Here are the 11 Startups Women’s iLab Discovered Through The MassChallenge Partnership

Here’s an impressive fun-fact: David Chang, Co-Founder of Start Tank, has said that over 60% of startups that pitched in the second round of judging in the high-tech lane on the show had at least one female founder. And, at Women’s iLab, we celebrate the rise of female entrepreneurs.

This year Women’s iLab was invited to partner with MassChallenge to discover Boston’s best and brightest female-led startups and compete in its accelerator program. MassChallenge’s four month accelerator program offers mentorship, office space, and education resources, and awards two million dollars in cash awards. With programs in Boston, Israel, and the United Kingdom, MassChallenge is open to anyone in the world, from any stage in the startup and in any industry.

Women’s iLab is one of Boston’s experts on women in tech, and we’re proud to highlight the startups that we’ve chosen.  The selected startups were given the opportunity to work out of the MassChallenge offices leading up to the program and/or be fast-tracked into the second of the three rounds of judging to make it into the program.

Here are the eleven startups chosen by Women’s iLab and their elevator pitches (those marked with an * made it to the MassChallenge Semi-Finals):


Beauty Lynk, founder Rica Elysee

“BeautyLynk is an immersive technology platform with patent pending devices designed to deliver individualized beauty programs specific to your needs, gather important data about you that enables improved service results and identify potential health concerns all in the convenience and comfort of your home or work. BeautyLynk brings personal, state of the art, licensed beauty professional directly to you to care for all of your unique beauty needs at your home or work.”


Edify, founder Hong Chung

“Edify is an educational matching service that aims to address education disparity and empower its users- tutors & tutees- to dictate their own terms: set their price, time, and location- the rest is on edify. Private tutoring exceeds $10B and yet, due to its soaring prices, only a fortunate few have access. Such restrictions impede innovation and promise. Edify’s open platform will lower the physical, social, and financial barriers of private lessons in order to provide equal opportunity for all.”


FIT it In, founder Margaret Jackson

“FIT It In members get access to last minute spots at the hottest boutique fitness studios. We help you book workouts around busy schedules. Elevator Pitch: Workouts should be challenging, fitting one in shouldn’t be. At FIT It In we provide our members with access to last minute spots in the best boutique fitness classes, at a fraction of the cost of a gym membership. Reservations open 24 hours before the start of class, allowing members to fit in great workouts without advanced commitment. Our service gives our partnering studios a chance to fill what would have otherwise been lost revenue.”


MilkonTap, founder Sylvia Romm

“If 90% of US families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, $13 billion could be saved annually and approximately 900 infant deaths could be prevented each year. However, 9 in 10 mothers report problems breastfeeding within 3 days of birth. MilkOnTap is the only on-demand telehealth company that supports breastfeeding and empowers mothers by providing nursing moms with 24/7 access via video, phone, and secure email to licensed lactation consultants. We help mothers whenever they need it most.”

Sylvia shared with us her experience with MassChallenge. She says, “I’ve had such an amazing time meeting the smart, talented, and creative women who are were sponsored by Women’s iLab to work at MassChallenge. In a few short weeks, we have formed solid bonds and plan to continue working with and supporting each other.” She adds, “I started MilkOnTap because I saw a massive opportunity in solving the problem of women lacking access to professional breastfeeding support. I believe that women deserve to have help meeting their own breastfeeding goals and that technology can make access to help easier and more affordable. As a pediatrician and mother, I am passionate about breastfeeding advocacy, not only for the health of the baby, but also for the mother.”

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Omada, founder Courtney Penna

“Omada alleviates the hassle of team management by automating time-consuming processes (pitch booking, fee collection, scheduling, league reports, etc). Moreover, it’s a social platform on which collegiate & amateur athletes can publicly showcase achievements, and connect & compete with other players – a gamefied LinkedIn for sports. With 15.6m adults participating in weekly sport UK-wide, Omada’s potential reach is huge.”


OuroTech, founder Bonnie Cheung

“Ourotech creates medical 3D printers that print MRIs to reduce the risk of surgery and train medical students. Our 3D printers use a realistic tissue-like material to simulate the human body. This allows surgeons to plan an operation on a realistic model before doing that actual surgery; giving them a higher chance of success. This technology can be used by medical schools to train future surgeons on performing surgeries on wide variety of medical conditions and body types.”


