"What products and solutions have female founders and leaders created that positively impact the financial services and / or insurance industries?"


Our Winners have Been Announced! 

Congratulations to Goalsetter Marinus Analytics and Lendonate
Scroll down to learn more about our amazing female-led winners and finalists.


Female Founders in Tech 2017 Highlights

Hear from our sponsors and finalists on key highlights from the 2017 Female Founders in Tech competition

Female Founders in Tech Competition 2017 - Sponsor Highlights

Female Founder in Tech Competition 2017 - Full Recap

Here Are our Winners!

Congratulations to Goalsetter for winning First Place, to  Marinus Analytics  for Second Place , and to Lendonate for Third Place!


Meet the Seven Finalists


Allows underserved individuals to perform secure financial transactions via mobile app

Led by Amanda Graham
Co-Founder & COO


Goalsetter is a goal-based savings and gifting platform, targeting millennials.

Led by Tanya Van Court
Founder & CEO


Jumpstart democratizes disaster insurance, starting with the earthquake risk in CA.

Led by Kate Stillwell
Founder & CEO


LENDonate provides a marketplace lending platform for non profits and supporters.

Led by Vivienne Hsu
Founder & CEO


Marinus uses technologies to help identify and fight crimes like human trafficking.

Led by Emily Kennedy
Founder & CEO


Commercial real estate debt platform directly connecting borrowers to lenders.

Led by Yulia Yaani


Reply.ai is an enterprise-level solution to scale chat bots across messaging platforms.

Led by Clara de Soto


Live Pitch Event Judges      


Kelle Bub
Innovation Manager


Karen Buck
Head, Women in Leadership
TD Bank


Mary Burke
Head, Global Customer Proposition Operations  
Thomson Reuters


Breanne Diorio
Senior Manager Brand Strategy
John Hancock  


Jesse Honigberg 
Chief Digital Officer
Sterling National Bank



Sharleen Smith
Head of Digital



Mentoring / business development guidance from industry experts

Dedicated blog post and social media promotion

Access to $25,000 worth of Microsoft Azure cloud computing credit


1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place




October 1
Online Application Opens

October 31
Online Application Closes


November 3 – 12
Online Judging Period

November 15
7 Finalists Announced


November 15 – December 8 
Mentoring / Pitch Material Development

December 11 (New York City)
Final Live Pitch Event at Open Innovation Lab at Alley powered by Verizon

Sponsored by

Silver Sponsors



Bronze Sponsors



Technology Sponsor


Event Sponsor


Media Sponsor


Platform Sponsor


Supported by


Featured Judges & Mentors


Drew Aldrich
American Family Ventures

Helen Altshuler
Engineering Leader

Mark Berthiaume
CIO and Chief Innovation Technology Officer, Hanover Insurance Group

Denny Boyle
Managing Director, FinTech Sector Head
Silicon Valley Bank

Kelle Bub 
Innovation Manager

Susan Gault-Brown
Fintech Regulatory Partner
Wilson Sonsini

Florian Graillot
Partner, astorya.vc
(ex- AXA Strategic Ventures)

Theodora Lau
Director, Market Innovation

Ilana Messing
Director, Mastercard Lab Start Path

Scarlett Sieber
Top FinTech Influencer

Andrea Silvello
Co-Founder & CFO

Yair Smith 
VP, Strategic Development
AmTrust Financial Services

Ron Suber
Independent Entrepreneur, Executive and Coach

Dave Thomas 
SVP, Director of Digital Channel Management
Sterling National Bank

Click here for the current list of judges and mentors.




E-mail us at femalefounders@quesnays.com if you have any questions.


Who are we and why are we doing this?

Over the last 5 years, we(Quesnay) have been working with clients in financial services, insurance, telecommunications, and media to help accelerate innovation. We run innovation competitions, create customized acceleration programs, and develop digital partnership strategies in order to source external ideas/startups and connect them into our clients’ organizations. Together with our partner, Skild, we have run over 400 competitions. You can see an example here of a global social-impact competition focused on IoT solutions that Quesnay developed and ran with Verizon.

We are now taking this experience and these best practices to run our own competition to address another meaningful topic. We, like many others, recognize the distinct lack of representation and startup funding among women and want to use the competition format as a way to fund, support and mentor female founders in the financial services arena, where the gap is particularly stark. At Quesnay, our own founder, Jennifer Byrne, is a female founder and angel investor, so this is a cause that resonates with us on multiple levels.

