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Fast Pitch Competition

Opportunity for California Women Entrepreneurs
for Fundraising Resources and Networking

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Women Founders Network (WFN)

Deadline Date:

07/19/20 11:59 PM


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Opportunity for California female entrepreneurs and businesses that are majority women-owned to connect with fundraising resources and mentors. This accelerator program provides women who are developing high-growth businesses with the tools and resources they need to succeed. Applicants must be headquartered in Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties).

Since 2013, WFN's Fast Pitch competition has helped early-stage women-led businesses craft their stories, messages, monetization plans, legal structure, and more. This individualized attention allows these women entrepreneurs to become pitch-ready in a way that makes their business much more appealing to Angels and VCs to support funding to scale.

Key Benefits

  • Connection with Angel Investors and Venture Capital Funds focused on women founders
  • Cash investment potential from investors that attend the October 27th event
  • Ongoing support network of successful businesswomen committed to building the female entrepreneur ecosystem

Voting Rounds:

There are 3 rounds of voting: 

  1. Round 1 – All applications received are reviewed by the panel of judges and the top 25 companies are identified. 
  2. Round 2 – Judges identify the top 5 companies in this round and will be assigned to a pitch coach and financial mentor in preparation for the Fast Pitch Event and final round of voting.
  3. Round 3 – The top 5 companies will present at the October 27th Fast Pitch Event to compete for the cash prizes and audience Popular Vote Award.

Judges include the WFN Advisory Board, selected corporate sponsors, and Angel investors/VCs.

High-Level Judging Guidelines

  1. Concept and Revenue - Business concept and revenue model are clearly articulated and meet customers' needs
  2. Competitive Advantage - Company's solution is better than anything offered by competitors and is defensible 
  3. Team Members - Existing or planned team can credibly implement the business plan
  4. Marketing and Sales - Marketing and sales approaches are appropriate for acquiring customers 
  5. Financial Plan - Reasonable financial plan with supporting documents 

Must-Have Criteria: The criteria below are must-haves. If the company cannot answer ‘yes’ to all of these, it will be difficult to succeed. 

  • Addresses a sizeable market opportunity. Of course, sizeable is relative, but generally hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. Could address a smaller niche if the capital required is very limited.
  • Solving a real market need – there is a problem that customers will pay to have solved. It is a must-have, not just a nice-to-have. 
  • Has a potential sustainable source of differentiation – cannot be easily copied either because of patents or some other unique quality. 
  • Has a clear path to making money (business model).

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180925

Number of Grants:

There are 5 Finalists and 1 Winner.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The prize packages includes $25,000+ in cash prizes and over $50,000 in professional services. In addition, the Junior Judges’ winner receives $5,000 in cash.

Top 5 finalists receive:
- Free professional services valued at thousands of dollars based on their needs, such as legal, marketing, accounting, etc.
- One-on-one pitch coaching to prepare for the Fast Pitch Event
- Matched with a Financial Mentor to get your financials in order before the Fast Pitch
- Virtual mixer with judges, sponsors, and investors

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Fast Pitch Competition is exclusively for women entrepreneurs building businesses with high-growth potential.

Please note the new application criteria:

Due to COVID-19, WFN is scaling down the competition this year, including reducing the number of finalists from 10 to 5, and the geographic location of applicants. If you do not meet all criteria, your application will be disqualified. Please be sure to read through the criteria below before starting your application. WFN hopes to return to the normal criteria and live events in 2021 and wishes everyone good health!

Criteria for applying:
- Founder or CEO must be a woman or business must be majority-owned by a woman
- Must participate in the October 27 Virtual Fast Pitch
- Must have raised no more than $1M in outside funding (venture capital, angel investment, etc.), excluding research grants
- Must be headquartered in Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties)
- WFN is not accepting applications from startups in Life Sciences or Nonprofits
- Business must have achieved some proof of concept--either revenue, users, or some other indicator

Pre-Application Information:

Important Dates:
- May 1 – Application opening date
- July 19 – Application deadline date (midnight Pacific Time)
- Week of July 20 – Applicants notified of status from Round 1 Judging. Top 25 companies advance to Round 2 and complete follow-up questions from judges.
- Week of August 3 – Top 25 applicants notified of status from Round 2 Judging. Top 5 companies advance to Round 3 (Fast Pitch).
- August – Top 5 finalists are matched with pitch coaches and financial mentors
- September – Virtual mixer with judges, board members, investors
- October 27 – 2020 Virtual Fast Pitch Event

- $50 – Early bird rate applies May 1-June 15
- $75 – Regular rate applies June 16-June 30
Note that your application will not be fully submitted for review by judges until your fee is paid.

The Junior Judges program for girls in grades 6-12 is hosted through WFN's nonprofit, Women Founders Foundation. The girls participate in educational activities over the summer and a pre-pitch workshop in September to review and discuss the Top 5 companies with program facilitators. The girls participate in the Fast Pitch event as “VCs for a day” and select their winning company, which they present with a $5,000 sponsored cash award.

About Fast Pitch:

Female Founders Workshop:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

For questions, please contact:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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USA: California: Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties)

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