We are happy to share SheTech’s list of 10 women-led startups to watch in 2021. The entrepreneurs have been selected by SheTech and their profiles vary by background and by sector they belong to. The order is random and does not determine a ranking.
Valentina Menozzi, 29, Medical, MSc in Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies at the University of Parma, is the co-founder and CTO of Prometheus. She worked as researcher in R&D Departments of the University of Parma, Lausanne and in Chiesi Farmaceutici, focusing on cellular biology and preclinical studies.
Alice Michelangeli, 29, MSc in Medical, Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies at the University of Parma is the co-founder and CSO of Prometheus. She worked as researcher at the Pharmacology Department of the University of Parma, focusing on the study of biomaterials for 3D printing of devices for drug release.
In 2017, together with Riccardo Della Ragione (CEO), they founded Prometheus, a medtech startup developing devices for regenerative medicine. The first product is Ematik: a personalized patch for difficult to heal wounds, such as bedsores or diabetic ulcers. The patch combines a patient’s blood derivative with biomaterials and acts like a second skin: reducing healing times by 50%, without scars.
Currently sold in the veterinary field for the treatment of animal wounds, Ematik is under certification for the use in the treatment of human bedsores and diabetic ulcers
Arianna Pozzi, 17, based in Rome, is a high school student and founder of GAIA, a fashion-tech startup. She joined the acceleration path at Startup University that helped her to carry out her startup project. Loyal, competent and aware that hard work is the only way to achieve one’s goals, Arianna loves to explore new cultures and points of view to improve herself.
In 2020 she founded GAIA, born from her passion for fashion, with the aim to solve a dilemma that afflicts many peers: what to wear to feel at your best. GAIA is a trusted friend and fashion expert who is able to propose personalized outfits based on the user’s tastes and emotions, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, that make it possible to create a highly scalable solution. Users can share their outfits, receive feedback from the community, and purchase virtual goods (virtual clothes).
There are over 18,000 registered users, and they have launched affiliation programs to allow the purchase of products on the platform with YOOX, ASOS and SHEIN. GAIA MY FRIEND is also an app for IOs/Android. A crowdfunding campaign on Back To Work has just ended, raising around €200,000. GAIA marketplace will be released in the coming months, aimed primarily at emerging brands and stylists who support issues related to eco-sustainability.
Bianca Arrighini and Livia Viganò, 23, first met at Bocconi University, are the co-founders of Factanza. Born form Livia and Bianca’s passions for journalism and graphic design, respectively, Factanza offers people of their age – who often bypass traditional media – news from the world, explained in simple terms and with appealing layouts.
After growing as a side project for almost a year and a half, Factanza is today an innovative startup which strives to be an online leader in the “new” media sector.
The startup, which operates on Instagram, Spotify and other social medias, remains committed to delivering “cool” and easily understandable news and information, striving to be a key contributor to the development of better-informed future generations.”
Anna Impedovo, MSc in Management Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, is founder of ISAAC antisismica. She previously worked at the Digital Innovation Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano and has experience in business development and in creating strategic partnerships with public and private entities, which allowed her to develop ISAAC in Italy and consolidate relationships with foreign countries (USA, China, Israel).
In 2018, she founded ISAAC antisismica, an Italian startup based in Milan that aims to be a reference player in the construction market for the provision of smart technologies for seismic protection and monitoring of buildings and infrastructures.
Specializing in the development of smart solutions for seismic protection and structural monitoring, ISAAC has patented I-Pro 1: the first self-adaptive, plug and play and one-size-fits-all technology for seismic protection, applicable to existing buildings.
Annalisa Dalbon MSc in Sociology and has always been passionate about social behavior and marketing applied to the gaming world.
Zulay Barrero is an Industrial Designer who moved to Italy from Colombia first to attend a master’s degree in multimedia education and decided at a later stage to stay and plan for her career there.
Together with Francesco Ferrazzino, they co-founded Proxy42 Inc. in US creating the first AR multiplayer FPS game (Father.IO), successfully launched via a crowdfunding campaign collecting over $500K through more than 7,500 preorders. Proxy42 is aimed to disrupt the mobile gaming industry with new immersive experiences based on augmented reality technology. Annalisa and Zulay hold the roles of COO and CXO respectively.
In 2016 they decide to focus on Italian excellence with the opening of an R&D subsidiary in Italy based on interactive and innovative tech experiences.
The core business of Proxy42 is now expanding towards the world of sports, with the launch of a social and immersive fan engagement platform addressed to 2B of social fans all over the world, particularly targeting mobile-first generations.
