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1871 Announces 18 Members of Second Cohort of WiSTEM

1871 today announced the eighteen members (representing thirteen businesses) of the second class of WiSTEM, a first of its kind program designed to foster opportunities for women in technology. The new members will begin the WiSTEM curriculum next week and will join an initial network of thirteen women entrepreneurs from the first WiSTEM cohort, which completed programming earlier this year. WiSTEM is part of Google for Entrepreneurs’ #40Forward initiative, and is also supported by the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, the Motorola Mobility Foundation, Katrina Markoff, and AT&T.

“Chicago is the global leader for female-founded startups, and we seek to continue to build those numbers by facilitating opportunities for even more inclusion in the tech and entrepreneurial communities with WiSTEM,” said Jessica Williams, WiSTEM co-facilitator and Nicole Yeary, WiSTEM co-facilitator and Ms. Tech founder and CEO. “The women from WiSTEM’s first cohort have made outstanding progress in developing their businesses and meeting goals set out at the beginning of the program. We’re thrilled to see their success and to begin working with our second cohort.”

The members of the second WiSTEM class are:

  • 30Second Mobile – Elisa All, Founder and CEO
  • AccountingLeap – Maria Sentic, Founder
  • Elu – Christina Marshall, Founder
  • Fizz – Jennifer Shoop, Co-Founder and COO
  • Galvanize Labs – Moira Hardek, Founder and CEO
  • Giftr – Dalal AlRayes, Co-Founder; Tatyana Shestopalova, Co-Founder
  • KaZoom Digital Publishing – Donna Beasley, Founder and Publisher
  • Medici App – Maggie Malone, Founder and CEO
  • Paige & Paxton – Kelley O. Williams, Co-Founder and Director; Rachel O. Williams, Co-Founder and Director
  • Proxfinity – Lisa Carrel, Co-Founder; Christine Hutchison, Co-Founder
  • The Graide Network – Blair Pircon, Co-Founder and CEO; Elizabeth Nell, Co-Founder and CRO; Amanda McCarthy, Co-Founder and Head of Marketing
  • uBack – Kaitlin Hayes Reimann, Co-Founder and CEO
  • worldevermore – Christina Ha, Co-Founder

Further descriptions of each member are below.

“CEC and 1871 are committed to building a technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes innovation by welcoming people from all types of backgrounds,” said Laura Ferris Anderson, CEC Treasurer and Chief of Staff, Office of the Midwest Chairman, JPMorgan Chase. “WiSTEM helps further this mission by creating meaningful opportunities for its members as well as the broader community of women entrepreneurs in and around Chicago.”

WiSTEM is focused around three primary areas – connecting women technology entrepreneurs to capital, technology, and community. The capital pillar includes connecting women tech entrepreneurs with potential investors, supporting women with additional training as they seek investment, and working with investment groups that are seeking to invest directly in women-owned businesses. The technology pillar focuses on providing technical resources to women tech entrepreneurs and fostering opportunities for women entrepreneurs to understand their technical requirements and the best solutions available. Finally, the community pillar revolves around mentorship, workshops, and community facing events for the participants in WiSTEM and the general public.

“WiSTEM has been an outstanding experience, both in terms of the education it provides and in terms of the community it facilitates,” said Elena Valentine, founder of Skill Scout and member of the first WiSTEM cohort. “I’m proud of the accomplishments that I have made in my business and of what my fellow WiSTEM members have achieved, and am excited to welcome a new group of women entrepreneurs to the WiSTEM community.”

Programming for the second cohort will begin on March 17, 2016. The curriculum portion of WiSTEM will last sixteen weeks; there will be a demo day at the conclusion of the program.

“When we created WiSTEM, our mission was to create an impactful and ongoing program that creates real value and opportunities for women,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “WiSTEM has been incredibly successful by focusing on three critical areas for women entrepreneurs. We are thrilled to continue the program and welcome the incredibly talented group of entrepreneurs in the second cohort to WiSTEM and 1871.”

