Uber, the Refinery and the Kauffman Foundation Launch “Fueling the Growth” Competition

Women-Led Startups to Pitch Investors in Uber and Compete for $100,000+ in Prize Money

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Sept. 12, 2016 – For women founders of tech companies in four cities, sharing a ride could drive their businesses to more success – especially if it's in an Uber. Business accelerator The Refinery, in partnership with Uber and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, today announced a nationwide pitch competition for the top technology-driven, women-led companies that are ready to scale, called Fueling the Growth. Competitors will have a chance to win $120,000 in grants and gain valuable investor feedback.

Applications are open for entrepreneurs in Providence, RI; Baltimore, MD; New Haven, Conn.; Stamford, Conn.; Washington; and Kansas City, Mo. to apply for the opportunity to ride for 10-15 minutes in a participating Uber and pitch their businesses to an investor on October 26. The entrepreneurs will get immediate feedback from the investors and be eligible to move to the next level of the pitch competition. The most promising startups will showcase their companies at the Stamford Innovation Center on November 16, during Global Entrepreneurship Week, and compete for 10 finalist spots by pitching their companies to a panel of judges at the Stamford Innovation Center in Stamford, Conn.

"Women-led startups received less than 2.7 percent of venture capital in 2011-2013, so a competition like this helps connect women entrepreneurs and investors in a dynamic, fun and innovative way," said Janis Collins, Co-Founder, The Refinery. "But this competition is about more than prize money; it's about giving the founders valuable access to investors and input on their businesses."

To be eligible, the companies must:

  • Have at least one woman in a leadership role
  • Demonstrate proven scalability with product market fit
  • Utilize technology in their business model

Full guidelines are available on The Refinery's website.

Entrepreneurs must apply online by October 20 to participate in the October 26 Uber pitch competition. If eligible entrepreneurs are not able to ride on that date, they can apply online by October 28 to be considered to present at the final Fueling the Growth pitch event on November 16.

More on The Refinery
The Refinery is an accelerator that fuels the growth of early stage ventures with diverse teams.  In two years, The Refinery has achieved rapid results: 62 companies mentored by 75+ subject expert mentors, through five program cycles, who have raised $9 million+ in funds. Further information can be found on The Refinery's website.

More on Uber
Uber is a technology platform that is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 400 cities today, Uber's rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer. Through joint initiatives like Fueling the Growth, Uber has quickly become an international leader in economic investment, technological innovation, and consumer choice. For more information, visit uber.com.