Anna Gregorio, graduated in Physics (Trieste), with a Ph.D. in Physics (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa) and a Master in Space Systems Engineering (Delft), is associate professor of Physics at the University of Trieste. In the last 15 years, she has been coordinating the instrument teams of the Euclid and Planck missions of the European Space Agency. She is co-author of 306 papers, included in the list of Top Italian Scientists – Physics.
In 2020 Forbes Italia nominated her among the 100 most successful Italian women, among the 15 most influent women in the innovation field by Digitalic – Digiwomen2020.
In her parallel life, bolder and more reckless, she is the CEO of PICOSATS, spin-off company of the University, based in AREA Science Park. The startup is aimed to use space resources to improve community life in a sustainable way. In this way they want to make Space an affordable, time and cost-efficient environment through an efficient use of small satellites.
PICOSATS is currently working on a miniaturized and performing telecommunication system: RADIOSAT, designed with the support of the European Space Agency. In 2020 they won several awards too: Best Startup pitch at the New Space Economy forum, Seal of Excellence from the European Commission.
Emanuela Barbano, MSc in Economics and Commerce, with a career in the world of international advertising and parenthesis of international volunteering, she discovered herself an entrepreneur with a great passion for social work. Already a member of Duel Film, a production company specializing in social content and independent documentaries, in 2015 she launched Equoevento Torino Onlus, a non-profit organization dedicated to recovering food surpluses from events.
Thus, from the union of these experiences and together with Franco Dipietro, in 2019 she founded Biova project, an innovative circular economy startup operating in the food and beverage sector.
Biova project recovers unsold food and transforms it into new products: the first product currently on the market is a craft beer made with recovered bread. Biova is a craft beer made with unsold bread recovered from large-scale retailers and restaurants.
Biova Project is a startup engaged in combating food waste through the design, development, marketing and distribution of food and beverage products that follow the philosophy of the circular economy. We collect unsold bread for our B2B customers and turn it into premium craft beer that is ready for sale to the final consumer.
Francesca De Gottardo, MSc in Archeology, she has made multidisciplinary her strength, having worked with online communication strategies for both museums and cultural institutions, on one hand, and important international fashion brands, on the other.
In 2019 she left a permanent contract in Milan to start a new sustainable fashion project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with the aim of generating positive change in people’s lives. Thus, she founded Endelea, an ethical fashion startup where she holds the role of CEO.
Endelea is a benefit corporation and an innovative startup that bridges Europe and Africa. Today, it is the only Italian brand with a premium price and brand identity that produces clothing in an African country and has an explicit ethical mission as part of the product’s value proposition.
“Endelea” in Swahili means “to go on without giving up”. Dreamer, optimistic and curious, Francesca has made it her life motto.
Valentina Garonzi, MSc in Economics at the University of Verona, Master in Management at the MIP – Politecnico di Milano, Master in Risk Enterprise Management at the MIP – Politecnico di Milano and Master in Future Foresight at the University of Trento.
She worked as business analyst for the CIV Milano multi-family office and management consultant for SMEs and emerging businesses in the Biotech, Food, and Fashion industries. She was also a startup mentor, project manager at H-Farm and board member in several business associations.
Currently, CEO at Diamante Srl, based in Italy, started as an academic project, nowadays is biotech company that is creating a new take on molecular farming. Their vision and values are to improve global health using plants, creating a new way to get modern medicine economically and scalable with a unified technology platform that allows us to develop high-quality products in a fast, safe, cost-effective, sustainable and scalable way.
Diamante took part and won the Horizon 2020 Grant and over ten additional awards. They have participated in multiple business acceleration programs throughout Europe.
Sabrina Fiorentino, MSc in Pharmacy at 23 years old, and after qualification and experience abroad, returned to Italy and moved to Milan, where worked as Chemical analyst at Guna spa, a leading homeopathy company. In March 2019, she was reward with as “Italian Woman Entrepreneur Of The Year” together with other six Italian entrepreneurs women to offer innovative solutions with a social impact.
In 2017 she founded SESTRE, together with her sister Silvia, a startup focused on the research, development and marketing of Food Supplements with pharmacological active fraction extracted from product of the Mediterranean diet. They are developing a new customized supplements for female fertility and hormonal disease.
The team is made up of other 4 young visionaries: Grazia M. Simone, a biologist with expertise in Clinical Biochemistry, a researcher with experience in the pharmaceutical world; Sonia Elicio, Growth Manager who, with the appropriate online strategies, has led to a growth of +450% in the first three months of 2020 in the digital market; Gloria and Rosalba, graphic designers.
SESTRE started in 2018 with MVP with 46,9 % of engagement. Product launch in 2019. SESTRE reaches Italian Market in 2021 and the international market is expected to reach by 2022. They are also developing a new customized supplements and cosmetics for women.