Microsoft’s venture fund M12 has launched the second year of the Female Founders Competition in partnership with venture capital firm Mayfield and Melinda Gates’ investment fund Pivotal Ventures.
The project aims to accelerate funding for female entrepreneurs developing business-to-business software-as-a-service and deep technology solutions.
Eligible women-led start-ups developing enterprise solutions in the United States, Europe, Israel and India can submit applications before 15 December 2019. The four winning companies will receive a total of US$6 million in venture funding (US$2 million for each enterprise start-up winner and US$1 million for each deep tech start-up winner), along with access to technology, resources, mentoring and more.
“Last year’s competition helped highlight that there are innovative female entrepreneurs developing enterprise tech solutions, and they just aren’t getting equal access to capital,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft. “The tech industry can’t afford to keep leaving women’s good ideas on the table. We need to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, and together with Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures, we aim to do just that with our second Female Founders Competition.”
According to venture capital company PitchBook, in 2018 female-founded companies garnered just 2.3% of the total capital invested in venture-backed start-ups. Despite this disadvantage, female founders continue to deliver more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested than their male counterparts, according to a study conducted by MassChallenge and Boston Consulting Group.
“I am delighted to partner with M12 and Mayfield on this important competition,” said Melinda Gates, philanthropist and founder of Pivotal Ventures. “Enterprise technology is shaping our world in countless ways, but it will never reach its full potential unless women and their ideas are equally represented within the field.”
A live finals pitch competition will take place 18-19 March 2020, with the announcement of winners following shortly after. Full guidelines and contest information can be found at www.FemaleFoundersComp.com.
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