[Event Debrief] InnovateHER Pitch Competition

InnovateHER Pitch Competition

On May 31, Healthcare.mn was proud to host the Minneapolis InnovateHER pitch competition at Fathom Consulting. Each local competition submits one winner to the SBA, who then identifies 10 finalists. These finalists will be invited to travel to the Washington D.C. metro area for a live pitch competition and a chance to win up to $70,000 in prize money. All submitted business concepts were designed to empower women and families.

“InnovateHER is one exciting way the SBA is helping small businesses start, grow and succeed,” explained Nancy Libersky, SBA’s Minnesota district director. “It’s always great to see our local entrepreneurs highlighted nationally and I hope to see the company chosen to compete nationally.”

Seventeen Minneapolis startups pitched, and nineteen submitted. Molly Fuller Design was named as the winner.

“Having a medical condition does not mean a person stops caring about style and quality, and we shouldn’t treat them as such,” explains Molly Fuller, owner and designer for the company. “I’m thrilled to have been chosen locally. Winning InnovateHER nationally would give me the funding I need to manufacture and launch my first line of clothing”

Meet them the participants below. Text in quotations was submitted by competition participants.

Molly Fuller Design

“The CDC estimates that every 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents with children with ASD spend a lot of time and money on therapies and products to help their [children]. Mothers typically take on the role of caregiving and/or leaving their job. A study by the University of Washington Autism Center found that mothers with children with ASD are more stressed than mothers of children with other developmental disabilities. So not only are mothers stressed and spending money on costly products they hope will work, most of the products out there are poorly designed and shout “my child has a special condition.”

Molly Fuller Design is addressing the lack in the marketplace by creating stylish clothing for children and teens with autism and sensory integration needs at an affordable price. The designs will use deep pressure therapy techniques of weight and compression to relieve anxiety due to sensory overload.”

Incontrol Health

“The Hair Guardian is a digitally connected self-care scalp cooling system designed to prevent baldness from chemotherapy. All of the extraordinary women who have used the Hair Guardian are strong, humble, caring people blindsided by their diagnosis. One young mother described the experience like being a rock at the bottom of a river watching the water rush by with the excitement of living. Her children, her colleagues, her friends kept on going while she was forced to stop and watch, then gather the strength to do what she could. Keeping her hair meant she could feel more normal, retain some control, and choose the people to share her story with. Avoiding baldness during the treatment time was critical. It’s not about vanity. It’s about privacy, control, and normalcy when one feels exposed, powerless and atypical.

Scalp cooling has been used in Europe to treat chemotherapy induced hair loss for many years and has been recently approved by the FDA for use in the US. As shown in the brief summary above, the Hair Guardian meets a market need to prevent chemo-induced baldness while allowing clinics to treat cancer with ‘business as usual.'”


“PRZM is a new up and coming brand for a unique consumer. Our company provides wearable tech that can transform and fit into women’s wardrobes. We believe that in this technological age, women want their garments to do more, perform more, and decrease wasteful throw-away fashion culture. Our goal is to create garments that connect to technology, i.e. your phone, ipad or other smart device, that allow the users to customize the color, pattern and look of their fashion. Our goal is to decrease the thousands of tons of fabric waste that goes into landfill each year and provide women with eco-friendly apparel. It has the potential to grow into all avenues of the fashion market and impact how women think about fashion as a whole.”

Rally Registry

“Rally Registry is a premier products and services platform for patients afflicted by serious or chronic diseases. Upon launch, the first iteration of our service is focused on the needs of cancer patients. Currently, the absence of a resource or site focused on the tangible needs of patients leaves this population to research and source what they need on their own, a time-consuming and distracting effort. Our service simplifies access to a curated selection of products and services organized by diagnosis, treatment phase, and symptom. Patients and caregivers are able to identify and purchase goods and services that are needed throughout treatment instantly or add a personal gift registry to share on social media or via email.

Women will account for just over half of the 1,688,780 expected new cancer diagnoses this year (“Cancer Facts & Figures”, 1), predominately serve as the informal (or unpaid) caregivers (Hunt and Gibson, 6), and more often experience “the cost of caring”—whereby they face a higher burden of stress due to the awareness of stressful events in the lives of close friends and family, but also socially distant acquaintances through the rise of social media use (“Social Media & The Cost of Caring”, 4). Whether they fall under our user categories as a patient (shop or create registry), caregiver (shop or create registry), or loved one (shop or purchase off registry) women are most likely to need and benefit from the Rally Registry service, and further, most likely to adopt its use. Women control the majority of the $20 trillion dollars of consumer spending in the United States (“Women Want More”, 4). Additionally, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families, they make approximately 80% of the healthcare decisions for their families (4).

