai, Chicago, Austin, & watch this amazing video led by our Ottawa Chapter Lead Zainab Muse and Nickie Shobeiry.

Shot and edited by Jack Major

Out of the 1,700 startup applications we received this year, 75.26% of founders self-identified as women, 60.4% people of color, 42.02% women of color, 29.16% black, and 8.22% LGBTQIA+. “Since only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women in 2018,” says SoGal Foundation Co-Founder Elizabeth Galbut in her interview for NVCA. “And less than .1% of funding has been allocated to black women since 2009, these applications represent the incredible and untapped potential of underrepresented entrepreneurs.”

Diversity Stats on 2019-2020 SoGal Global Pitch Applications

“Approximately half of applicants are in the consumer space (E-commerce, Retail, Software, Media, Beauty),” says Galbut. “And the other half in “deep” tech (AI, SaaS/B2B, Healthcare, Big Data, FinTech, etc.), which is so exciting. This is further evidence that women and other underrepresented groups are building innovative startups across all industries.”

We asked our regional winners about their recent wins, their roadmaps for growth, & how SoGal’s Pitch Competition has helped them out so far. Here’s what they said:

“I’m excited and honored to take part in the Global Pitch stage in Silicon Valley, and hope it will be a great platform to gain valuable partners and investors to ease our planned expansion into the U.S. market.” — Jesrina Arshad of Purely B Sdn Bhd, Singapore

“In January, we’re launching in Whole Foods and Anthropolgie! The Pitch Competition connected me with an amazing network of other entrepreneurs!” — Kate Flynn of Sun & Swell Foods, Los Angeles, California

“The Magwai team would like to express our sincere thanks to SoGal for inviting us to pitch and for creating this opportunity for us and other female-founded startups. So far it has helped us meet other women founders and be more integrated with women entrepreneur communities here in the Philippines. We are in talks with a distributor who can be our gateway to a mainstream retailer / pharmacy here in the Philippines — with nationwide reach through its 752 branches.” — Czarina Carbonel of Magwayen Organics, Inc, Manila, Philippines

“We’re launching a TV commercial in our local area. Thank you for all you do! You are making an impact and creating a legacy!” — Stephanie Gomez of Stabilized Steps, LLC, Naples, Florida

“SoGal has connected me with countless investors and customers. I was recently accepted into Fashion Institute of Technology Design Entrepreneur Program — allowing the platform and resources to develop a line of post-mastectomy bras that come in extended sizes and shades of nude. I was also named Womanpreneur of the Year by Washington DC’s Women Business Center.” — Jasmine Jones of Cherry Blossom Intimates, Washington, D.C.

SoGal Sydney Competition on November 7

Meet our winners and feel free to follow their updates as they head to the #SoGalGlobalPitch Finals on February 29th, 2020.

Charlotte, led by Sam Smith: EnrichHER & 18.21 Bitters LLC

Online: Bluedot & UVERA

Washington, D.C., led by Chelsea Hart: See ROSE Go, Vishion & VisuWall Technologies

Chicago, led by Laura Ma and Amanda Ye: TraknProtect, Five to Nine & Fiveable

Austin, led by Shaydi Dejesus: Aquifer Motion, Handsome & Work & Mother

South Bend, led by Nicola Brown: SNAPSHYFT, Level Up & Inspectus

Tokyo, led by Mari Matsuzaki and Wei-Chuan Chen: Lizuna & ChatBook, Inc.

Los Angeles, led by Lauren Crist and Ashley Girard: SPARE, Quirktastic & Sun & Swell Foods

Boston, led by Trisha Prabhu and Carla Luna: Spatio Metrics, StrattyX & Secure AI Labs

Berlin, led by Carrie Shuer, Fraenzi Schmitt, and Alexis Evans: Phantasma Labs, Nifty Learning & j.jackman

Jury panel converses during SoGal Los Angeles Pitch Competition on September 19. Photo by ABM Photography.

Singapore, led Kelly An and Nicole Ong: NOTARUM, Gandengtangan (Holding Hands Asia), Purely B Sdn Bhd & SOCIAL WEAVER PTE LTD

London, led by Simrat Randhawa and Kate Verbiest: Kidadl, Bold Health & Know The Origin

New York, led by SoGal HQ and Amanda Coopersmith: Cherry Blossom Intimates, Queen of Raw, RNA & Tastemakers Africa

Naples, led by Allie Felix: Rubitection, Fruutfull, Lean Orb & Stabilized Steps, LLC

Shanghai, led by Mackenzie Zhang and Zooey Zhao: KAWO, Bodytime & red and pink lab craft beer

Salt Lake City, led by April Weathers: HELLO!BULK MARKETS, Clocr, INC & The Loaf LLC

Judge fills out grading sheet during Nairobi Pitch Competition on October 23. Photo courtesy of SoGal Nairobi.

Sydney, led by Stella Bella: iNovoTech, Ywaste app & Me3D

SF, led by Nandini Nallasivan and Lily Xu: Creative Protein Solutions, The Lotus Method, Pngme & Neolth

Nairobi, led by Erica Moraa and Yvonne Chemutai Chelule: Afrofinity, Tustawi Education & Genesis Care

Lagos, led by Damilola Thompson and Aima Nwafor-Ohiwerei: M’Care Health, Brickify Ltd & Gitgirl

Dallas, led by Rachel West: Rosy Wellness, Inc, Kanna & Lazarus 3D

Ottawa, led by Zainab Muse and Nickie Shobeiry: Welbi, Fülhaus inc. & Thawrih Corp.

Manila, led by Vera Lummis and Raya Buensuceso: 1Export Trade and Services Inc., Isdabest International Inc. & Magwayen Organics, Inc

Bengaluru, led by Karina Shah: GetPY, Aerologiks & Exora

Join our 2019–2020 SoGal Summit & Global Pitch Competition Finals in Silicon Valley on February 29th. Early bird tickets are now available — but hurry before they run out. RSVP today & we’ll see you there!

Hannah Kate Kelley

Written by

Marketing & Communications Coordinator @SoGal Foundation



SoGal Ventures is first female-led millennial venture capital firm, redefining the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs and investors. SoGal Foundation is the largest global platform for diverse entrepreneurs & investors.

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