Meet the Winners of the 2018 Project Entrepreneur Venture Competition!
Project Entrepreneur spent the weekend with 200 female founders at our third annual PE Intensive! The female founders joining us for this year’s Intensive were chosen from over 700 applicants to our PE Venture Competition last fall. Joining our female founders was an amazing lineup of successful startup founders, investors and business leaders who served as keynote speakers and led workshops, including Arianna Huffington (HuffPost/Thrive Global), Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank (GILT Groupe), Carley Roney (The Knot/XO Group), Fran Hauser (Angel Investor), Alli McCartney and Rina Kupfersmidt-Rojas (UBS), Jacqui Canney (Walmart), and Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller (Mented).
We wrapped the dynamic weekend of learning and networking with our third annual PE Venture Competition, and today Rent the Runway Foundation and UBS are pleased to announce the five winning companies!
- Entrada ESL – Erin Janklow, Founder & CEO (Washington, DC): Empowers service industry workers to learn English as they work, using audio & support systems
- Floss Bar – Eva Sadej, Co-Founder & CEO (New York, NY): Oral health reimagined through a convenient, affordable and fun way to get basic dental services in major cities
- Leche Lounge – Stephanie Conduff, Founder & CEO (Tulsa, OK): Portable lactation suites empowering women in the workplace by solving a legal mandate
- NaTakallam – Aline Sara, Co-Founder & CEO (New York, NY): Provides refugees/displaced people with an income by connecting them to remote language teaching and translation opportunities
- PathSpot Technologies – Christine Schindler, Co-Founder & CEO (New York, NY): Protects restaurants and their customers from the threat of food-borne illness
(l to r): Eva Sadej (Floss Bar), Erin Janklow (Entrada ESL), Stephanie Conduff (Leche Lounge), Jenn Hyman (Co-Founder and CEO of Rent the Runway and Co-Founder of Project Entrepreneur), Jenny Fleiss (Co-Founder of Rent the Runway and Co-Founder of Project Entrepreneur), Aline Sara (NaTakallam), Christine Schindler (PathSpot Technologies), Jamie Sears (UBS Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas). Photo credit: Amanda Gentile
The winning companies were selected from 12 finalists that pitched their businesses to a panel of female investor judges, which included Hayley Barna (First Round Capital), Sutian Dong (Female Founders Fund), Erica Duignan Minnihan (1000 Angels), Susan Lyne (BBG Ventures), Courtney Robinson (Advance Venture Partners), and Ellie Wheeler (Greycroft).
The winners will each receive a $10,000 grant, $5,000 worth of legal services from Cooley LLP and on-site training, introductions to investors, and mentorship as part of Project Entrepreneur’s five-week accelerator program hosted at Rent the Runway’s New York headquarters later this year. And we’re excited to announce that Thrive Global, The Knot/XO Group and Walmart agreed to host several additional finalists!
“Through Project Entrepreneur we aim to provide applicable guidance and resources needed by female founders as they work through the early stages of entrepreneurship,” said Jenny Fleiss, Co-Founder of Rent the Runway and Co-Founder of Project Entrepreneur “We look forward to connecting them with additional companies who are poised to provide guidance that will elevate and grow their businesses and help them think even bigger about their ideas.”
“It is clear that the future is female,” added Jamie Sears, UBS Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas and Co-Founder of Project Entrepreneur. “Project Entrepreneur challenges the myth that there’s a lack of high-potential female founded companies. Since its launch, Project Entrepreneur has trained over 1,600 early-stage startups founded by an ethnically diverse group of women from nearly every state. Our alumnae have gone on to defy the odds and raise over $25 million for their ventures in just 3 years, and we are excited to see the continued impact the program will have in building the pipeline of female founders everywhere.”
“This year’s Project Entrepreneur winners represent innovation in an incredibly diverse range of industries, from healthcare and dental care to helping refugees to a language learning tool and beyond,” said Jennifer Hyman, Co-Founder and CEO of Rent the Runway and Co-Founder of Project Entrepreneur. “The talent showcased by each has the potential to completely disrupt their fields and we look forward to working side by side with them this summer at the Rent the Runway headquarters.”
We couldn’t agree more! Congratulations to all the winners—we can’t wait to see what you will continue to build this summer!
For more information, read the UBS and Rent the Runway Foundation press release.