Rally Registry will reach this market by leveraging our experience and connections within the healthcare industry. The founding team has warm relationships with most of the top hospitals in the U.S. This will enable us to quickly establish strategic partnerships and implement our service within these trusted healthcare providers thereby generating qualified user enrollment traction at minimal costs allowing us to scale in a capital efficient manner.”


Ayeim is a hitech venture management company. AYEFI is a smart interactive wearable product that can be used for person’s safety and other communications including healthcare, very beneficial for elderly, women and children. It can be used at every home or care facility for monitoring/support.

1) have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families,Our product and services will enable security of the family member/women when they are outdoors/anywhere. With a touch of the button they can send signals to their family member/agent to get help if they are in danger. With the camera, the family member can also see the surroundings of the place/person to give the desired help immediately (this is very helpful for disabled/elderly care). In addition, they call also do audio communications/intelligent responses for better communications. This product can also be used as secondary device in the facility or as a fashion product too.Basically improves security of the person, right attention to the person, intelligent communication and interactions.

2) have the potential for commercialization,This product can be used in Healthcare facilities, any home, school facilities, when at outdoor. We are testing our prototype, and plan to have the product in market by September/November 2017. The product caters to a multi-billion dollar market.

3) fill a need in the marketplace. There is no such product and services that meet this kind of advanced safety solution. While there are smaller limited functionality devices like LifeAlert and the higher end smart phones which are not that user friendly/intelligent for safety needs and versatile.


“This year alone, 1 in 8 women in the US will hear “you have cancer”. What these women do after cancer treatment dramatically impacts their life span and vitality. Thrivors transforms this critical recovery period using a mobile, proprietary, and proven cancer-specific mind-body approach that provides effective healing for patients, and data analytics for healthcare organizations to improve outcomes and lower costs.”


“HabitAware.com makes Keen, a smart bracelet that uses custom gesture detection to help people take control of compulsive/excessive hair pulling, nail biting & skin picking. Our cofounder, Aneela, came up with the idea after revealing to her husband that she suffered from hair pulling (a psychological disorder officially known as trichotillomania) for over 20 years. We launched for pre-order in 2016, after attending the premiere hardware accelerator program, HAX. After beginning shipping just two months ago in late March 2017, we now have more than 1,500 Keens in use around the world & demand continues to rise. Trichotillomania affects women disproportionately, and over 80% of our customers are women or (teen) girls. For these women, these disorders eat away at self-confidence, especially because of the immense pressures society places on women to conform to physical beauty standards. With our help, these women are able to take control, regrow their hair, shift the negative speak in their minds and change their lives for the better. We recently issued a patent on our technology and are the first and only company serving this “niche,” but widespread and underserved, mental health community that we are also a part of.”

Favorable Treats

“Founded upon recipes that have been in my family for decades and inspired by my personal experience of overcoming domestic violence, Favorable Treats produces frozen pre-portioned cookie dough with a mission of creating warm cookies, safe homes.
We are an aspiring social enterprise, with a goal of partnering with college campuses across the country through the sales of our ready-to-bake cookie dough within their food service and in turn donate a portion of our profits to support dating and domestic violence awareness and prevention education programs. Together, with our customers and supporters, we make good cookies and we do good things.”

Curly Girls Candy

“Not your Grandma’s Sugar-Free Candy! At Curly Girlz Candy we create tantalizing treats made from fresh, local ingredients and create them with the individual attention that goes into all of our handcrafted candy. The largest players in the industry are all using artificial sweeteners, but our new line of sugar free/no sugar added confections contain no artificial sweeteners. They contain our proprietary high fiber, natural sweetener blend for a treat that tastes exceptional with no aftertaste. Our candies fill a niche that is missing in the healthy confections industry, a naturally sweetened candy, without the malitol, aspartame, and other additives. We see an abundant opportunity for our new line of confections in this growing segment of the candy industry. Our candies appeal to all ages and we continue to create new and exciting flavors. Our list of loyal followers continue to grow. Our minimum five year goal is to capture 0.0015% or $322,500 of the total $215M sugar-free confection sales by 2022, through increased production and lower manufacturing costs. To focus on how we can have a measurable impact on women, other than employing them, is by allowing women and children to make better food (treat) choices with the sugar free line. The second way we will have a measurable impact on women is through assisting them in starting their own food businesses through the use of the shared use kitchen and sharing our experience in starting a food business in Minnesota, as a woman.”

Starr Health Co.

