Huma.AI and Sign-Speak Awarded Innovation Grant and Impact Grant Respectively
WASHINGTON DC, November 16, 2021 - Women Who Tech (WWT), one of the largest nonprofits funding and showcasing women-led ventures, today announced the latest grants for its first global FemTech and HealthTech Grants Challenge, which has provided over $500,000 in non-dilutive funding since its inception. Innovation and Impact Grants were awarded to recognize two startups who are harnessing AI to accelerate clinical development of potentially life-saving therapeutics, and who are making healthcare more accessible for all.
- Huma.AI, cofounded by Lana Feng, was awarded the Innovation Grant of $15,000 for its human centric AI platform, which aims to bring life-saving cancer drugs to market faster by automating healthcare and decoding big data, turning domain experts into their own data scientists.
- Sign-Speak, cofounded by Yamillet Payano, was awarded the Impact Grant of $5,000 for enabling deaf and hard of hearing communities to interact in a hearing world through its real-time AI sign language software that translates ASL into English, and vice versa. Sign-Speak bridges communication gaps, creating more equitable opportunities.
“Women-led startups, who receive a paltry 2.3% of venture capital, experience persistent and significant barriers and biases raising investment from VCs, where 95% of partners are men,” said Allyson Kapin, Founder of Women Who Tech. “Women Who Tech is mission-set to disrupt this culture and fund diverse innovation.”
The jury was comprised of investors and global health leaders:
- Ida Tin, Founder and Chairwoman of Clue
- Barbara Clarke, Founder and President of The Impact Seat
- Maria Velissaris, Founding Partner at SteelSky Ventures
"There's a problem with gender equity in tech, and unless we're actively doing something about it, it won't get fixed. That’s why we need to close the funding gap for women-led startups,” said Craig Newmark, Founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and member of Women Who Tech’s Advisory Board.
The three other esteemed finalists selected were:
- BIOMILQ (Michelle Egger) aims to create cultured breastmilk with the nutrition of breast milk and the practicality of formula.
- Dem Dx (Mariane Melo) is an AI clinical platform that helps frontline healthcare professionals diagnose and make care recommendations.
- PocDoc (Kiran Roest) enables anyone with a smartphone or tablet to test themselves for a range of diseases.
The W Fund, HearstLab, Portfolia, SteelSky Ventures, and Citrine Angels will also be evaluating the startups for further investment, as part of a shared commitment to fund women-led innovation.
“The lived experiences of women and people with cycles are still not being met adequately by the healthcare systems, the tech industry, nor the investment community. There are still abundant possibilities to build products that fulfill real needs in FemTech and HealthTech,” said Ida Tin, Cofounder and Chairwoman of Clue.
“We’re honored to be awarded Women Who Tech's Innovation Grant for their Femtech + HealthTech Grants Challenge. Being part of this latest startup cohort has been a wonderful experience, especially because of the WWT team, their investors, and our fellow finalists who are tackling difficult and pressing problems globally,” said Lana Feng, Cofounder of Huma.AI.
“Programs like WWT create spaces that celebrate women in the tech field, allowing us to be our authentic selves. The network of women that I've met are more important than the grant itself. The mentoring and the support have really made me feel like I deserve to be a leader in the tech space," said Yamillet Payano, Cofounder of Sign-Speak.
About Women Who Tech
Founded in 2008, Women Who Tech draws global attention to the significant gender bias in venture capital funding by shaking up a culture and economy that has made it difficult for women to launch and scale startups. The nonprofit provides capital, mentoring, direct access to leading investors, and other resources for women founding tech companies, with the ultimate goal of closing the funding gap.
To date, $200M+ has been raised by Women Who Tech program cohorts. For more, visit www.WomenWhoTech.com.
About Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. The organization works to advance people and grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas including trustworthy journalism, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans and military families.
For more, visit: www.CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org.
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