Women in Voice Tech: Founders Showcase

Are there any women voice tech founders?  

This is a question we’ve heard IRL.

The answer is a resounding YES! Women are leading the voice tech revolution in startups all over the world.

Female-founded companies raised $3.31 billion in 2020, or 2.2% of the year’s total sum, compared to $3.5 billion and 2.6% in 2019. Ouch. Still not over 3%. (Yahoo, 2021). We’d love to support that changing.

At Women in Voice On The Way Up! Elevator Pitch Events, sponsored by Amazon Alexa Startups, gender minority founders have the mic. 

We’re delighted to host elevator pitch events for Women in Voice Founders to connect with investors and the public at large.

These events build community, connection, and networking opportunities to get feedback, implicit and explicit mentorship, and shape a supportive ecosystem of funding mechanisms for founders with diverse perspectives. 

Meet the founders & startups who pitched LIVE at previous Women in Voice Pitch Events!

Event series sponsored by Amazon Alexa Startups

Alexa Startups

This event series is VIRTUAL + FREE. Want to join us?

TICKETS HERE →

Expand your community. Meet the women launching emerging voice tech. Join the conversation.

WiV Featured Founders: June 2021

Ruth Health

Featured Founder: Alison Greenberg

Ruth Health is a centralized AI platform where pregnant womxn can book same-day pregnancy coaching and schedule medical house call appointments in 2 minutes, 7 days a week. The problem is inaccessible, expensive, fragmented maternal healthcare; the solution is our cohesive AI platform at Ruth Health!

Alison grew up talking about vaginas as the daughter of an OB/GYN. She is a healthcare strategist, equitable tech advocate, and third-time founder. She is CEO and co-founder, with Audrey Wu, of both Dioptra femtech devices—a member of CTIP + alumna company of Grid110—and Ruth Health, a new womxn’s healthcare company for expecting parents.

Alison previously worked as a Brand Strategy Consultant for Fortune 100 healthcare + medtech giants. She then co-founded a conversational AI studio that worked on brands like adidas and on Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign. She has been featured in NPR, Quartz, and at LA MedTech Week. She’s a Yale grad and lives in the Bronx, NY.

Alison Greenberg, CEO + Co-Founder, Ruth Health

Tap with Libbie

Featured Founder: Colette Ellis

Mental health care is expensive and not culturally competent (86% of US psychologists are white). Mental wellness apps are not inclusive. Our chatbot, Libbie, supports women of color using EFT-Tapping.

Colette Ellis is the founder of Tap with Libbie, a mental health chatbot to support women of color. She has been a leader in the personal development and wellness industry for 15 years, as a certified Stress Management coach and practitioner of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT-Tapping). Coach Colette specializes in working with marginalized leaders to prioritize their mental health and wellbeing. She guides them on the path to recovery through programs focused on self-care, mindfulness, and resilience. Colette has been certified by the National Council for Behavioral Health in Mental Health First Aid, and by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services in Trauma-Informed Care.

Colette Ellis, Founder, Tap with Libbie

Adassa Innovations: Music Bop Adventures

Featured Founder: Ilarna Nche

Music Bop Adventures limits screen time for children through interactive audio adventures and enhances imagination through movement and learning.

Ilarna Nche is CEO & Founder of Adassa Innovations, an Alexa Champion, and a Bixby Premiere partner. She create voices experiences on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung Bixby.

Ilarna Nche graduated with First Class honours at the University of Kent for Multimedia Technology and Design with a year in industry. Following on from her graduation, she started her own company called Adassa Innovations, which is a Studio and Consultancy that builds voice applications on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung Bixby.

Ilarna is an award winning Amazon Alexa Champion and Bixby Premier Developer. She is an expert and thought leader in the voice and conversation design field, from both a development and design perspective. Ilarna has a love for technology and games and is an active member in the voice community, contributing to podcasts, speaking events and meet-ups.

Ilarna Nche, CEO & Founder, Adassa Innovations

Kids Speech Labs

Featured Founder: Shona D’Arcy

Digital Health company disrupting children’s speech and language development through remote monitoring and intervention technologies. We are using speech recognition technology at the moment for assessment of speech and language skills, we plan to use smart speakers in the future to drive engaging intervention for children.

Shona has PhD in speech recognition technology and has over 12 years in digital health, she has a track recording in solution development and clinical validation of digital health solutions.

Shona D’Arcy, Kids Speech Labs

evrmore

Featured Founder: Ivy Mahsciao

Old-school social networks are killing potential and Gen Z’s — evrmore helps build strong self-narrative and core skills using simple conversations.

Ivy is the founder + CEO of evrmore – a humanity-first mindtech platform applying generative models so intelligent systems can help us decompress our bandwidth for compassion, awareness, and life potential. She is a champion for human potential and a seasoned product leader of 20+ years with a background in applied psychology and behavior-change design. Her domain expertise is forged by category-defining product development for global brands like GE, J&J, Microsoft, and Nike. Her work at evrmore is a driving force for new metrics that will be used to determine product adoption and impact measurement. She’s joining many others in the movement of tech-for-good, so everyone in every age group can bypass the shadows that emerging tech casts in long-term life quality and betterment. 

evrmore is a social + mentor platform powered by the science of empathy. It taps into the power of our voice as a tool to help us navigate key moments in life, build our own personal mastery, and turn adversity into resiliency — One story at a time. Because the story that’s going to change our lives the most is the one we tell ourselves every day.

