Microsoft, Mayfield, and Pivotal Ventures partner up for a $6 million competition for women-led enterprise startups

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What you need to know

  • Microsoft's M12, Mayfield, and Pivotal Ventures announced the second Female Founders Competition.
  • The competition helps women-led startups receive capital.
  • Four winning businesses will win a combined $6 million.

The second Female Founders Competition was announced today by Microsoft's M12, Mayfield, and Pivotal Ventures. The competition helps women-led businesses that develop enterprise tech solutions. The four companies that win the competition receive a combined $6 million.

Microsoft's executive vice president, Business Development, states in Microsoft news post "The tech industry can't afford to keep leaving women's good ideas on the table. We need to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, and together with Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures, we aim to do just that with our second Female Founders Competition."

The news post sites a study by PitchBook that states that companies founded solely by women received only 2.3 percent of invested capital in venture-backed startups.

Navin Chaddha, managing director of Mayfield, states in the news post, "In addition to providing funding, we plan to share our playbook with competition winners on how to accelerate their journey from idea to iconic company."

Melinda Gates, the founder of Pivotal Ventures, adds, "Enterprise technology is shaping our world in countless ways, but it will never reach its full potential unless women and their ideas are equally represented within the field."

The competition is open to companies in Europe, India, Israel, Canada (excluding Quebec), and the United States. To be eligible, companies need to have at least one female founder. On March 18 and 19, there will be a live finals pitch competition, with winners being announced shortly after the competition.

Two winning enterprise software startups will earn an investment of $2 million each, and two "deeptech startups innovating through substantial scientific and research advances" will earn an investment of $1 million each. Full details can be found on the competition's website.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at