We kept you waiting for a little while, but it seems appropriate to announce the six most badass female tech entrepreneurs in the Netherlands that you should definitely know about on International Women’s Day. After examining the nominations, our jury carefully made a selection of the six most promising, inspiring, and innovative female tech entrepreneurs to watch this year.
Our (female) jury consisted of none less than Valerie Vallenduuk, who is the founder of Present Your Startup; Simone Rutgers, co-founder & Partner at Steelman; and myself, an experienced Silicon Canals editor, having interviewed many entrepreneurs in the startup world. In composing the selection, we looked at several criteria.
First of all, the female entrepreneur should be the (co-)founder of a tech startup that is based in the Netherlands. Then we looked at how inspiring, promising, and unique we thought the startups were. Finally, we also looked at how many times they were selected, and what you have said about them.
Here is our final pick:
Diane Janknegt – Wizenoze
Improving literacy worldwide, that is the mission of Diane Janknegt, founder of Wizenoze. We wrote about Wizenoze last year, right after the startup raised €1.3M to expand to the UK market. Wizenoze created an AI-powered readability analysis engine, helping authors to write materials that are readable by everyone. Why Diane is so badass? One of her nominators summed up some of her impressive achievements:
“Diane has been listed in the Inspiring fifty as well as the Viva 400. Her company Wizenoze was runner up for the 2017 Nu.nl startup award. Wizenoze’s innovative technology, and the enormous potential for societal impact and global scaling led to Diane’s selection for the prestigious Project Literacy Lab. As the only representative of a European company, she was invited to join 12 other scale-ups in this international partnership that supports the rapid growth of ventures that are positioned to close the global literacy gap by 2030.”
Enough reason to look after Wizenoze in 2018!
Willemijn Schneyder – SwipeGuide
We have seen SwipeGuide before, at Haarlem Valley Present Your Startup in 2016. The then pregnant Willemijn Schneyder was the expert panel’s favorite of that night. The startup, that created an App to replace user manuals, has been growing ever since. Less than a month ago, they even brought in an investment by Newion of no less than €1M. Well, that’s something promising for the coming year. What a nominator said about why Willemijn is badass:
“Willemijn is a humble superhero CEO of SwipeGuide – a successful tech startup based in Amsterdam. She’s also a full-time mother of two young children and thus gets a maximum of 4 hours of sleep every night. Impressive to say the least!”
Els van der Helm – Shleep
If Willemijn ever gets too exhausted from that little sleep per night, Els van der Helm might have a solution for her. She founded the App Shleep, an online sleeping coach to help you improve your sleeping. Els is a sleeping expert herself, and holds a PhD in Psychology. If we have to believe her nominators, she does everything with a smile as well. Another nominator wrote this about her:
In less than a year, Els managed to: 1) start up an ambitious and innovative company (Shleep) which developed 2) a groundbreaking sleep coaching app, 3) got major B2B clients, 4) got featured on reputable media such as HBR, Economist, HuffPost (she even became ‘friends’ with Arianna Huffington who digs her initiative), and 5) got accepted into the #1 US accellerator AngelPad. Not bad, for 1 year of work. She’s badass all the way!
We will definitely stay awake to see what she has in store for us the coming year!
Wendy Mensink – Viridian Raven
Women that are into tech seem rare, but what about women with a passion for space technology? Wendy Mensink is one of them. She co-founded the startup Viridian Raven, an application that predicts beetle outbreaks in forests. Viridian Raven creates an innovative solution to analyse worldwide forest health, so fosterers can prevent heavy outbreaks that can damage the forests drastically. The startup was the winner of the DLR challenge for the Copernicus Masters competition in 2016, and won the first prize at the ESA Appathon 2015. Why Wendy Mensink was nominated as badass:
“Wendy, together with her Co founder Lisa, Are using space technology to make the world a better place. Combining space, AI, and ecology they create a innovative solution to analyse worldwide forest health, so we can save the forests before it is to late. Their creative, innovative ánd professional attitude makes them two very interesting women to look out for in 2018!”
Mylena Pierremont – My Reputation Lab
In our digital age, online presence is crucial for almost every company. That’s why Mylena Pierremont co-founded My Reputation Lab, on which she developed an influence scale to measure a business’ online presence and influence. Their aim is to help companies improve their online branding. My Reputation Lab was nominated for the Accenture Innovation Awards 2017, and has also been selected by the University of Amsterdam’s Science Park and Ace Venture Lab to be part of their innovating and leading village in technology, data sciences and AI. What a nominator said about Mylena:
“Mylena has realised that network is ones networth and has created a platform that helps everyone of us optimize their online performance via social networks and building trust among people!”
Barbara Parshall – Baarb
The highest number of nominations (seven times!) went to Barbara Parshall, founder, and CEO of Baarb. This hotel booking App aims to make traveling easier by making it more personalized. Her nominators describe her as a most persistent and dedicated entrepreneur. Here is what a nominator said about her:
“Barbara Parshall revolutionizes hotel search by using AI. baarb is on the radar in Silicon Valley, of media like Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post etc. One of Barbara’s strongest supporter is Microsoft GM Jim Brisimitzis. He is convinced, that “baarb is on the edge of changing travel for good”. Barbara qualified also for Netherlands and the world’s best AI accelerator Rockstart in Amsterdam/ Den Bosch. I strongly recommend Barbara to be nominated for top 20 female NLtech entrepreneur to watch in 2018. Barbara is as motivator and innovator a female entrepreneur role model. As startup Founder Barbara is energetic, focused and passionate in following her vision.”
We got very curious about these women, and what they have in store for us the coming year.
Editorial note: Follow our special category female founders to watch here! We will keep you updated on a (bi)weekly basis on the successes and failures of these badass female tech entrepreneurs. Image by Shutterstock (search: badass women).