The Female Founders Alliance, a Seattle-based national network of startup founders and investors, has selected eight women- and non-binary-led companies for its startup accelerator, Ready Set Raise. The six-week program runs from Sept. 9 to Oct. 18.
Companies will receive one-on-one guidance from investors, business executives and business coaches in preparation for FFA’s Investor Showcase Oct. 16 and Demo night Oct. 17, in which the companies will showcase their businesses to national media and industry influencers.
The companies will also receive technical and business mentoring from Microsoft executives as part of a new collaboration between FFA and Microsoft for Startups.
FFA, which launched the program last year, chose the eight companies out of 400 applicants based on their business potential. They are:
--Oakland-based Echo Echo, which creates AI-powered tools for podcasters. Alina Serebryany is CEO
-- GiveInKind, which coordinates support to help clients negotiate major life events. It is the only company based in Seattle. The CEO is Laura Malcom.
--Honistly, a Portland, Oregon-based company that creates financial instruments to minimize the impact of short-term cash needs. The CEO is Betsy Tong.
--Juicebox It, which is described as a company that modernizes erotica with a chatbot that is arousing and educational. The San Francisco company is led by CEO Brianna Rader.
--Panty Drop, which offers personalized intimates shopping for women. It is based in Reno and is led by CEO Julie Arsenault.
--The Labz, which is described as a collaborative platform that protects and memorializes creative content development in real time. Based in Atlanta, it is the only company selected not in the Western United States. The CEO is Farah Allen.
--Tougher, a Corvallis, Oregon, company that produces workwear for women in the skilled trades. Stacey Gose is CEO.
--Wheyward Spirit, a sustainable farm-to-flask spirit made from excess whey. The Eugene, Oregon-based company is led by CEO Emily Darchuk.
“Both FFA and Microsoft recognize a major lapse in opportunities given to women and non-binary founders,” says Ian Bergman, managing director at Microsoft for Startups. “We look forward to our continued work together to promote this necessary shift in the VC landscape.”
Only 2.2 percent of venture capital dollars went to women-led companies in 2018, according to data from Seattle-based Pitchbook.