“My company provides yoga and wellness coaching, targeting primarily women ages 13-30. I work with individuals, companies and groups to develop body awareness, confidence and overall wellbeing through yoga, mindfulness and the health sciences. In the future I hope to create online courses focused on how to move through life transitions in a healthy manner, and support wellbeing on a truly holistic level: physical, mental, emotional, financial, professional, etc. My business has already commercialized the in-person delivery of these services on a small scale. The online delivery potential is huge; global e-learning is projected to be a $325B market by 2025 and the wellness industry alone has an annual growth rate of approximately 17%. Young women are increasingly suffering from anxiety, eating disorders and depression. There are very few accessible, appealing resources for young women and their families to meet the ever-changing needs of youth growing up, living and working in a competitive, digital age. Parents and young women alike have expressed strong interest in the broadening of Starr Health Co.’s services.”

Vorsdatter LLC

“Vorsdatter LLC is an app development startup serving the over 35 year old female market. Its first app, Hot Flash Sisters, helps women experiencing perimenopause symptoms and will be monetized primarily through in-app advertising. Perimenopause refers to hormonal changes women experience as menstruation ceases, leading to hot flashes, night sweats, migraines and other symptoms, affecting physical and emotional well-being. The cost of these symptoms is significant, with one study finding that U.S. women who experienced hot flashes had 1.5 million more healthcare visits than women without, amounting to additional annual healthcare costs of ~$340MM and $28MM for lost work productivity. Beyond the costs is the pain and emotional suffering – unpredictable and extreme discomfort forces some women to avoid family and social engagements, adding to feelings of isolation and shame. Misdiagnoses, sometimes involving erroneous prescriptions, are not uncommon. The U.S. Census Bureau projects in 2020 there will be 64.5MM women in the 30–60 age group. Hot Flash Sisters helps by providing a means to: 1) track symptoms for improved healthcare, 2) engage and share with a community of women worldwide to reduce feelings of shame and isolation and 3) keep informed about the latest options for treatment. Our beta version has over 1000 downloads.”

Binary Bridge

Binary Bridge works to bring hi-tech healthcare solutions to developing countries. Our backpackEMR product brings continuity of care and better outcomes to people in rural areas of Africa, Asia, and Central/South America by tracking medical visits electronically for mothers through their pregnancies and their families through general care. Every year >300k mother die in childbirth, 2.7M babies die in the first 28 days of life, and 2.6M babies are stillborn. To prevent this, we need to know why and track pregnancies from the beginning. The Ministries of Health of these countries are interested in gathering this valuable data, as well, and are looking for ways to capture it electronically. While other solutions fill this gap for urban hospitals that have access to the internet, there are few solutions that service the rural clinics where the internet is not available or spotty. BackpackEMR functions completely offline, can share data with other devices w/o the internet, and can upload the data to the cloud or government database when connected.”

Rebelleon Apparel

Rebelleon Apparel is a business casual clothing line for muscular women. Our desire is to provide clothing that accepts and supports women pursuing the body they want instead of the body society and clothing companies say they should have. Our product allows women to comfortably and confidently pursue their passions in the gym and the boardroom. The first product is wrinkle free button up shirts with the intention to expand to blazers, blouses, and dress pants. Button up shirt samples are currently in creation, the fabric is being perfected, and a U.S. manufacturer is in the works. There are currently no clothing companies providing professional clothing options for muscular women. Throughout my time measuring and surveying more than 65 women in CrossFit, Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF), and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is clear there is a huge need for this niche of clothing. Most women explained their impossible struggle to find dress shirts big enough to fit their shoulders and arms and small enough in the waist to give them their desired fit. Growth and sales will occur through wholesale and retail sales in lifting-focused gyms, ecommerce, and lifting events in the US. There are local CrossFit gyms and an online clothing subscription service interested in selling Rebelleon Apparel shirts to their clients once product is available. A larger goal is to sell Rebelleon Apparel clothing in larger chains like Lifetime Fitness, Nordstrom, and other big box stores. An important part of Rebelleon Apparel sales is giving back to the community. Ten percent of our net profit will be donated to a local organization that directly serves sex trafficked victims (organization TBD). Rebelleon Apparel will impact the lives of muscular women in business by making it easier to find clothes that fit their bodies properly. Children will also be impacted by their fit mothers because they have a positive body image and are more confident because they have clothes made to fit their muscular bodies. Our philanthropic efforts will directly benefit women and children who are victims of sex trafficking by significantly improving their health which will result in healthier children, future mothers, and current mothers.”

Goals and Girl Power

“The Goals and Girl Power company is committed to empowering young girls through; 1.) supporting them to set and accomplish lofty yet attainable goals, 2.) creating vision boards for visual representation of their dreams and tying them to actionable steps towards achieving their goals, 3.) learning to love their bodies for what they can DO, rather than how they LOOK, 4.) learning to exercise for love of movement and purpose rather than relying on gimmick diets and fitness programs to fulfill the needs of their health, and 5.) learning how foods fuels their efforts rather than starving their genius.