Ivy Mahsciao, founder + CEO, evrmore

WiV Featured Founders: September 2021

Lisnen Inc.

Featured Founder: Eyra Abraham

Lisnen is for hearing loss individuals who want notifications to sounds requiring their immediate attention. Lisnen app applies sound recognition technology. We are interested in expanding to voice for other use cases in the future.

As a startup founder and CEO of Lisnen, Eyra is driving a new category of adaptive tech for those with a hearing loss. Being an emerging leader contributing to accessible digital products, she’s won the top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada award and recently, a member of the Accessibility Standards Canada Technical Committee for Plain Language, and was acknowledged as one of the 25 Women to Watch: Succeeding in a COVID World.

Overall, her mission is to change the perception of women, minorities, and those with physical challenges to one of strength. Everyone has talents, skills, and unique experiences that are valuable and necessary for our future. A diverse world is stronger together.

Imanyco

Featured Founder: Saïda Florexil

Imanyco helps deaf people enjoy group conversations without wondering who is saying what.

Imanyco is all about inclusivity and accessibility. Their product supports a community that is often left behind and those who experience a lot of challenges in daily life due to their invisible disability (deafness).

Saïda is passionate about improving communication accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Blink Date Inc

Featured Co-Founder: Taly Matiteyahu

Swiped-based dating apps put looks first. Blink uses audio to put personality first.

Dating should be about who we are, not just what we look like. Enough of the endless swiping and empty messaging. Blink allows members to move beyond looks-first, superficial approach to meeting potential partners. We do so using a unique two part matching process that relies on two important factors – chemistry through conversation and physical attraction.

Taly and Laura are both women with intersectional backgrounds on a mission to build a dating space where a person’s personality, values, sense of humor, passions, and quirks are what set them apart — not their looks, name, or fashion choices. They embrace the challenges of figuring out what systemic biases exist in various verticals and challenging them by leveraging technology, machine learning, and relationship and behavioral psychology. By constantly questioning the status quo, we get closer each day to seeing the type of world we wish to see.

Blink Date Inc

Featured Co-Founder: Laura Ciccone

Swiped-based dating apps put looks first. Blink uses audio to put personality first.

Dating should be about who we are, not just what we look like. Enough of the endless swiping and empty messaging. Blink allows members to move beyond looks-first, superficial approach to meeting potential partners. We do so using a unique two part matching process that relies on two important factors – chemistry through conversation and physical attraction.

Taly and Laura are both women with intersectional backgrounds on a mission to build a dating space where a person’s personality, values, sense of humor, passions, and quirks are what set them apart — not their looks, name, or fashion choices. They embrace the challenges of figuring out what systemic biases exist in various verticals and challenging them by leveraging technology, machine learning, and relationship and behavioral psychology. By constantly questioning the status quo, we get closer each day to seeing the type of world we wish to see.

Gowri Mahesh, Co-Founder, Learning Matters

Learning Matters

Featured Founder: Gowri Mahesh

Problem: Poor learning outcomes for students in India.
Solution: Use autonomous voice technology/AI! 

Voice-assisted education with artificial intelligence is the new way of learning. Join thousands of educators and education leaders who are making this choice.

From communicative English to educational pedagogy,  Learn anything, anytime, anywhere.

Voice-assisted technology is an effective teacher for many reasons:
1. Learning by listening is natural. Voice-assisted technology uses this fundamental learning
ability.
2. Voice-assisted technology can repeat lessons, converse, provide feedback and correct mistakes repeatedly.  
3. Learners can speak freely and boldly without fear of being judged for mistakes.
4. All that the learner needs is the voice-assisted device containing the learning modules.   

Learning Matters is one of the front runners using autonomous voice technology and AI in *education in India*. Efficacy of the product and efficient implementation makes our product stand out. The problem that we are solving has been existing for the last few decades. We are passionate about solving it, and our team has capability to solve it. Funding now to scale is the biggest enabler that we need.

Toucan App Inc

Featured Founder: Jane Buescher

Peer support is well established, yet lacking in innovation. Toucan is 1:1 digital peer support.

Toucan was created to help us feel more connected, understood, and heard. The benefits of speaking to another person are well documented, but existing social and professional support options are leaving many people unfulfilled. In a world where we are all constantly buried in our social media and text messages, we want to revitalize the audio call and give you a meaningful way to open up to someone facing a similar life stage or event. We want to give you a chance to reciprocate and lend an ear to someone in need of an outlet.

Our product is very focused on the whole person – while most of traditional peer support is siloed by use case (you go one place for support as a parent, another place for addiction, a third resource for career support), Toucan brings all categories into one platform. Users choose 3 categories that they identify with so they can bring this intersectionality to their Huddle conversations.

