NYU Female Founders Fellowship Welcomes 8 New Members

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Please join us in welcoming the newest members of the NYU Female Founders Fellowship community!

The NYU Female Founders Fellowship provides community support, training, mentorship, networking, and grant opportunities to entrepreneurs at NYU building scalable, differentiated ventures who are committed to advancing gender equity in entrepreneurship. Fellows get fully plugged into NYU’s ecosystem of resources, and upon graduation from NYU, are invited to apply for student loan alleviation grants of up to $30,000 each. These loan alleviation grants help to reduce financial burdens, which can be significant barriers to starting a startup. The grants are made possible through the generous support of the program’s lead donor: Entrepreneur and NYU alumnus Mark Leslie (WSC ‘66, Trustee), and his wife, Debra.

The Female Founders Fellowship comes with several benefits, including:

  • Invite-only monthly peer group events with other members of the Female Founders Fellowship, from both the new and from past cohorts,
  • Invites to special social and networking events
  • 1:1 mentorship with external mentors, and priority office hours with Entrepreneurial Institute coaches
  • Automatic interviews for the next Summer Launchpad Accelerator or Tech Venture Accelerator
  • Automatic interviews for the Max Stenbeck Venture Equity Program
  • The opportunity to apply for up to $30,000 in grants to help pay down their student loans after graduation from NYU

This Fall, we welcome 8 new NYU Female Founder Fellows, who will join Past Fellows in the Cohort. They are:

Alexandra Debow (Tandon ‘25)

Co-Founder and CEO of swsh

swsh is a social app that helps deepen the connections that matter to you. It socializes your day-to-day moments from sources such as Spotify, the Health app, and calendars to see where you and your friends’ days’ are mutual.

Alexandra Debow is a Gen Z entrepreneur connecting the world. As a Canadian born and raised in Hong Kong, she is passionate about being an entrepreneurial cross-cultural bridge. She previously worked at GGV Capital, a $9.2 billion venture capital fund, on Web3 infrastructure investments. While living in Shanghai, Alexandra was a team leader at Alibaba’s Global Digital Talent Lite Entrepreneurship Program. She created and globalized the Big Talk China card games and events to help people skip small talk and have deeper conversations. She is the founder of Entrepreneurs in Action, a 5,000+ person global community of entrepreneurial spirits connecting through casual dinner conversations. Founded in 2020, Entrepreneurs in Action hosts dozens of events across chapters in New York, Shanghai, Beijing, London, Beijing, and Paris. Alexandra is the co-founder of The Entrepre女ers Network, a women entrepreneurs podcast media network with six shows, 130+ episodes, and a 20,000+ audience. She also co-founded The WHY WAIT? Collective, China’s first Gen Z-led women entrepreneurship conference with 250+ attendees. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she founded Alive Vibe, a virtual events marketplace connecting 30,000+ Gen Zs globally. Alexandra studied Computer Engineering at NYU Tandon and Data Science at NYU Shanghai.

Participated In: Startup CoachingStartup Accelerator ProgramFemale Founders Circle

Caitlin West (Stern '24)

Founder of Alivio Technologies, Inc.

Alivio Technologies, Inc. provides non-invasive solutions designed to individualize pain management in Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) consumers

Caitlin West launched her venture Alivio Technologies Inc, to provide innovative solutions for arthritis relief. Her company is a result of her need of finding an accessible relief aid for her own Psoriatic Arthritis.  Caitlin is pursuing her executive MBA from NYU Stern, expected to graduate in 2024. Caitlin also holds degrees from Villanova University (Master of Accounting) and Philadelphia University (Bachelors). Alongside her successful career and her dedication to making a positive impact in the arthritis community, Caitlin treasures time spent with her loved ones. Caitlin's faith is a guiding force in her life, and she leans in with grace and trust.

Participated In: Startup CoachingStartup Accelerator ProgramFemale Founders Circle

Crystal Díaz (Steinhardt ‘25)

Founder of PRoduce

PRoduce is a digital supermarket that connects consumers with the largest variety of locally sourced ingredients that are conveniently delivered.

Crystal is a foodpreneur obsessed with food, the countryside, and the origin of what we eat. She is the co-founder, CXMO, and Co-CEO of PRoduce. PRoduce is a digital grocery marketplace in Puerto Rico that aims to promote local food consumption by connecting Puerto Rican food producers with consumers and chefs who want to eat foods grown and processed locally. PRoduce offers an app and website where people can choose whatever they want, and as well as the option for users to subscribe for themed deliveries. PRoduce picks and delivers food islandwide. With the support of Fundación Banco Popular and ConPRmetidos, PRoduce led an effort to rescue over 25,000 pounds of food from producers affected by Hurricane Fiona to deliver to communities in need. PRoduce was recently awarded a grant by the Peter Alfond Foundation to build a dashboard showing products that have the ability to be locally produced in order to substitute imports. In 2021, PRoduce was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as one of 12 Leadership and Resilience Projects.

Crystal is also owner of El Pretexto, a Culinary Farm Lodge where 100% locally sourced food is served to guests for breakfast and dinner. She describes El Pretexto as her home and life’s undertaking. El Pretexto is space that combines wooden villas, an agroecological kitchen farming area, orchard, and large wood deck with an outdoor kitchen. It is located in a very peaceful area in the mountains of Cayey an hour away from San Juan with amazing views all the way to the south coast. The project is an adults-only (18+) venue to offer the same relaxed experience to all the guests.