Our workshops are 3-day (3 hours each day) camps for girls going into 4th through 7th grade. In 8th grade, they can attend our mentorship camp where they learn the lesson plan for hosting a workshop. In 9th-12th grade they can return to camp as a volunteer coach.

Our goal is to expand this program into every community around the country. Expenses are low and can be hosted in a variety of locations.

We believe that anti-bullying programs are important but the unfortunate reality is that everyone experiences bullying, even in our adult lives. Instead, we want to empower girls to have a strong sense of self, to know they are loved and to have a support system beyond their friends and family but, within a greater community of girls growing through life just like they are. Our hope is that they are then better able to handle bullying and the overall and often unavoidable challenges of life.

We believe this program is needed now more than ever. The family unit has change where more children live in single-parent households shared with visits to the other parent. Communication and co-parenting with a set of rules and communicated values are no longer the norm. This can be confusing for a child. Teachers are not equipped, financially or otherwise to “”parent”” children. They need to be free to teach and hope that parenting is done at home. We believe that our community-building and mentoring programs will help to bridge that gap and fill a need for a stronger future for our girls and their future families.”

The Mother Love

“Little Mother’s Helper® is a cool deck of cards and app guiding modern mothers in the days, weeks + months following childbirth. We partner with health care systems, employers and our community to build inclusive technology and connected relationships to improve women’s health. For the past 16 months, we relentlessly focused on postpartum health, and since have customer acquisition, are trusted advisors to women around the globe, have changed behaviors of our consumers, practice outcomes that matters, and people are buying our products daily. We will begin to develop and expand our digital platform and offerings in Q3 & Q4 2017.”

Strength Factory & Rooted in Wellness

“The Strength Factory and Rooted in Wellness have partnered up and are currently working on a grant to fund a health and wellness program for our area’s women shelters. It is our goal to positively impact the lives of women who have suffered traumatic life events. Demographics: woman as young as 18 and as old as 60+. These women can be of any ethnicity living in the Duluth/Superior area. By participating in the program each woman should see an increased self-efficacy, improvement in overall physical health, and improved mental health. There have been several studies on how exercise improves mental health. It is well known that fitness has a positive impact on mental health. We want to work with local area women’s shelters to provide a program, at no cost to them, which allows additional support beyond what a typical women’s shelter can provide. We will provide 2, 2 hour classes per week that will include weekly health/wellness topics as well as provide a fitness component in each class.”

Wonderfully Made

Wonderfully Made combines the unique skill sets of the artisans with a conducive atmosphere resulting in a positive sales environment. We are providing an outlet for women to create and sell their goods and receive exposure to the local community while making a profit. We fill a need in the marketplace for the consumer to purchase a quality local handmade good of woodworking, photography, home decor, metal art, fiber art, jewelry that can be functional and budget friendly while supporting local women artisans.


“An estimated 66% of caregivers are female. The average caregiver is a 49 year old woman, married and employed, caring for her 60 year old mother who does not live with her. Female caregivers spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers. Women are the major providers of long-term care in this country, and they also have long-term care needs of their own. Women live longer than men, tend to outlive their spouses, and have less access to retirement savings (https://www.caregiver.org/women-and-caregiving-facts-and-figures). CommunO2 is a “SuperApp” providing – in a free, integrated user interface – a wide range of secure, easy-to-use computer-assisted capabilities for supporting older adults, caregivers, families, and communities. CommunO2 keeps them connected with each other and with the specific community resources they rely on. CommunO2 promotes healthy, safe, supportive, and fulfilling “Thriving in Place”. Employing a unique and proven community deployment model for commercialization, CommunO2 establishes a community standard, deriving recurring B2B revenue in urban and rural locations.”


“An estimated 66% of caregivers are female. The average caregiver is a 49 year old woman, married and employed, caring for her 60 year old mother who does not live with her. Female caregivers spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers. Women are the major providers of long-term care in this country, and they also have long-term care needs of their own. Women live longer than men, tend to outlive their spouses, and have less access to retirement savings (https://www.caregiver.org/women-and-caregiving-facts-and-figures). CommunO2 is a “SuperApp” providing – in a free, integrated user interface – a wide range of secure, easy-to-use computer-assisted capabilities for supporting older adults, caregivers, families, and communities. CommunO2 keeps them connected with each other and with the specific community resources they rely on. CommunO2 promotes healthy, safe, supportive, and fulfilling “Thriving in Place”. Employing a unique and proven community deployment model for commercialization, CommunO2 establishes a community standard, deriving recurring B2B revenue in urban and rural locations.”

Leave a Comment