Women Who Tech launches first program focused on health

Women Who Tech, one of the largest nonprofit organisations that funds and showcases women-led ventures, has opened applications for the European-leg of its flagship Women Startup Challenge.

Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the Office of the Mayor of Paris, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, 10 early-stage women-led startups with a focus on health tech will be selected to compete for a $50k grant (£39.5k), equity-free, on October 7th at Paris City Hall, Hôtel de Ville.

The esteemed jury will be comprised of investors and global health leaders such as:

  • Elena Fernandez-Kleinlein, interim head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation  – JLABS EMEA
  • Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of Paris
  • Eamonn Carey, managing director of Techstars London.

By 2040, the world will spend $25 trillion annually on healthcare – a 150% increase since 2014, according to the World Economic Forum. In an effort to accelerate health tech innovation, the Women Startup Challenge Europe HealthTech aims to foster a culture and economy that increases funding for women founders who are developing solutions to the biggest health challenges.

Women Who Tech will deploy capital, resources, and mentoring to women-led health tech start-ups that are working to improve lives and champion greater healthcare access by disrupting consumer health and wellness, grow the medical tech ecosystem, and bring innovative health solutions to people across the globe.

Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech, said: “Only 9.7% of investor funding goes to women-led health tech start-ups. Put simply, progress for funding women-led start-ups is moving at a glacial pace. We need to change this narrative for good. Innovations that are literally saving lives are being left underfunded and we are on a mission to change the ratio.”

Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and a member of the Advisory Board for Women Who Tech, said: “We need investors to start funding more women-led health tech start-ups. We can’t continue to solve healthcare problems around the world without engaging diverse backgrounds and experiences.”

Elena Fernandez-Kleinlein, interim head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS EMEA, said: “We deeply believe in the strength of community and diversity to empower innovation all over the world. 26% of JLABS companies have a woman lead, compared to less than 1% in the life sciences industry. But, there is more progress needed, especially in the areas of investment and fundraising. Therefore, supporting this challenge is an excellent way to move the needle in the right direction.”

Applications close August 1st, 2019.


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