$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

Your goal is to get at least one Investor Judge to shortlist your startup during the first two days of the event.
  • Pitch your startup to the Investor Judges at the $100k Women in Tech Investment prize space in The Startupfest Village.
  • If you connect with a judge elsewhere onsite, you can ask to pitch to them on the spot! Connect with as many judges as possible; it only takes one to make the shortlist.
  • Judges will be wearing an Investor Judge badge and a green lanyard to pitch onsite. Avoid pitching in bathrooms, but anywhere else is fair game!
  • Your pitch needs to be no more than 1 minute but be prepared for questions from the Investor Judges.
The Shortlist Process
  • Each Investor Judge will submit their chosen startup to the shortlist by Thursday afternoon, July 11th. Shortlisted startups will be contacted by a Startupfest team member.
The Finalist Process
  • On Friday, July 12th, finalists will have 1 minute to pitch their companies on the main stage to the audience. This is followed by a 25-minute Q&A with the Investor Judges.
  • The winner of the $100k Women in Tech Investment Prize will be announced at the closing ceremonies on Friday afternoon.


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.

Meet our judges!

Danielle Graham

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 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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