Pasand*, co-founders Rebecca Scharfstein, Aunna Wilson, Ashley Eberhart, and Alexandra Deprez

“Pasand empowers adolescents in India to make choices for their own health and dignity by improving access to top-quality health education. Our curriculum brings together the best of adolescent health research and human-centered design and covers puberty, menstrual health and hygiene, and safe and unsafe touch. We operate in all types of schools and charge for our services based on an institution’s capacity to pay, enabling us to operate in low-income schools at low-to-no cost.”

Rebecca talks about some of the challenges of starting a business. She says, “I applied for a Women’s iLab sponsored seat on a whim. I had just left my stable job to work on Pasand full-time, and I was scared of being lonely as the only full-time employee based in the U.S. The opportunity to work out of MassChallenge has been so much more than just an excuse to get out of the house. I’ve benefited immensely from the mentorship of the MassChallenge team, who push me to think critically about Pasand’s business model, and the fellow Women’s iLab entrepreneurs, who share their insight and serve as a valuable sounding board. Without Women’s iLab, I may not have made the jump from working solo in my apartment to engaging with inspiring entrepreneurs on a daily basis.”

She also shared with me what’s next for Pasand. “We launched full operations in Bangalore this year and have reached over 2,000 adolescent girls so far,” she says. “In June, we’ll be piloting a curriculum for adolescent boys to complement our girls curriculum. We’re very excited to start engaging boys and believe this is a critical next step for a more gender equal society.”


Prepify, founder Rena Pacheco-Theard

“70% of students at the most competitive schools come from the top 25% of the income bracket. We think this is unacceptable. That’s why Prepify is revolutionizing access to higher education by creating free, online and adaptive SAT prep for any student, anywhere. Think of Prepify as “Code academy for the SAT,” or the FREE, cloud-based learning tool for SAT prep. Prepify is absolutely free for students. Our revenue model emphasizes partnerships with admissions offices and corporate sponsors.”


SuperHealos*, founder Yuan Yin

“Life is full of challenges that can be especially difficult for kids. SuperHealos is dedicated to empowering kids facing these challenges through creative and fun products. Our stories and characters are designed to transform an existing, scary situation into an educational, empowering adventure. We’re also designing products to continue that feeling of empowerment when the book is back on the shelf. So put on your capes, engage your imagination, and come fly with SuperHealos.”


Vendate, founder Liz Gottbrecht

“Vendate introduces couples to amazing photographers, bands, DJs and more based on availability for their wedding date. There’s no use wasting time falling in love with vendors who can’t make it. For couples, it means no more aimlessly contacting vendors with the hope that they’re available. For vendors, it means getting reliable leads that result in quality bookings and less “sorry, we’re booked” replies. We save couples from the stresses of the search, and show them vendors who can RSVP Yes!”

“It’s been incredible to be able to work out of MassChallenge,” says Liz. “Chris, Jen and I couldn’t be more grateful to have this opportunity so, so early on in Vendate’s development because it forced us – very quickly – to look beyond the shiny brand/design aspects with all its hero shots and get organized as a business. It provided a real sense of urgency.”

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Wardrobe a Week, founder Lexi Smith

“The average woman has 90 items of clothing in her closet and only wears about half of the items. This is why women’s closets are overflowing with clothing and yet they’re always complaining about having “nothing to wear”. Wardrobe A Week wants women to shop smarter: we are an infinite closet that lets women try new pieces every week and keep the items they fall in love with. The result is a revolving wardrobe that turns “nothing to wear” into “always something new to wear.”


IMG_9202I’m the Senior Editor of Women’s iLab and the Director of Operations for Kite, an app that allows you to share news and articles. One of my labors of love is co-organizing #ArtsTech meetup, which focuses on the intersection of art and technology. One of my greatest passions is world travel: when I’m not home in New York City, you’ll find me somewhere in Europe, Asia, or Latin America. I graduated from the George Washington University with a BA in Art History. Get in touch with me on twitter @amaiou.
Read more about and from the author: Amanda’s WiLab Profile