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Who should apply?

  • You qualify if you are startup with a female founder / co-founder / C-Suite leader with a technology product relevant to the financial and/or insurance industries. The product must be at least a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that is ready to launch or has been launched in market.
  • More specifics on eligibility criteria are provided as part of the Official Rules.

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Why should I apply?

You will have access to a number of opportunities:

  • As an Online Round applicant:
    • Opportunity to have your product evaluated by leaders from business, academia, and the VC / incubator community.
    • Potential to be added to Quesnay’s database of qualified solution providers which is leveraged to establish partnerships during projects with corporate clients.
    • Invitation to Final Live Pitch Event on 12/11 in NYC.
  • Finalists will also receive:
    • Advice and Mentorship from industry experts and thought leaders.
    • Access to $25,000 worth of Microsoft Azure cloud computing credit.
    • Introductions to Fintech / Insurtech / women in tech leaders  / investors / incubators as appropriate to topic / stage.
    • Feature placement on www.quesnays.com.
  • Winners will also receive (in addition to the above):
    • Cash prize: $10,000 (first place), $6,000 (second place), $4,000 (third place)
    • Business development guidance: Quesnay will work with each winner following the Final Live Pitch Event to identify a partnership or mentorship opportunity.
    • Dedicated blog post.
    • Promotion: Quesnay will also help promote each winning startup through our media channels and extensive partnership network to raise awareness of each winner’s work and solution. Our network consists of VC / investor community, insurance and finance leaders, technology platforms, and prominent universities with entrepreneurial networks.

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What types of products and solutions qualify?

  • Products and solutions can be applicable across multiple industries as long as they include a relevant use case for the financial and/or insurance industries. Examples:
    • Topic areas such as lending & saving; digital insurance – creation, access, and distribution for new segments; financial inclusion, wellness, literacy
    • Applications / platforms using Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Voice Activation, Augmented / Virtual Reality, IoT, and gamification

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Where and how do I apply?

  • The application link above requires you to register, acknowledge the Official Rules, and then answer a few questions in writing on your product. We will also ask you to upload a brief (around 15 seconds) phone quality introductory video with your Online Round application. You may also upload an optional video demo of your product. More detailed requirements are provided in the Official Rules.

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What happens after the Online Round?

  • Once the Online Round judging is complete, 6 finalists will be selected to present a live pitch in front of a panel of judges (criteria for judging will be available in the Official Rules). The live event will take place on December 11th in New York City (Details below).
  • Finalists will also have the opportunity to work virtually with mentors who are leaders and experts in the Fintech and Insurtech space to develop their final pitch materials.

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What will be expected of the Finalists for the Final Live Pitch Event?

  • Each finalist will be expected to deliver an 8-10-minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of Q&A with a panel of judges. The pitch will include a product demo and further company and product details. Building on the details provided in the Online Round application, the finalists will be asked to elaborate on their growth strategy and the areas where they’ll benefit from partnerships. More details on the pitch materials and judging criteria will be available in the Official Rules. 
  • The female founder / co-founder / C-Suite leader will be required to present at the event.

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Where and when is the Final Live Pitch Event being held?

  • Verizon is proud to host Quesnay's Female Founders in Tech final live pitch event in their new Open Innovation Lab at Alley powered by Verizon in New York City. In addition to changing the way we discover, consume, and engage with digital media, the Verizon Open Innovation Lab is helping design and build the next generation of media experiences.
  • Date and Time: Monday, December 11th from 6 - 9 pm.

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Will travel costs be covered for the Final Live Pitch Event?

  • We will cover the cost of travel and one night of hotel stay for one participant - the female founder / co-founder / C-Suite leader from each of the Finalists. Reimbursement of $1,500 total in documented reasonable travel and lodging expenses is available to the participant if they reside in a physical location that is more than 250 miles from New York City. You may have other staff members attend the event at their own expense.

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Who should attend the Final Live Pitch Event?

  • The event attendees will be our six finalists, corporate sponsors, judges, mentors, and leaders from the VC / investor community, insurance and finance industries, technology platforms, and prominent universities.
  • However, we do have limited seats for general admission, which are open to entrepreneurs and aspiring leaders in the Fintech/Insurtech community, as well as those who are passionate about our competition focus.

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What is the cost to attend the event?

  • $15.00. We will be sharing an invitation closer to the event date.

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