When women invest in women, amazing things happen

Female Founders | Money Raised | Ep. 2
20th September 2018
Female Founders | Money Raised | Ep. 3
11th October 2018
Photo by: Deborah de Herder | Finalists - Members of the Jury - Partners
Photo by: Deborah de Herder | Finalists – Members of the Jury – Partners

TheNextWomen Pitch Competition 2018 Amsterdam | Londen | Parijs | Tunis

A dream start for ambitious female founders

Amsterdam, October 4, 2018 – For the sixth consecutive year TheNextWomen offered ambitious women-led startups a stage to pitch their company in front of a jury of investors, press, advisors and other professionals. This year the competition had an even broader international context: the competition took place in Amsterdam, London, Paris and Tunis. The finalists gathered Thursday October 4, in the Epicenter Amsterdam for the semi-finals and Grand Final. The winning female founder, Khaleelah Jones (ISBEL & CO) from Londen, won the convertible loan of €20.000 made available by TheNextWomen Crowd Fund, a Financial Check by EY and a VIP Styling Day from IAmGroots. Cafedeco, as runner-up, received a convertible loan of €10.000 and the EY Financial Check. And Marine Tanguy, founder of MTArt Agency, also from London, won, next to the 3rd place, also the Digital Award from MyTheresa, offered by CEO Michael Kliger.

It’s the change for every starting entrepreneur! In collaboration with the Dutch Embassy in Paris, Tunis & London, an esteemed jury of investors selected the first 4 finalists. These four entrepreneurs qualified themselves directly for the Grand Final in Amsterdam.

Prior to the Grand Final the 4 finalists and the 8 semi-finalists from the Netherlands were made “pitch ready” during TheNextWomen Academy Day on Wednesday Ocotber 3. A Funding Strategy masterclass by Amsterdam Venture Partners and a pitch workshop by Investor Ready did the trick. The brand-new Mindspace location in downtown Amsterdam offered the perfect space.

Back to October 4, as a kick-off to the Grand Final Eline Leijten, founder van Plugify and previous winner, held a captivative keynote:

(..)There was an article published in the Dutch Financial Times last week, stating that Dutch venture capital funds rarely invest in startups led by women. In the Netherlands, only 1.6% of VC funded ventures are led by women.

Whatsapp on my phone exploded. The main argument I hear tearing the article down, is ‘But there are less tech startups founded by women”. Yes, there are less. But not in the ratio of 1.6 to 98.4. And you know what, this is value creation left on the table.

So, to lift our spirits, what can we do? My advice to myself and all female entrepreneurs is: be aware of this. When we are aware, we can register the very subtle signals when we get them, and act on the spot.

To illustrate this: the signals are so subtle, that I still often found myself surprised after the conversation took place. Did that really happen?


If we are aware of it, we can signal it, and we can play with it.

As a society we are in the midst of a paradigm shift. And I wish to regard this as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for value creation.

To put our money were our mouthes are Constantijn van Oranje took part in a panel later that day, together with investors Johan van Mil (Peak Capital), Frank Landsberger (O3NL), Noëlle Haitsma & Simone Brummelhuis (TheNextWomen Crowd Fund), to discuss what they are actually doing right now to close the funding gap.

Photo by: Deborah de Herder | Winners Isbel&Co

At last it was time for the moment suprême: The announcement of the winners of TheNextWomen Pitch Competition 2018 by jurychair and founder of TheNextWomen: Simone Brummelhuis. Marine Tanguy of MTArt Agency – an agency disrupting the art world by creating new innovative ways of income for artists – came in 3rd, Anne de Jongh of Cafedeco – an online platform ready to disrupt the online furniture market – got 2nd place and Khaleelah Jones, co-founder of Isbel&CO – a platform that offers digital counseling for relationship and sexual health. Reinventing care for women, by women – won the first prize (a convertible loan of €20,000- by the TheNextWomen Crowd Fund). Additional to the convertible loans, Michael Kliger (CEO of MyTheresa) handed out the Digital Award, offered by MyTheresa, to the finalist of their choice: Marine Tanguy.

The Grand Final took place at the “Disruption Hall” of the innovative Epicenter Amsterdam.

A startup-award by a household name

“Although the number of startup awards keeps growing, we receive over 200 applications every year by female founders for our Pitch Competition. I’m very proud that they see the value in our network, where some of the most influential female entrepreneurs of the Netherlands can help them evolve. And our success stories definitely show case this. The winners from the last 4 editions received investments of €500.000 – €750.000 after the first nine months of participation.”