MILWAUKEE — Three female entrepreneurs took home the top three prizes at this year's annual Demo Day, lead by WERCBench Labs.
In the past five years, 47 startup companies have graduated from the WERCBench 16-week accelerator course. The course is open to companies with innovative products and services to advance technology.
As a part of this 16-week program, businesses take part in demo day, when they pitch their idea to an audience of investors and corporate executives.
The pitches are then judged and the top three idea win prizes. Each prize is a lump sum of startup money. The first place winner gets $10K, second place gets $5K, and the third place winner gets $2.5K.
For the first time in WERCBench Labs history, all three prizes went to women.
“This year is the first time three women engineers were awarded these prizes,” said Jacquin Davidson, M-WERC’s Managing Director. “In the male-dominated Energy, Power and Controls industry, it is exciting to see their success and the success of all of the businesses in the WERCBench Labs Accelerator program.”
The first place prize went to Clarie Friona, the co-founder of Agricycle. According to a press release, Agricycle "Manufactures and sells zero-electricity machines to eliminate food loss by working with more than 11,000 rural farmers across the world; builds brands around products made by its women-led cooperatives that are upcycled from the byproducts of the others."
Second place went to Veronika Stelmakh, founder of Mesodyne. Mesodyne is a technology that "silently and efficiently converts fuel to electricity in a portable form factor increasing runtime ten times over batteries alone to enable long-endurance portable power for remote applications and mobile platforms like drones and remote sensors."
Finally, third place went to Erika Boeing, founder of Accelerate Wind. Boeing worked to develop "an affordable wind turbine for commercial building rooftops that allows a single building to produce an average of 30% additional energy from wind when installed alongside rooftop solar, with a payback time of three to six years."