As a team, the CEO and Co-founder is female and we aim to bring diversity and inclusion into our future hiring processes.

At Toucan it is all about the person and the categories they relate to in this moment. Current Huddle categories include Parent to Young Children, Startup Founder, and COVID-19.

WiV Featured VCs: June 2021

Cinta Putra

Venture Partner, VoicePunch

About VoicePunch

VoicePunch is an early-stage venture fund that invests in founders who are enabling the next wave of voice AI and audio technologies. The firm’s mission is to bring together the voice tech community and support founders with capital, strategy, and access to networks.

Kristina Milyuchikhina

Head of Alexa Startups & Venture Capital DEI Business Development at Amazon Alexa Fund

Kristina is a Head of Alexa Startups & VC DEI business development at Amazon Alexa Fund. Prior to that she held various business development roles within Amazon in retail and B2B e-commerce space. Kristina is a Wharton MBA graduate with triple major in finance, strategic management, operations & information management.

Priyanka Mitra

Principal, M12 – Microsoft’s Venture Fund

Priyanka is a principal for M12 in the Bay Area. Prior to M12, she was an investor at Tola Capital focused on B2B enterprise software and SaaS venture and growth equity stage investing, and a researcher at Bridgewater Associates—a Connecticut-based global macroeconomic hedge fund. Priyanka is a graduate of Harvard University, where she majored in history and science, and pursued extensive coursework in pre-medical mathematics and sciences. She has completed scientific research fellowships at Harvard Medical School in computational neurobiology, and was awarded Harvard’s David Rockefeller International Experience grant and the Harvard-University of Madrid prize to conduct macroeconomic research on global healthcare economies of scale. She was also named a Harvard College Scholar.

About M12

M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, invests in early-stage enterprise software companies with a focus on applied AI, business applications, infrastructure, security, and vanguard technologies. Since 2016, M12 has invested in over 100 companies, helping startups accelerate growth with unparalleled access to Microsoft. With offices in San Francisco, Seattle, London, Tel Aviv, and Bengaluru, M12 has the team and resources to support entrepreneurs globally. M12 is a return-driven fund investing independently of Microsoft’s business units and technology offerings. Follow M12 on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Emily Lonetto

Voiceflow, GrowthTO

Emily is the Head of Growth at Voiceflow – a platform that helps designers, developers, and their teams design, prototype and launch voice & conversational experiences. Before Voiceflow, Emily was the second growth hire at Clio, introducing product growth experimentation to the org. Before joining Clio, Emily led product growth at PartnerStack (formerly GrowSumo) YC’15, and helped automate/scale Tilt (acquired by Airbnb) YC’12 massive ambassador and community program across the globe. In her spare time, Emily is a speaker, advisor and cofounder/co-organizer of GrowthTO and currently helps startups tackle early growth strategy with several incubators and advisory councils across North America and Tel Aviv.

About Voiceflow

Voiceflow is an easy way to design, prototype, and launch voice and chatbots with little to no code.

About GrowthTO

GrowthToronto is all about teaching people how to integrate ‘growth’ into their product and teams. How do we grow? One of the most common questions asked of marketers and product teams alike. Our aim is to demystify growth and enable individuals to put these tools into practice. Not just another meetup/community, you will leave each session or program with accessible and actionable tools to put these into practice.

Minda Brusse

First Row Partners

Minda Brusse has been in the startup ecosystem for over 25 years. In her early career, she was a lynchpin employee at a venture-backed company acquired by Accenture. She continued to find her way into roles and startups near core innovations in tech, including online marketing, blockchain, and e-procurement innovation.

Over time, Minda found that a key lever in enabling innovation came from the capital that fuels it; and she dug deep — honing her skills as an investor and fund manager with Seattle Angel Conference and seeking mentorship from experienced investors. During the pandemic, she co-founded The 1K Project to help families in need, raising over $3M for 1,000+ families to receive cash grants.

Minda is also a Venture Partner for 2048 Ventures, based in New York. In this role, she focuses on Seattle and Portland and also collaborates with colleagues across the country.

About First Row Partners

In early 2020, we (Minda Brusse and Yoko Okano) began building a venture firm that fills a gap in the startup ecosystem — capital isn’t reaching early stage founders efficiently. As an operator-led micro fund, we use our expertise to find, fund and advance startups in the early part of the journey. We invest in pre-seed and seed stage companies, where technology and/or data are differentiators in the solution. While we are based in the Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, we invests across North America.

We believe in the future of technology that engages us at human-scale; specifically, we invest in companies that transform how we connect communities, perform paid work, and experience everyday commerce. We value the human ingenuity involved in innovation, and actively work to reduce the founder-funder power and information asymmetry in the startup ecosystem.

Women in Voice Event Sponsor

Special thanks to Amazon Alexa Startups for sponsoring this event series!

Women in Voice Event Sponsor

Special thanks to Women 2.0 for sponsoring our September event!!

Women in Voice™ is an Approved 501(c)(3) Nonprofit
EIN 85-3262001 | Make a Donation