“Be confident girls because confidence allows us to play the same game that boys do. Have fun and laugh your path is not about suffering it is about bonding and sharing”, said Clara Gaymard, the President and CEO of GE France at Lady Pitch Night Europe, in Paris.
Lady Pitch Night is one of the biggest contests for women in tech entrepreneurship; Girls in Tech Paris organised the event in partnership with Orange. On 7th October 2015 the 5th edition of Lady Pitch Night kicked off with participants from over 22 countries. And I was lucky to be there.
It was an incredibly inspiring and enriching event with women from all parts of the globe pitching their startups.
The funny thing is that there were women from all over the world, and yet, you quickly got the feeling that we’re all sharing the same experiences. While it can be a little bit shocking that no matter if you are from Armenia or France, you pretty much go through the same challenges, at the same time, it is really encouraging, too: if you think, “well, if she can do it, I can do it, too”.
There was this amazingly empowering atmosphere all around, where we listened to already startup-succeeded women talking about their life experiences and how they got there. They shared their little secrets, and hands-on tips with us, the entrepreneur aspirants not to let us learn everything the hard way.
The French State Secretary for Digital Affairs, Axelle Lemaire, gave an incredible speech. She pointed out that many brilliant girls don’t get better jobs or careers because they don’t think that they are good enough because they don’t see themselves playing that role. As she says: “you have to convince yourself that you can”.
We had 10 finalists lining up and ready to compete between each other for the best pitch. What’s their driving force? The winner automatically got qualified for the next Web Summit in Dublin, got a Demo space to exhibit in the TechCrunch Disrupt in London, and, the cherry on the cake, she flies to San Francisco to speak at the USA lady Pitch Night. It was a tight competition, and before I announce the winner have a look at the 10 finalists; all so amazing and inspiring.
1. Leeluu from Finland
LeeLuu is interactive soft toy and night light that are controlled by touch and can communicate with each other!
2. Clustree from France
Clustree is the first SaaS solution that leverages big data to provide evidence-based HR decisions and help companies better manage careers and recruitment.
3. KidkeDoo from Israel
At KidkeDo, they curate knowledge in an accessible, customized, and safe way. Kids deserve to have their questions answered from their own point of view.
4. InSelly from Latvia
First Instagram Marketplace & Selling tool. Make your Instagram ‘shoppable‘.
5. Gleam from Portugal
Mobile fashion discovery and intelligence platform that brings engagement between style lovers and the industry to the next level.
6. Powr of You from the UK
Powr of You is a personal data marketplace helping people get paid for their data while staying anonymous.
7. SEMU from Estonia
SEMU builds and designs special devices for visually impaired or blind people. The technology combined with home automation systems makes their homes not only more efficient but also safer.
8. MrPatch from Germany
It is a multi-channel platform created to detect visual problems that may affect the ability to read and learn. Through individually developed training and education, it is possible to improve those abilities. The platform is also affordable and easy to use.
9. PublishDrive Hungary
PublishDrive it is a solution for sales analytics and social media channels. The platform integrates all this features and makes e-book publisher’s lives much more easy.
10. Findify from Sweden
Findify is an artificial intelligence that monitors data points and crunch numbers using data science for constantly improvement your search results mechanisms. Providing customers with a personalised experience.
There were also two inspiring young girls under 15 with two amazing projects, embracing coding and supporting other teenage girls. Olina, the founder of TechOlina codes and blogs. And the 12-year-old Manon Van Hoorebeke 2014’s European Digital Girl, who has created a hackerspace only for girls in Belgium. That is what I call Girl Power!
It was incredible to see how many smart and talented girls are working so hard to accomplish so much, but we also need to be honest: we’re still representing a tiny percentage of the overall market and that there is a lot more to be done.
Though, it is clearly frustrating if we look at it from this side, but I think that this is the fuel we should use and build on. Our clear underrepresentation should keep us going on and keep us doing more and fight for a better environment for women, in general, creating better opportunities, open doors for other girls, helping and supporting each others.
There’s a mantra I believe in: when you, a successful woman, get high in the business hierarchy, bring another woman with you.
Oh, and the winner, who took it all was: Findify!