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Winners of the Women Startup Challenge VR and AI Announced

Last month Women Who Tech, a national US nonprofit working in partnership with craigslist founder Craig Newmark announced the 10 finalists selected for its fourth Women Startup Challenge. The winners have now been revealed.

Winning the grand prize of $50,000 USD from the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund as well as $15,000 in legal services from Paul Hastings LLP, was Didimo which automatically creates 3D virtual characters from a single photo.

“We are grateful to Women Who Tech for believing in our mission and helping bring Didimo to the whole world. It was an exciting night, preparing the pitch for the event was enriching, and we were given the opportunity of sharing why we build Didimo with everyone. It has been an honor to share the stage with other amazing companies,” said Didimo Cofounder Veronica Orvalho.

“This is our fourth competition,” said Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech. “We’ve received many hundreds of submissions from female entrepreneurs whose product ideas are often brilliant and disruptive, and a few that could even be the ‘next big thing.’ We’re just scratching the surface of the pent-up talent, as you see from the caliber of today’s winners. It’s all about giving women in tech some well-deserved recognition and support.”

Women Startup Challenge - Finalists

The runners-up were Spirit AI and Addicaid, they each receive $10,000 in legal services from Paul Hastings LLP.

Spirit AI develops tools to craft more expressive characters, stories, and worlds in games and virtual reality. This allows players to communicate naturally with characters and have unique conversations.

Addicaid is a digital addiction wellness platform for individuals with substance and process disorders, as well as for friends and family coping with loved ones in care.

“Supporting women in tech is a big deal,” said craigslist founder Craig Newmark. “The tech industry needs more women. We need their perspective and talent. But many aren’t getting a fair shake. Only 10 percent of investor money goes to women-led startups, and yet women-led companies deliver a 35 percent higher return than those led by men. We need to level the playing field.”

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