Women Startup Challenge 2020

Lizelle van Vuuren Women Who Startup, Women Who Startup Partner

We have some exciting news to share. We’ve partnered with Women Who Tech and they just launched their 10th Women Startup Challenge, which will be co-hosted by Google. We’re working with the non-profit Women Who Tech as an Advisor to help showcase and fund the best early-stage, women-led tech startups. 

Applications for the Women Startup Challenge are officially open, and I wanted you to be the first to know. I’d love to see you apply. What you’re doing is amazing. The deadline is March 29, 2020. Check eligibility and criteria here.

In addition to the $50,000 cash grant (equity free), a $25,000 investment from the W Fund, pro-bono services, startups will meet one-on-one with several investors during the Investor Mentoring Day following the Women Startup Challenge at Google. The deadline to apply is March 29, 2020. 

Despite all of the pledges to close the gender funding gap, funding for women-led startups remains stagnant – only 2.8% of investor funding goes to ventures founded by women.  

Since launching the first Women Startup Challenge alumni have:

  • collectively raised more than $72M, 
  • brought on stellar advisors and investors, 
  • been accepted into competitive accelerators like Techstars, 
  • and received press ranging from Fast Company to Buzzfeed. 

Plus, Women Who Tech has had the support of movers and shakers such as Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Backstage Capital, 500 Startups, and more.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Looking forward to seeing your application


What if some of my information is confidential?
Please do not include any confidential information in your application if you do not feel comfortable. We will not publicly share any of your application, but it is shared with online jurors as they review your application.

If I applied to a previous Women Startup Challenge, can I apply again?
If you applied to a previous Women Startup Challenge and were not selected as a finalist, you are eligible to re-apply. Prior Women Startup Challenge finalists are not eligible to apply unless they have a new startup and new product. Finalists from the Women Startup Challenge Podcast are, however, eligible to apply for the in-person pitch competition.

My startup is based outside North America. Can I still apply?

Only startups based in North America can apply to this particular Women Startup Challenge.

What if I know one of the online or in-person jurors?
If you know a juror, or if there is a conflict of interest, please alert the Women Who Tech team (info@womenwhotech.com) ASAP. This will not disqualify you, nor will it help to advance your startup. We will assign your online application to a neutral juror who you do not know.

Can I introduce myself to the online judges or in-person judges after submitting my application, but prior to the pitch competition?
No. You cannot introduce yourself to online or in-person judges. Any communication with judges prior to the Women Startup Challenge will disqualify you. If there is a conflict of interest, please alert the Women Who Tech team (info@womenwhotech.com) ASAP.

What are the prizes?

Grand Prize winner will receive a $50,000 cash grant (equity free). The W Fund is committing a $25,000 investment (after the fund completes its first close) and pending final due diligence. All finalists will also receive pro-bono services, and participate in our Investor Mentoring Day where founders will meet one-on-one with several different investors.

After my application is submitted, can I make edits?
You can make edits until application submissions close on March 29, 2020 at 11:59pm PST.

I already submitted my deck or a video but we closed another round, or something else has shifted, can I send an updated version?
You may only upload or revise your application, deck, and video until March 29, 2020  at 11:59pm PST. We will not accept any revisions once applications close.

How long does it take to find out if my startup was selected as a finalist to pitch at Google?
Finalists will be announced by April 13th, 2020.

Will airfare and accommodations be covered if I am selected as a finalist?
We are unable to provide airfare and accommodations for the Women Startup Challenge. As a volunteer-run nonprofit whose money goes toward funding women-led startups, this is not feasible. We do, however, provide accommodation sharing documents upon request so that you are able to work with other founders who would like to share space.

Which dates will I need to block off if I am chosen as a finalist?

Please block off the following dates in case you are chosen as a finalist. Attendance to each of these is required. Please let us know if there is a conflict as soon as you are selected as a finalist. We will provide specific times closer to the date.

  • April 24, May 14, and May 15: Pitch coaching
  • June: Women Startup Challenge at Google
  • June: In-person meetings with Investors

Photo taken at soona Denver