Introducing the Inaugural Female Founder Pitch Competition to Empower Female Entrepreneurs and Innovators 


February 12, 2021




$5,000 1st place cash prize,

$500 runner up cash prize,

$500 audience prize,

and more in-kind prizes

Wharton Women in Business is pleased to announce the inaugural Female Founder Pitch Competition at this year’s Wharton Women’s Summit! 


With only 2.8% of US venture capital funding going to women-led startups, we are excited to create a unique opportunity to spotlight women entrepreneurs, connect them to investors focused on female founders, and a chance to address the funding gap.


The competition is open to startups founded by current Penn students with majority female ownership. Up to 5 short-listed finalists will pitch to a panel of VCs and experienced entrepreneurs for a chance to win cash prizes, an audience prize, and other in-kind prizes. 

For any questions, please reach out to

December 4, 2020

Applications Open.

January 8, 2021

Applications Due.

Late January

Application Screening.

January 18, 2021

Top 5 Finalists Announced.

February 12, 2021

Top 5 Deliver Pitches & Winner Chosen

Judging Criteria



We are looking for original, innovative, and thoughtful ideas that will have an impact on a big problem.

We want to see how your business defines the user experience, differentiates itself from competitors, and mitigates risks.



Who is your target market and what is your corresponding marketing strategy, sales strategy, and plan to scale?


We also want to understand your intended revenue model and any ancillary revenue streams.

Progress & 


How far along are you in product development? How many users do you have to date?

We want to learn about any key partnerships as well as business metrics such as sales, downloads, website traffic, etc.

We are also looking for businesses that have future, measurable milestones they are working towards.

Team &


We want to know about the expertise and commitment of the founding team and your strategy to attract additional key people.


Who is eligible to enter?

In order to be eligible for the Female Founder Pitch Competition, your business must meet the following criteria:

  • At least 50% female ownership
  • At least one founder must be a current Penn student (undergraduate, graduate, and leave of absence are eligible). The Penn student must have played a significant role in conceiving the venture, hold a key management role in the venture, be actively involved in the business venture, and may be required to be the primary presenter for the pitch on the day of the competition.
  • Early stage (businesses that have raised more than $100,000 in institutional funding are not eligible--Institutional funding includes any funding from angel investors, VCs, and/or accelerator/incubator programs.)
We reserve the right to disqualify any participant, team and/or submission for good cause, including the following reasons: violation of the University’s Code of Student Conduct, Code of Academic Integrity or other policy; violation of any local, state or federal law; content that is pornographic in nature; the team or submission has not complied with applicable rules or does not meet the eligibility requirements.

I founded the venture before I started at Penn, can I enter?

Yes, as long as you meet all of the eligibility criteria.

Are judges required to sign NDAs?

No. The judges are friends of Wharton and Penn and have kindly agreed to provide professional and educational support to current students. As entrepreneurs and VC themselves, they are experienced handling confidential information.

Can I participate on more than one team?

Yes! You can participate on more than one team.

I am not in Wharton, can I enter?

Yes! We welcome applicants from any school across the Penn university ecosystem.

I am not a graduate student, can I enter?

Yes! We welcome applicants from any school across the Penn university ecosystem.

I am on a leave of absence, can I enter?

You may enter if at least one founder on the team has enrolled and started studies at Penn (completed at least one semester) prior to Fall 2020 and is currently on a leave of absence.

I am a Penn alumnus/alumna, can I enter?

Penn alumni cannot enter, but you may enter as part of a team as long as at least one founder is a current Penn student (undergraduate, graduate, and leave of absence are eligible).

I am an exchange student/post-doctoral student here for the year, can I enter?

No, but you may enter as part of a team as long as at least one founder is a current Penn student (undergraduate, graduate, and leave of absence are eligible).

Is there a minimum or maximum number of team members?

No, it is fine if you are the only team member or there are multiple, there is no minimum or maximum. However, please ensure the eligibility criteria is met.

Does my venture have to be incorporated?

A venture does not have to be incorporated to be eligible for entry. However, winners who wish to have the award paid to the company must have the company be incorporated and have an EIN. It can take several weeks to several months to incorporate and receive an EIN, so it is recommended that you begin the process well in advance. Failure to do so may result in requiring the award to be paid to an individual, which could have varying tax implications, depending on the team leader’s citizenship status.

Are nonprofit companies eligible to enter?

Yes, for-profit and nonprofit companies are both eligible.


Meet The Judges

Alexa von Tobel

Founder &

Managing Partner

Inspired Capital

Suma Reddy

Chief Executive Officer


Future Acres

Jarah Euston

Founder &

Chief Executive Officer


Urvashi Barooah


Redpoint Ventures





Taking its name from Iris Tsamoh, Wilglory’s mother and Sarah Yaa Anima Amoyaw, Wilglory’s closest childhood friend, Anima Iris is a modern brand that pulls inspiration and strength from the matriarchs of its past. Anima Iris is an elevated and modern and sustainable ready to wear company.

While in Senegal, Wilglory began creating original pieces alongside artisans and Anima Iris was born. Every piece is entirely handcrafted, using genuine leathers and bronze, influenced by the African tradition, in Dakar, Senegal. We believe that luxury should be sustainable, empowering, and rooted in culture. Our designs are inspired by the color and intricate fabrics of Cameroon's Bamiléké people, the geometric shapes of Ghana's kente.

Founder: Wilglory Tanjong (WG'22)

Calypso & Sage



Calypso & Sage produces gentle, all-natural baby skincare made with only the best ingredients for little ones. It’s our firm belief that the little things are really the big things - from the quality of ingredients to the ease of application. Designed to eliminate the tradeoff between sacrificing performance and texture for natural ingredients, our tear-free products are unscented, food-allergy friendly, and only use EWG-1 rated ingredients. 

Founders: Nicolle Lee (WG‘23), Marissa Gross, Jaclyn Markowitz

Candr is a dating and relationship platform that aims to strip away visual biases in dating and help users connect on a deeper, more emotional level first. 


Modern dating has become too focused on appearances and physical attraction. Rather than swiping on profile pictures, Candr users are matched anonymously and explore their compatibility over email exchanges before revealing their identities. We’ve intentionally maintained the blind/anonymity aspect of our platform in order for members to get to know each other without any preconceived biases or judgments. We take pride in creating a safe space where members can build authentic connections, freely express themselves, and celebrate their diversity and individuality.

Founder: Anna Li (WG'20)




Dormsy is a marketplace for college subletting. Verified students can securely list, search, and book off-campus housing at

Founders: Dhruv Iyer (M&T‘21), Amit Lohe (M&T‘21), Liana Patel (M&T‘21),

Catherine Wang (M&T‘21)


Nouri is the first adaptive meal plan that fuses Eastern food therapy with Western nutrition to help expecting mothers feel their best from trying to conceive through postpartum.  Our meals are specially crafted to create the food foundation for the baby's health while using science-backed ingredients to target pregnancy & postpartum symptoms. Our meals are OB-GYN recommended, chef curated and delivered fresh weekly. While meal plans are our first product, we plan to expand on our Eastern therapy philosophy to become the holistic health "one-stop-shop" for life's most critical stages. 

Founders: Irene Liu (WG‘22), Jennifer Jolorte Doro

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