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Tampa Bay Wave TechWomen Rising accelerator cohort takes center stage

Margie Manning

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Thirteen women-owned businesses poised to make changes in the healthcare, financial, entertainment and software fields are preparing to make their case to potential investors.

The companies got a head start Thursday night during Tampa Bay Wave’s TechWomen Rising Pitch Night, an online event at which each company’s leader described how their product or service would bring much-needed solutions to their industries.

The group makes up the inaugural cohort of Tampa Bay Wave’s TechWomen Rising accelerator, a program supported by a two-year, $500,000 philanthropic commitment by JPMorgan Chase in a partnership between Tampa Bay Wave and Embarc Collective.

“Innovation is needed now more than ever, and frankly it’s exciting to see that there are more historically under-represented groups going into the technology space, including women and in particular women of color,” said Linda Olson, Tampa Bay Wave founder and CEO. “I’m really happy that we can do this program to try to move the needle, change some ratios and see these companies do some great things here in Florida.” 

The program kicked off in August.

“Over the last three months the 2020 TechWomen Rising cohort has made tremendous strides. From customer discovery to high level strategy to branding and marketing and messaging and more, these founders have leveraged the support provided to them by the Wave team, our mentor network and the community,” said Richard Munassi, cohort director.

Here are the companies that took part in Pitch Night.

20Lighter is a unique program helping clients achieve dramatically better health through reductions of inflammation and visceral fat, the holy grail of cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

CBO:​ ​Dr. Jess Barnes 

Location: Boca Raton

AfroCurators is a digital media & entertainment brand that connects multi-generational African creatives through multimedia products and experiences.

CEO:​ Skye Idehen

Location: Tampa

Cuemby helps companies with custom software achieve 5x performance, 10x productivity and 35 percent cost reduction by optimizing cloud infrastructure and automating workflows.

CBO:​ Hitomi Mizugaki

Location: Boca Raton

Goldn: The Family App is a family care management application that makes it easy for unpaid care takers to pay bills, set reminders and locate wanderers so that they have an inclusive way to empower loved ones while giving the caretaker the resources that they need.

CEO:​ Nia Jackson

Location: Tampa

IVF Options provides fertility benefits to self-pay patients, negotiating discounted rates on fertility treatment, medication and genetic testing to make treatment more affordable to cash patients. IVF Options has helped over 2,000 patients in their fertility journey in both the US and abroad.

CEO:​​ Lexie Magyar

Location: Tampa

Kinstak provides private cloud storage that automatically organizes photos, videos, and files into personalized categories that are easy to find and share privately with friends and family.

CEO:​ Carolyn Eagen

Location: Tampa

MARVLoUS is a multimedia Augmented Reality Vocabulary Learning application that teaches vocabulary in two languages simultaneously. MARVL presents dynamic, interactive, vocabulary instruction using evidence-based best practices for learning new words.

CEO:​ Sara Smith

Location: Tampa

The Natural Nipple is designed for seamless and stress-free breast and bottle feeding, with the only nipple that is researched and designed to mimic a mother’s shape, feel, and flow.

CEO:​ Lauren Wright

Location: Tampa

UBQFit is Twitch meets Uber for the wellness and fitness space. The company integrated features from Twitch, the social and community components, and features from Uber, the instant booking component, into a marketplace for livestream wellness and fitness that incorporates community, social and live fitness data.

CEO:​ Ellie Samardi

Location: Boca Raton

Vacayou has a mission to connect the wellness traveler with life-enriching retreats, spa vacations and active travel experiences around the world. As North America’s first comprehensive wellness and active travel booking website Vacayou makes it easy to find and book a wellness getaway.

CEO:​ Muirgheal (Muirelle) Montecalvo

Location: St. Petersburg

Wedzee is a consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer  marketplace that is designed to connect former and future brides, wedding planners and small business owners, while providing them a safer and more secure way to buy and sell new, used and custom wedding and event-related items online.

CEO:​ Jennifer Burns 

Location: St. Petersburg

weRise Investments facilitates building wealth and revitalizing underrepresented communities by connecting friend and family groups to a technology-enabled platform to pool funds and socially invest in diversified portfolios.

CEO: ​Candice Bradley

Location: Tampa

Also participating in the cohort is Tepey, a web-based matching and project management software solution that eliminates the guesswork of how to build a physical product, and where to find contractors and manufacturers at an affordable price. The CEO of the Tampa company is Donteacia Seymore.

The companies will present again at a Nov. 17 Demo Day, with pitches directed at the investors in the audience. That’s significant because the Glaring Gap study just released by Embarc Collective found that startups founded by women received just 12 percent of early stage venture capital funding over the past decade.

The Demo Day is exclusively for accredited investors who are part of Wave’s investor network. To learn more about that network, click here.

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