$100K Women in Tech Investment Prize

The $100k Women in Tech (WiT) Investment Prize is back! The Firehood is bringing together an incredible team of angel investors who will award one female-led startup with a $100k investment. That means one female founder attending Startupfest will walk away with an important investment, and access to an amazing network of investors.


Eligibility Criteria

The $100k WiT Investment Prize is open to any female-led startup in attendance. For the purposes of this prize, we define a female-led startup as a startup with the most senior member of the executive team identifying as female.

There’s no application process, no form to fill out, and no video to prepare. You just need to register, get onsite, and be ready to wow our Women in Tech investor judges with a superb pitch that makes the cut.


The Process

Startups have until the end of day on Thursday, July 13th—the second day of Startupfest—to deliver their pitch. They can do so in the language of their choice, but please be aware that since Startupfest attracts investors from across the country and around the world, many of them only speak English.


How do I pitch?

Your goal over the first two days is to get at least one of the judges to shortlist your Startup:

  • We’ve set aside time on our stage on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons for open pitch rounds. You’ll have 1 minute to pitch and up to 2 minutes for follow-up questions if the judges have any.
  • Judges will also be roaming the Tent Village, which is another way to get their attention! So get on stage, visit the Village, and bring your best hustle by connecting with as many judges as possible—after all, it just takes one judge for you to make the shortlist.
  • Our judges are wearing an Investor Judge badge and a green lanyard to make them easy to identify and pitch everywhere onsite. You probably want to avoid bathroom pitches, but everywhere else is fair game!

What happens next?

On Friday, July 14th–the final day of Startupfest—the Judges will spend the day in the Tent Village listening to additional pitches, and calling back their shortlisted Startups for a Q&A meeting.

By 4PM, the Investor Judges will have selected the winner, which we’ll announce during the closing ceremonies.


Prize Details

The WiT prize is an investment from up to 10 angel investors. Our default terms are based on an industry-SAFE agreement (for reference, please see this SAFE agreement). The winning startup will sign the SAFE agreement with each of the investors individually. The investors are willing to create a voting trust, if and when the SAFE agreement converts to equity.

Think these terms shouldn’t apply to you? Need a tweak? We can discuss that. While we adopt industry standard agreements for the sake of simplicity, the judges are willing to discuss alternate terms proposed by shortlisted Startups during their meeting on Friday, July 14.

Our 2023 Judges

Danielle Graham

Danielle Graham Investor Judge Headshot 1

Danielle Graham is the Co-Founder of The Firehood and Managing Partner of Phoenix Fire, a women-focused angel fund. She also founded Communitech’s Fierce Founders, the first women-focused tech accelerator in Canada.

She was Manager of Ontario Centres of Innovation’s Market Readiness fund, Principal at Sandpiper Ventures and currently Executive-in-Residence for Capital at RVZ Brampton.

Claudette McGowan

Claudette Mc Gowan Investor Judge Headshot 1 (1)

Claudette McGowan is a global information technology leader with more than 20 years of success leading digital transformations, optimizing infrastructure and designing new approaches that improve service and cybersecurity experiences.

Claudette is an active member of the Canadian innovation ecosystem. She is the chair of the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (CILAR), a group of senior business leaders committed to fighting systemic racism within the innovation economy. McGowan recently co-led the launch of Phoenix Fire & The Firehood, a multi-million dollar women-focused angel fund and network for women in technology.

Final judges to be announced in the coming weeks!

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