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Tech Women's Roar Getting Louder

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Companies raised a whooping $48B in venture funding in 2014. But few checks went to women-led firms. A DC-based organization is doing something about that.

Tech Women's Roar Getting Louder

Women Who Tech, started seven years ago by Rad Campaign, a DC-based web agency, recently launched a global database for women-led startups. It’s also planning a funding competition this summer in which all competing women-led startups get some funding. Allyson Kapin (above), who runs the all-volunteer initiative, says the database has over 50 companies and fills a void missing on AngelList, a resource used by investors. Allyson is also hoping the database inspires more reporters to cover women-led startups. The number of businesses led by women rose 68% between 1997-2014, but the amount they’re raising from investors represents 4% to 11% of the total amount companies are raising.

Tech Women's Roar Getting Louder

The Women Startup Challenge, in partnership with Craig Newmark (above) of craigslist and craigconnects, starts with a crowdfunding campaign in April; the women-led startups raise money to help scale or launch their startups during the campaign. The top competitors will then compete in an in-person pitch competition in June at General Assembly DC based on the amount raised through crowdfunding and the viability of the startup. The winner gets up to $50k, no strings attached, and startup-friendly services. The Women Who Tech Telesummit, the group's signature virtual conference, will be held April 29 with online panels and in-person parties. It also kicks off the crowdfunding competition. 

Tech Women's Roar Getting Louder

Separately, DCFemTech has also launched a tech awards program recognizing “powerful female programmers.” The awards will focus on female engineers or developers in the DC area who code on a regular basis. General Assembly engineer Allison McMillan (above), who’s helping organize the awards, says the group wanted to recognize women “in the background who are coding all the time so that their company or organization is more successful.” The group already had over two dozen nominations 24 hours after announcing the awards.