Women in Cloud’s Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is back! The Women in Cloud team is immensely happy to announce Cohort 4.0 after three successful cohorts which have expanded knowledge, access and inclusivity of entrepreneurs, while adding dollars to the economic system in the technology sector. 

Since inception, Women in Cloud’s mission has been to create Access for Acceleration to promote Action. Women In Cloud’s Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is designed as an immersive 6-month program to assist women-led tech companies to co-build, co-market and co-sell with Microsoft and their distribution channels. This program is expertly designed to help women entrepreneurs win enterprise opportunities, get access to Azure credits, an advisor community, and a global stage to showcase your business.

The 4.0 Cohort Immersive Kickoff session held on on Friday, August 28, 2020. The first session featured curated speakers, Chaitra Vedullapalli, Co-Founder and President of WiC; Karen Fassio, Marketing Director of Microsoft OCP and Co-Founder of WiC; Rahul Thakkar, Director – Advanced Services Development, Digital Enterprise, IT & Digital of Boeing; Allie Knull, Founder & CEO of Resume Free Inc.; and Patti Dobrowolski, CEO & Creative Activator of Up Your Creative Genius. The speakers consisted of founders, industry leaders and previous cohort entrepreneurs who set the tone for the new class about the current industry landscape, how to vision their cloud businesses, along with deliverables and takeaways by the end of 6 months. 

The cohort 4.0 is different from the previous editions for a number of reasons. The 4.0 cohort in the time of global pandemic requires us to depart from in-person programming for the immersive kickoff session. This cohort program, as usual, empowers entrepreneurs to more effectively connect as a community and access necessary resources to ultimately grow their business. COVID-19 has had a direct impact on our accelerator program and the way we conduct the program itself, but the pandemic has not stopped us. We have creatively found our way around it using effective digital tools to achieve more efficiency. The connection that we have found by conducting the Accelerator in a completely digital platform has built a family of women tech entrepreneurs to work together to achieve success in the enterprise space. Our weekly office hours, monthly live chats with industry leaders, and continued access to industry stages, has elevated our programming to an unmatched scale.

Our previously conducted in-person kick-off session will be conducted digitally. Going digital has let us expand our horizon and open this program to people from around the world rather than just a region. Cohort 4.0 boasts a diverse participation of companies from the United States, Canada, and Germany. The Digital Cloud Accelerator online course launch is on the agenda next. There is a positive shift in the attitude of entrepreneurs to continue learning, working towards growing their companies and bettering themselves in this time of uncertainty. 

This year’s WiC Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is more than just an effort to make economic contributions to the system by empowering entrepreneurs. It is about embracing the new normal and moving forward with a sense of community. It is about adopting self-empowerment and finding comfort in knowing where to turn for support with a community at your side. Most importantly, it is about collective growth and learning.

The cohort 4.0 will continue with various digital lessons, live speaker interviews, weekly digital office hours, and monthly team working sessions with everybody involved. The syllabus is shaped in a way to make it easier for entrepreneurs to seek answers and find success individually. Until we are safe to meet our leaders and entrepreneurs in person to celebrate the progress we will have made, we are all committed to taking part in this journey together. 

The flexibility and commitment to launch the program by our entrepreneurs during this turbulent time is greatly appreciated. We will become the force for change by building solutions not crippled by this chaos. We continue to look forward to this journey with this great group.

Presenting the Women in Cloud Microsoft Cloud Accelerator Cohort 4.0:

  • Priyansha Bagaria, Inviz AI
  • Tiasia OBrien, Seam Social Labs
  • Susan Sanders, Velaku
  • Emily Craven, Story City
  • Isabelle Lopez, MySmartJourney
  • Emmanuelle Tavernier, Oxia initiative inc.
  • Janice Omadeke, The Mentor Method
  • Joycelyn David, AV Communications
  • Kiyeon Nam, Smart B’zT LLC
  • Maret Thatcher, Argyle Inc.
  • Lisa Brown, PUG Interactive
  • Carmen Nazario, ELYON International
  • Linda Holliday, Citia
  • Katina Kenyon, Applaudo Studios
  • Humaira Ahmed, Locelle Digital Inc.
  • Heidi Watson, Canadian Electronic Health Information System Inc
  • Nataliya Tetruyeva, eKidz.eu
  • Garnette Weber, itracks
  • Yuan Karppanen, UNpkl

This year, Global Affairs Canada underwrote 50% of the accelerator fees for 8 Canadian companies that were approved to participate. Their generous support has allowed 8 of our 4.0 entrepreneurs to have the opportunity to scale their businesses to become co-sell and co-market ready with enterprise partners.

