A great unofficial start of the Startup Fest Europe week in Amsterdam: TheNextWomen Innovation Summit got a royal visit from Queen Máxima. As nearly 750 attendees celebrated female entrepreneurship, the queen pleaded to step it up a notch: "It's time to rev up the engine".
"Your presence feels like a great support", Simone Brummelhuis, founder and CEO of TheNextWomen, said deservedly about the queen at this summit. When Queen Máxima entered, she immediately made an impact, talking about the (obvious) challenges women face in for instance Pakistan and Bangladesh. "But women face challenges in the developed world as well", hinting at gender inequality.
When it comes to business, she found that women are sometimes too careful in taking risks. "They're also more likely to be a part-time entrepreneur. Here in The Netherlands two thirds of the female entrepreneurs is doing that. It's time to rev up the engine!"
According to the queen, there's no reason to self doubt: "The level of female entrepreneurship in The Netherlands is higher compared to the male counterpart", she comforted the room. "It's OK to be an ambitious woman."
Neelie Kroes: become a female role model
In one of her last days as startup envoy and leader of StartupDelta, Neelie Kroes addressed the cooperation between women. "In tech, women are not really part of the pool of talent. We should take each other by the hand and take the lead in pushing boundaries."
She made a call to all female entrepreneurs: "Become inspiration to others, become a role model. Think of your role models. I'm sure they've heard 'no' at some time in their career." Kroes elaborates: "Some look solely at the hurdles towards women. Instead look at the opportunities. It takes blood, sweat but no tears."
Plugify (marketplace for live music – pitch by CEO Eline Leijten), Wound Ex (medical device that treats severe burn wounds – pitch by CEO Hefziba ten Brink) and Voilla (finding professionals by recommendations from your peers – pitch by Yvonne Eshuis) presented their business case in front of a strong six-headed jury.
Notable stuff from the pitches, as spotted by StartupJuncture:
+ Plugify has already thought about future revenue streams.
– Plugify is kinda dependant on bookers right now.
+ Wound Ex: great team, yay science!
– Wound Ex received a 2 million euro grant. Needs another 2 million for marketing, yet doesn't need a lot of customers.
+ Strong, confident pitch.
– Voiila had no info about the business model or financials.
StartupJuncture vote: Plugify.
Update: Plugify won the jury prize! The jury was impressed by the experience of its team, plus impressed by its focus. The financials needed a bit more attention, but the business model was "ok". "It's scalable, but you have to be fast because it's easy to copy." The public award went to Wound Ex.
Image by @thewhy_re