1871 has become the hub in Chicago for the conversation about the role of women in entrepreneurship. In the last several months, 1871 has welcomed a number of guests who have shared their stories with the members of the WiSTEM cohort as well as the broader community, including Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner, Springboard Ventures founder Kay Koplovitz, uBeam founder Meredith Perry, Vosges Haut-Chocolat founder Katrina Markoff, and Digital Citizen Fund co-founder and CEO Roya Mahboob. 1871 has also worked with partner organizations such as Women Tech Founders and the IoT Meetup to host several popular events focused on women in entrepreneurship.

For more information, visit

About the Second WiSTEM Cohort:

30Second Mobile – Elisa All, Founder and CEO

30Second Mobile is a women-focused social/mobile media company that creates engaging, snackable content and vertical communities for busy people in 30 seconds or less. Their first vertical is 30Second Mom. Their video/photo/text content is created by a tribe of 160+ influential experts on various topics who produce tips and hacks that help busy moms save time, money and their sanity. This content is shared across the platforms where moms spend their time — YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. – and allows brands to be included in the conversation.

AccountingLeap – Maria Sentic, Founder

AccountingLeap is an online marketplace connecting businesses to a vetted network of accounting and finance professionals offering high quality, cost-effective, and on-demand services. Whether you need advice on your business strategy, help putting together a financial statement, or short-term accounting help, AccountingLeap has a handpicked network of senior level, independent CFOs, accountants, and financial analysts who can help your business thrive.

Elu – Christina Marshall, Founder

Elu is an online, made-to-measure apparel brand for plus-size women using smart technology to enable fit, style, and customization. 

Fizz – Jennifer Shoop, Co-Founder and COO

Fizz is an HR technology that streamlines the performance review process by facilitating ongoing, on-demand feedback. 

Galvanize Labs – Moira Hardek, Founder and CEO

The creative minds at Galvanize Labs have created the first ISTE-accredited game-based educational platform, Taken Charge. The browser-based game series offers youth students and organizations a fun and engaging environment in which to learn technology fundamentals and critical twenty-first century skills.

Giftr – Dalal AlRayes, Co-Founder; Tatyana Shestopalova, Co-Founder

Giftr is a gift idea sharing community, connecting people who need gift ideas with people who always have the best gift ideas.

KaZoom Digital Publishing – Donna Beasley, Founder and Publisher

KaZoom is a multicultural children's book company whose mission is to bring great diversity to children's literature. They publish interactive ebooks for children ages three to eight that express the African-American and Latino culture, family, and lifestyle experiences.

Medici App – Maggie Malone, Founder and CEO

Medici is a mobile app that provides users with an on-demand museum experience, helping them discover and customize the right museum for them and skip long admission lines through mobile ticketing. Medici also helps museums with marketing programs and growing their visitor audiences. 

Paige & Paxton – Kelley O. Williams, Co-Founder and Director; Rachel O. Williams, Co-Founder and Director

Paige & Paxton is an innovative curriculum that leverages puzzle piece characters to make STEM easy to teach and easy to learn at the very beginning of a child's educational experience. They carry out this mission through storybooks, curriculum, and pop-up events across the U.S. that engage educators, kids, and their parents in STEM.

Proxfinity – Lisa Carrel, Co-Founder; Christine Hutchison, Co-Founder

Proxfinity is a first of its kind technology platform that eliminates networking inefficiencies in the corporate engagement and meeting industry, producing revenue-optimization opportunities. Their wearable technology automatically finds and visually connects people to their most valuable conversations, automates lead generation, and captures and analyzes data sets that improve business operations.

The Graide Network – Blair Pircon, Co-Founder and CEO; Elizabeth Nell, Co-Founder and CRO; Amanda McCarthy, Co-Founder and Head of Marketing

The Graide Network connects middle and high school teachers with virtual, on-demand teaching assistants to grade and provide thorough feedback on student work. 

uBack – Kaitlin Hayes Reimann, Co-Founder and CEO

uBack is a mobile-app that simplifies the way nonprofit organizations share news, update individual and corporate supporters, and collect donations. uBack makes donating in seconds, anytime, anywhere possible.

worldevermore – Christina Ha, Co-Founder

worldevermore eliminates barriers and inefficiencies for immigrants, lawyers, and community centers. It is an online platform for immigrants to complete translated immigration forms with visual guides and connect with lawyers, community centers, and non-profit organizations.

Topics: News

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