Economic Access is the tide that lifts all boats. Together we rise.

The Women in Cloud leadership is very excited to share that our Co-founder, Karen Fassio is one of the top finalist for the 2020 Champion Awards hosted by Female Founders Alliance.

Female Founders Alliance is a startup community and through their private network, investor community, and corporate partners they provide white glove experience through their programs. The Champion Awards recognize people and organizations that champion equity and diverse leadership across workplaces. There are seven categories for this award. 

Karen Fassio, Director of Partner Marketing & Channel Inclusion at Microsoft and Co-founder Women in Cloud, has been selected as a finalist in the Sponsor Category. A sponsor leverages their network and resources to help the women that they mentor advance and succeed in their career. 

Time and time again, she has always believed in helping women entrepreneurs and leaders and we would like to thank her for her continued dedication to help other women leaders and entrepreneurs realize their dream.

We would like to congratulate her and wish her all the best. 

Can everyone please take 5 minutes to do 2 things?

1.  Vote.  Please click here to vote and help Karen win!   

2. Share, and ask your friends (who have no clue why you are always going on about WIC and all this stuff) to vote:  https://www.linkedin.com/posts/female-founders-alliance_we-are-proud-to-announce-our-finalists-for-activity-6692546785854009344-kOiG

What our community is saying:

Karen has been an incredible leader in this organization, and a patient sponsor and advisor of Automaton since the day we met at the first WIC cohort.   — MH Lines, Founder of Automaton

Karen Fassio is such a wonderful supporter of SO many female-founded businesses, including Lions + Tigers this is a much-deserved nomination!! — Brea Stemer,  Founder of L&T

The era of virtual events is here. We are living a life in the outside world without stepping out of our pajamas or homes thanks to the internet and technology. 

Since March 2020, the world is witnessing an indefinite standstill and the internet has become our haven. According to Forbes, Virtual events are up 1,000% since Coronavirus, says a virtual events platform. 6Connex platform has seen more than 52,000 events and subevents since COVID-19. While virtual life and events are convenient, there are still some digital etiquettes one must follow.

The Women in Cloud #CloudExecConnect is right around the corner and will be the biggest virtual event we have hosted so far. #CloudExecConnect solves a specific need within the community to stimulate cross-pollination and bi-directional conversation that can make a meaningful difference in whether or not these businesses are able to succeed. The two-day event is a curated virtual experience which will let you connect with industry leaders from Microsoft and tech giants. The #CloudExecConnect consists of two different events #CloudEnterpriseConnect and #FemaleCloudFoundersBrunch.

We wanted to share a few tips and tricks with our attendees to make their experience seamless and memorable.  

  1. Stable Internet Connection – This is our number one advice, ensure you have a stable internet connection to enjoy the event without missing any bit of the event. This also helps to keep the event flow without any disruption. Another addition to this point would be ensure your hardware is ready to roll. Laptop, chargers, webcam, speakers, earphones are all within reach to help you fully commit to the event.
  2. The Right Spot – We think it would also help to find a nice corner with no noise or disturbance at your home to enjoy any event like you would if you were attending it in person. It would also help if you would mute yourself unless required to help reduce the background noise for everybody attending. 
  3. Know the Platform – There are hundreds of virtual event platforms, each different from the other. When attending an event it is advisable to understand how a certain platform functions, and what are its features to ensure you get the best virtual experience.

On July 20 – 21, #CloudExecConnect will take place on Remo, an immersive virtual space that empowers people to communicate, connect, and collaborate with each other just like they would in real life. We want to help you understand Remo’s features and interface so you enjoy #CloudExecConnect with no hassle. 

Some of the interesting features Remo offers are, 

  1. A roundtable experience which allows 6 people at a table to interact with one another. 
  2. The floor bifurcation which allows you to experience different hubs at the same time like you would in-person
  3. A biocard option that lets you access people’s LinkedIn and other social media profiles for instant connection
  4. It allows you to have a table chat, personal chat or general chat. It also lets you ask questions anonymously, without fear of judgement. 
  5. There is a whiteboard facility for every table which allows the participants of that table to  draw, write, upload content, add mind maps and diagrams, etc. 

