Supporting female founders in tech with the Vinetta Project

By Gloria Chik, courtesy of The Vinetta Project

TORONTO – Diversity of thought drives innovation and helps deliver companies superior returns. That’s the message The Vinetta Project portrayed at its Showcase Pitch & Panel event this past Monday night at BrainStation.

Vinetta Project kicked off the first of three pitch events it will hold under its Venture Challenge series this year in Toronto. The Venture Challenge is a local competition showcasing top female founder tech talent and helping them gain access to networks, resources, and investors. One finalist in the succession of events will go home with a $15,000 cash prize plus a suite of prime Startup resources including $25,000 in subsidized legal services from Blakes and their new start-up program, Nitro.

The 4-person judging panel at the kickoff event included a mix of venture capitalists and successful entrepreneurs, each of which was either actively investing or had successfully closed a multi-million dollar round for their own business. The panel listened to each 2-minute pitch, and then were given the opportunity to ask deeper questions and deliver advice.

The 4 women pitching were selected from a pool of over 40 applicants and included – Hollie Gordon from Heartbeat Ai, Chakameh Shafii from Tranqool, Emily Rudow and Kayla Nezon from Oneiric, and Kaye Mao from DashMD.

Heartbeat AI and Dash MD will move on to the finals in October where they will pitch against two other semi-finalists that will be selected from the August event.

The Venture Challenge Launch Event

The Vinetta Project launched in New York city in 2014 and since then has expanded its event offerings to seven cities across North America under a chapter model. They also launched a private membership model called The Collective which provides later stage growth services.

Vinetta has one of the largest databases of Seed to Series A female founders, and has become a vetting system and source of deal flow for venture funds, angel groups, and accelerators in each local region it operates in throughout its four year life-span.

John Ason, an active investor and member of The New York Angels, is a frequent attendee of Vinetta Pitch Events. “Vinetta is by far the largest community of pre- and early-seed stage female entrepreneurs and is a great way to source up and coming investment opportunities,” he said.

Penny Lee, from K Street Capital, also turns to Vinetta for great startups. “Every time we engage with The Vinetta Project it is of quality, it is of thoughtfulness and it is one where I know that if either they call or I attend an event I am going to see something that will most likely catch our eye for an investment,” she said.

Vinetta has been around the Toronto community for three years but 2017 marks the inaugural launch of the Venture Challenge, a competition format they beta tested in their Washington D.C. Chapter last year. “We are thrilled to have participation from leading partners in the local Toronto ecosystem like Capital One and Blakes. Support like this allows us to increase the impact we can have” says CEO and Founder of Vinetta, Vanessa Dawson.

To ramp things up they also brought on a new City Director, Anna Mackenzie. Anna works as a front-end developer at a local Startup called and is an active participant in the tech landscape. Vinetta’s City Directors are responsible for managing all local activities and pulling together a strong Advisory Council to support the community’s growth.

“I was really drawn to Vinetta as an organization because of its focus on quality and their ability to drive actionable results for female founders. Vinetta is not only on a mission to change gender ratios in innovation and investment, but they are also producing a positive impact on the startup ecosystem as a whole,” Mackenzie said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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