Extending our Female Founders Competition to India

Melinda Gates, Peggy Johnson and Navin Chadda smiling at the camera

By Nagraj Kashyap, Corporate Vice President and Global Head of M12

M12 kicked off 2019 with an announcement that we were extending our investing focus to India. We were intrigued by the number of unicorns and amount of funding raised in the country. And I’d be remiss not to mention the top technical talent in areas like AI and ML, robotics, data science, and DevOps that make India an incredible incubation site for innovative enterprise technology.

So, when we began planning for our second Female Founders Competition, it was a business imperative to extend eligibility to India. The competition aims to accelerate funding for women entrepreneurs globally, and it’s critical that we’re considering women founders in India who are disrupting the enterprise.

This year, we’re partnering with the iconic Silicon Valley fund Mayfield and Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures to invest $6 million in four women-led B2B startups. In this second Female Founders Competition, we’re specifically looking at two categories of technology:

  • Enterprise software-as-as-a service (Enterprise SaaS): a B2B software licensing model provided to customers on a subscription basis
  • Deep technology (Deeptech): breakthrough science or engineering that redefines or creates new markets
Greta Cutulenco, the CEO and Founder of Acerta
Greta Cutulenco, CEO and Founder, Acerta

Studies show that women-owned startups are a better bet, and that businesses founded by women ultimately deliver higher revenue. What’s more, Boston Consulting Group estimates that the global economy could experience a $5 trillion boost if women entrepreneurs received funding on par with their male colleagues. Investing in women is a well-documented strategy for success; we want to be a part of that business opportunity.

Last year, as the outcome of our inaugural Female Founders Competition, we invested in two incredible entrepreneurs: Julie Dorsey, the Founder and Chief Scientist of Mental Canvas, and Greta Cutulenco, the CEO and Founder of Acerta. Both have been incredible additions to the M12 portfolio, creating new business value with innovative technology in the communications and automotive industries, respectively. With their success as a foundation, we cannot wait to identify the next wave of female founders disrupting the enterprise. Submit your application today at www.FemaleFoundersComp.com.

Submissions will be accepted through December 15, 2019. Companies will be eligible to apply if they have at least one female founder, have raised no more than $5 million in combined equity funding and/or debt loans upon date of application, and offer or intend to release a product, service, or platform addressing a critical business problem for a global market.

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