Second Annual Pitch Competition
for Cleantech & Sustainability Female Founders

Shining a spotlight on women-led startups from around the world, last year’s 5th Annual WCS Talks featured the first ever pitch competition in the United States to focus on female entrepreneurs from the cleantech and sustainability industry. Last year’s winner, Artveoli, won a large prize pool to continue growing their business, including a guaranteed spot to pitch at SV Forum’s 2019 Women in Tech Festival and presenting at a Cleantech Forum San Francisco panel, among other prizes.

Now it is YOUR turn to pitch your innovative cleantech or sustainable-focused business idea to a panel of industry leaders during the 6th Annual WCS Talks conference hosted by Google. Six female-led entrepreneurs will pitch their innovative cleantech or sustainability-focused business idea to a panel of industry leaders.

Startups will have 5 minutes on stage followed by 3 minutes to answer questions from the judges. Winners will be announced towards the end of the conference.

Startup Eligibility

  • Current funding stage from seeking Seed funding to recently closed Series A
  • Founded by, or with a CEO or CTO, who identifies as female
  • Solving a cleantech or sustainability challenge, either through (but not limited to) hardware or software
  • Able to attend the Nov. 2 WCS Talks event in Sunnyvale, CA (Travel costs aren’t covered)

Your business idea must be:

  • Focused on cleantech and/or sustainability
  • Innovative and disruptive
  • An operating company with  a product in the market, or ready for testing or deployment
Important dates:
08.14.19                           Application Deadline
08.21.19                           Startups Announced
11.02.19                           Pitch Competition at WCS Talks 2019


Justina Lai

Director of Impact Investing at Wetherby Asset Management

Justina joined Wetherby as Director of Impact Investing in 2015. In her role, she leads the firm’s impact investment strategy and all impact investment-related activities and supports Wetherby’s client service team in integrating impact investments across client portfolios. Prior to Wetherby, she was a Director and Senior Investment Analyst at Sonen Capital focused on global impact investment strategies in the private markets including private equity, private debt, and real assets investments. Previously, Justina helped manage the Rockefeller Foundation’s Program Related Investments portfolio comprised of domestic and international impact investments in private equity and private debt. She was also a core member of the Impact Investing team where she advanced and shaped the grantmaking initiative strategy focused on building the field of impact investing. In addition, she has held positions with Legacy Venture in Palo Alto, CA and Rwanda Ventures, a business incubator launching and operating sustainable agricultural companies in Kigali, Rwanda. Prior to her career in impact investing, Justina spent several years in investment banking with Citigroup and private equity with Vestar Capital Partners in New York and Paris.

Justina received a B.S. in Finance and International Business, summa cum laude, from New York University and an M.B.A. with certificates in Public and Global Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Justina is a Board Member and Finance Committee Chair of Turning Green, a student-led global movement focused on promoting positive environmental and social actions. She is also a Board and Investment Committee Member of ICA Fund Good Jobs, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) investing in high potential businesses to create economic freedom for those who need it most.


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Why are we adding Pitch Competition to WCS Talks?
As an organization working to further the roles of women in growing the green economy, we see a lack of C-Suite women in the cleantech and sustainability space. As such, we want to support female entrepreneurs at our BIGGEST event: the 6th annual WCS Talks. We are featuring women entrepreneurs and judges to inspire our audience to envision themselves as fellow leaders in the space.
Why pitch at this event? 
Share your vision on the Google stage in-front of local VCs and an audience of 300+ industry professionals. Competition is tight as there are six spots for female-led startups. You will also receive a free ticket to the full event, allowing you to be inspired by speakers and network with participants.
Apply now and show us what you’ve got!
How will WCS support the participants leading up to competition?
We will match the six selected startups with WCS Board members to practice their pitch ahead of the big day. We will be there right beside you as a point of contact leading up to the pitch.
Who will be judging the competition?
We will post judges on this webpage as they are confirmed. Stay tuned!
I have questions, who should I contact?
Email Julia, Kelly and Melanie at