Wasted food, diagnosing Parkinson’s disease, and preventing sexual assault on college campuses.
These are some of the challenges a group of teen girls took on and tried to solve last week for the chance to win a $10,000 grant and attend the TechCrunch Disrupt tech conference. The girls, ages 15 to 17, competed in the #BuiltByGirls Challenge, organized by Built By Girls Ventures, an AOL venture capital fund. The teams flew to San Francisco and took turns presenting their projects and startups to their equally impressive panel of young judges: Five teen girls who spent a month this summer getting a crash course in venture capital from Built By Girls and a handful of additional mentors.
It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the tech industry, across all categories—employees, startup entrepreneurs, and investors. According to data Fortune compiled earlier this year, less than 6% of decision-makers at top U.S. venture capital firms are women. Last year, Pitchbook found that startups with at least one female founder accounted for less than 10% of those that have raised investments since 2005. And yet, female founders outperform their male peers, one VC firm found last year.
“I really believe that you can only be what you can see,” Built By Girls Ventures partner Nisha Dua told me when I asked why her fund created its summer internship for young women.
And she’s right. Hopefully these young women will continue to work on the projects they presented on Friday. But even if they don’t, and move on to new ones, at the very least they’ve already learned that they can be entrepreneurs and use science, technology, and their problem solving skills to build real solutions, products, and even companies.
And with the caliber of problems these young women chose to tackle, the world will truly be a better place if they continue on that path.
This is the Startup Sunday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter, edited by reporter Kia Kokalitcheva. You may reach me via Twitter, email, or an entirely new platform that your startup developed. Feedback welcome.
Everyone’s Talking About
Chariot. The two-year-old San Francisco startup that provides commuter shuttles, was snapped up for an undisclosed amount by Ford. Chariot will help with the automaker’s foray into transportation services, and plans to expand its service to at least five more markets in the next 18 months. (Fortune)
Airbnb takes a step in fighting discrimination. The home-sharing service unveiled new steps it will take to help minimize the discrimination some users encounter. (Reuters)
Google Maps adds more ride-hailing options. The popular mapping service, which already integrated Uber into its app, adds Lyft and Gett to the transportation options it suggests U.S. users. (Fortune)
OfferUp joins the unicorn herd. The Craigslist competitor raised $119m in new funding, says its valuation is now above $1 billion. (Fortune)
Snapchat is talking to a lot of bankers. The ephemeral messaging app has reportedly taken out a new line of credit from Morgan Stanley and others, and is also chatting with banks about its future IPO—but not too seriously, yet. (Recode) (The Information)
The Week in Startups
How Sephora Is Helping Budding Female Entrepreneurs (Fortune)
Shell Is Getting New Point of Sale Registers At Its Gas Stations (Fortune)
PillPack Is Raising More Money to Take On Pharmacies (Fortune)
Meals in the Mail: How Blue Apron Got Started and Where It’s Heading (Fortune)
A Cleaning Start-Up Wielding Mops, Buckets and 700 Data Points (New York Times)
Rover Is Closing a $40 Million Round That Values the Pet-Sitting Startup at Nearly $300 Million (TechCrunch)
Actev Motors, Co-Founded by Tony Fadell, Prepares to Start Shipping Its Smart Go-Karts (TechCrunch)
NFX Guild Just Introduced 13 Buzzy Young Companies to Investors (TechCrunch)
Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Has Been in Talks to Sell to a Big Consumer Product Giant (Recode)
Retail POS Service Green Bits Wants to Revolutionize the Budding Marijuana Industry (TechCrunch)
Words of Wisdom
“I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional. But I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk.”—Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic Party presidential nominee, on her perceived “coldness” as a woman. (Facebook)