Remo is also extremely easy to use and navigate, and if you would like to familiarize yourself with the platform here is a quick video

The Women in Cloud team is excited to bring the #CloudExecConnect to your doorstep this July and we are hopeful that this 2-day virtual event will be an experience like none other and we look forward to your presence. 

For more information on #CloudExecConnect, click here

ApertureData has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on scaling ApertureData’s visual data management platform for enterprise scale applications. 

The proposed research will take ApertureData closer to realizing the vision of a unified data backend for all stages of machine learning (ML) from edge to cloud, removing inefficiencies introduced by repurposing systems designed for other workloads. Capturing business value from data via ML comprises multiple steps (data collection, curation, training, etc) and is currently being addressed by multiple siloed solutions that, when integrated, result in an inefficient system. Given that each of the different steps interacts with data in one way or another, offering a unified and efficient way to interact with the data regardless of the stage reduces the complexity of ML pipelines as they scale.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

Improvements in ML have made it possible for businesses to extract rich insights from visual data (images, videos). Handling big-visual-data for ML requires storage and access methods that are designed with visual ML in mind. With the current off-the-shelf alternatives, ML engineers and data scientists are forced to glue data solutions not designed for visual data management. With our focus on the data side of ML deployments, ApertureData is well positioned to be the technical leader in addressing the next generation of challenges for ML based applications. This NSF grant will enable us to address the scalability challenges that are particularly magnified when dealing with image, videos, and its corresponding metadata like annotations and embeddings”, said Vishakha Gupta-Cledat, CEO and Co-founder of ApertureData, who will serve as the Principal Investigator for this grant.

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $256,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $1,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

Startups or entrepreneurs who submit a three-page Project Pitch will know within three weeks if they meet the program’s objectives to support innovative technologies that show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply.All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/

About the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.75 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

About the Author – Vishakha Gupta

Vishakha is Co-founder and CEO of ApertureData. Prior to that, she worked at Intel Labs for over 7 years where she led the design and development of VDMS (the Visual Data Management System) which forms the core of the ApertureData Platform. Vishakha holds a Ph.D in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a M.S. in Information Networking from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests encompass systems in general with particular inclination towards virtualization, embedded and real time systems as well as distributed systems. She has worked on graph based storage and applications on non volatile memory systems. She loves to work on systems which impose stringent requirements in terms of software design and coding and call for innovative solutions. She has served on the program and steering committees of several premier systems conferences.

Women in Cloud’s #CloudExecConnect is here to brighten your summer! #CloudExecConnect solves a specific need within the community to stimulate cross-pollination and bi-directional conversation that can make a meaningful difference in whether or not these businesses are able to succeed.

The two-day event is a curated virtual experience which will let you connect with industry leaders from Microsoft and tech giants. The #CloudExecConnect consists of two different events #CloudEnterpriseConnect and #FemaleCloudFoundersBrunch.

#CloudEnterpriseConnect will take place on 20 July, 2020. It is a four-hour event with meetings with tech buyers and providers together with a high likelihood to book real business with each other through pre-arranged face-to-face meetings via a digital platform. 

Our speakers for this event are: 

#CloudEnterpriseConnect is a perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet and connect with procurement officers, executives, collaborators and industry leaders. Since this is a highly curated event, it is an invite-only experience, so please apply here and await your invitations.

The second event, #FemaleCloudFoundersBrunch is a mid-day event on 21 July, 2020. This virtual brunch is created to help create access for female tech entrepreneurs. The two-hour session will host a power panel on the topic, “Accessing Customers with Digital Marketing Excellence.” This brunch is hosting speakers like: 

At #CloudExecConnect is a great opportunity to connect, engage and grow your knowledge and scale your business with the right people supporting you along the way. We are so excited to bring this opportunity to our community through #CloudExecConnect. We are also thankful to our sponsors Microsoft, M12 – Microsoft’s Venture Fund, Meylah, AppFusions, Qumulo, Founders Live, Alley, Ideagen, EQUALS, New Tech, The Meeting Pool, CSS, Black Girl Venture, Microsoft Alumni Network, WIT Network, Unreasonable, UN Women, and Dell’s Women Entrepreneur Network for their constant support to our efforts. Click here to learn how you can partner with us on #CloudExecConnect!


For more information on #CloudExecConnect, visit www.womenincloud.com/cloudexecconnect