The largest global startup pitch opportunity for women and entrepreneurs worldwide, organised by SoGal Foundation, has arrived in Singapore. This is a unique competition in the South Bay, Los Angeles, that brings millennial female entrepreneurs from around the world who want to raise capital for their companies.
The competition, hosted in 25 cities across five continents, will culminate between Feb 27 and Mar 1, 2020 to a final competition and three-day immersive educational bootcamp in Silicon Valley. The cities hosting the competition include London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Berlin, Boston and Singapore.
This month, the Singapore regional round was held at the PayPal Innovation Lab at Suntec City. It saw a host of bright-eyed and eager female entrepreneurs all psyched up for this unprecedented pitch opportunity for a chance to win investment capital to grow their businesses. Startups were judged by an all-star panel of investors, committed to investing in early-stage startups.
The regional judges in Singapore were Elizabeth Galbut, founding partner of SoGal Ventures; Pocket Sun, co-founder of SoGal Ventures; Reuben Lee, managing director of Adamas Asset Management; Jerry Tso, Senior Director, Head of Singapore Development Center at PayPal; Shiyan Koh, Managing Partner at Hustle Fund and Melissa Heng, angel investor from General Atlantic. The event was sponsored by PayPal. Pocket says of the event: “I’m so excited to see many women here today, speaking so passionately about what they believe in. I’m a huge advocate of female empowerment.”
Finalists selected from each regional round of the SoGal global pitch competition will win a slot in the final global competition held at Silicon Valley next year for a guaranteed face-time with top venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. The winning team will get press exposure, a mentorship programme and win investment capital for their business. Over half a million investment dollars have already been allocated to the final competition from SoGal Ventures and Draper U. Pocket says: “We picked the winners based on who would benefit the most from the Silicon Valley experience and best represent the region, along with considerations on team strength, idea strength and traction.”
Of the 14 startups featured that night, four made it through the Singapore shortlist. They are tech startups: Gandengtangan, Kinderpass, Notarum, PurelyB.
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Farha Siddiqui, head of content at Kinderpass, led the pitch that night. She says: “We are really excited to get a chance to speak tonight. We never expected to make it to the regional round, out of the 1000 applicants!” This app is a solution for busy parents, providing them with customised activities such as reading and massages to suit their child’s age and development.
Photo: The Straits Times
Pocket, who started SoGal in 2014, adds: “The judges and audience have been very impressed by how diverse the ideas are and the quality of the pitches. Amongst the 1,500 female-led companies that applied, 50 per cent of them are in deeper tech. This means, AI, machine learning, medical technology, blockchain and biotechnology, debunking a big myth that women founders only start consumer product companies.”
The global competition continues in Shanghai, Sydney, San Francisco, Bangalore, Dallas, Turin before it concludes on Nov 28 in Ottawa.