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Startup Standouts Headed to Hera Venture Summit

Four startups have earned spots at Hera Venture Summit, the annual event hosted by Hera Labs, the San Diego-based nonprofit business accelerator for female founders.

Twelve startups pitched to a six-person panel Aug. 31 at the third annual Hera Fast Pitch event, held at Hera’s coworking space in Sorrento Valley, for a chance to pitch at the organization’s flagship event. The startups are seeking funding from an angel investor or other backer to further develop the companies’ products or services.

Although three startups were slated to be selected, the panel of judges ended up instead picking four to invite to move on to the larger event.

On that panel that judged the companies were angel investor J.D. Davids, founder of SmartMoney Startups; Bianca Helm, director of programs at the Foundation for Enterprise Development; Renie Leakakos, founder and CEO of Leakakos Law; angel investor Andrea Giralt, a Hera Labs board member; Ebonee Williams, executive director of the UCSD Gordon Engineering Leadership Center; and angel investor Amy Chang, a founding member of Hera Angels, the female angel group.

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Hera Venture Summit attendees will hear from the following startups:

  • NotesFirst: This company, headed by Patricia Lopez, has developed a mobile app that doctors in emerging markets can use to record patient data.
  • Lacti-Cups: This company, headed by Diana Osorio, makes cups that collect breastfeeding mothers’ leaking milk for later use. (Osorio’s company was also the audience’s favorite; attendees voted for their top pick via smartphone after the presentations Thursday evening.)
  • Dermala: This company, headed by Lada Rasochova, is using the human microbiome to develop skincare products that target acne, signs of aging and eczema.
  • Aquam: This company, headed by Orianna Bretschger, makes microbial fuel cell systems that clean wastewater and turn the waste into electricity.

The winners will receive assistance in further refining their pitches ahead of Hera Venture Summit, slated to take place Sept. 16 at the University of San Diego. At the event, after hearing from the four startups, attendees will decide how they would invest a theoretical $1 million, and the company or companies the audience favors will receive advisory services from SEED San Diego and mentoring from SmartMoney Startups.

Learn more at heraventuresummit.com

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