Crystal has nearly 20 years of experience in Marketing and Media and previously worked for GFR Media,Puerto Rico's largest media company. She also worked as Marketing Director of Cincosentidos Culinary Group, and Food Producer Network Program Manager for Puerto Rico and USVI for World Central Kitchen. Crystal has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Advertising, and a master's degree in Cultural Management from the Interdisciplinary Studies from the Department of Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico. Her final project dissertation, "Technology and self-management as engines of the reconnection of producers and consumers of food in Puerto Rico," was awarded as outstanding with recommendation to publish. Crystal received certification in Applied Agroecology from the University of Puerto Rico at Utuado. She has also participated in the Producers and Promoters of Agroecology course of the Josco Bravo Agroecological Projectp, the James Beard Foundation's Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership program, and the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. Currently, she is completing a graduate program in Food Studies at NYU Steinhardt.

Participated In: Startup Coaching

Meesha (Tisch ‘21)

Co-Founder of Crush

Crush is an online text-based space fantasy game that helps 16-20yo boys and young men develop confidence and interpersonal skills that set them up to thrive romantically and socially.

Meesha holds a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch, where she trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. Her acting training not only helped her grow artistically, but it seeped into her personal life by giving her the skills necessary to deal with social anxiety and confidence issues. She aims to use her creative background to share these tools and help other thrive and step into their most confident selves at Crush.

Participated In: Startup CoachingStartup Accelerator Program

Megan Fricke (Tandon ‘22)

Co-Founder of Peeramid

Peeramid’s mobile app guides transformative dialogue through community adapted self-help activities for peers facing intense daily anxiety, fostering a dynamic learning experience to liberate yourself from the intrusive thoughts that send you on a downward spiral.

While earning a master's degree in biomedical engineering from NYU Tandon and a bachelor's degree in clinical neuroscience from Virginia Tech, Megan battled undiagnosed dyslexia, ADHD, anxiety disorder, and OCD by herself due to insufficient mental healthcare. Driven by her personal journey, she launched Peeramid in 2022 to help peers combat isolation and prioritize wellness. Megan, who admires British psychologist Adrian Wells' data-driven interventions, seeks to address the scarcity of resources for those facing intense daily anxiety.

Participated In: Startup CoachingStartup Accelerator ProgramFemale Founders Circle

Louise Naginski (CAS ‘22)

Co-Founder of nagimo

Nagimo is a sports tracker for indoor climbing gyms. We install interactive devices on indoor climbing walls to enable climbers to track, upload, and share their performances with their peers on our dedicated mobile app. We are currently running pilot programs with gyms around New York.

Louise is a sports enthusiast with a knack and love for tracking performance and data to optimize outcomes and health. With her pre-health background, she adopts a scientific approach to customer discovery

Participated In: Startup CoachingStartup Accelerator Program

Sruti Madhusudhan (Tandon ‘23)

Founder of Building Diagnostic Robotics

Building Diagnostic Robotics automates data-driven insights for inspections of roofs, particularly green roofs, through a robotics-as-a-service solution and automatic report generation. We sell to building science principals who seek to reduce labor costs, enhance client value, and improve their ability to demonstrate their expertise.

Sruti is a Mechatronics and Robotics professional with a master's degree from NYU. Previoulsy, she spent four years as a design engineer at an RF engineering company in West Palm Beach, Florida. During her final year at NYU, she co-founded BDR, which is leveraging robotics-as-a-service to automate data-driven insights for efficient and accurate assessments. Its mission is to empower building science principals by providing them with a seamless solution for reducing labor costs, enhancing client value, and showcasing their expertise through automatic report generation. As a co-founder of BDR, Sruti is passionate about driving innovation and sustainability in the industry. BDR's cutting-edge technology and commitment to excellence enables it to make a positive impact, ensuring its clients can make informed decisions while embracing environmentally responsible practices. Sruti is dedicated to making significant contributions to the field of Mechatronics and Robotics through BDR's groundbreaking solutions.

Participated In: Tech Venture Program, Max Stenbeck Venture Equity Program

Nemo (Tisch '21, GSAS '23)

Co-Founder of Crush

Crush is an online text-based space fantasy game that helps 16-20yo boys and young men develop confidence and interpersonal skills that set them up to thrive romantically and socially.

Nemo is a Dutch New York-based writer, journalist, and theater maker. She has a master's degree in journalism, a BFA in Theater from NYU Tisch, and a bachelor's degree in journalism. She is passionate about creating multimedia narratives that encourage greater connection and introspection and that help readers feel more confident and capable of bracing day to day challenges.

Participated In: Startup CoachingStartup Accelerator ProgramFemale Founders Circle

These phenomenal entrepreneurs will join our existing Female Founders Fellowship community to continue to grow their ventures:

  • Adriana Teresa Letorney (GSAS '21), Founder & CEO of Visura
  • Adrienne Crow (Stern '23), Founder of Adelphia
  • Aleksandra Medina (Abu Dhabi '21), Founder & CPO of Frich
  • Ann Andrews (Stern '22), Founder & CEO of Techfunic
  • Ashley Xie (Steinhardt '20), Co-Founder & CEO of Rooted Fare 
  • Ayman Mukerji (Silver '21), Founder & CEO of Jivika
  • Caitlin Ellen (Stern '21), Co-Founder & CEO of Sabai Design
  • Caroline Catherine Fitzgerald (SPS '22), Founder & CEO of GOALS
  • Caroline Vasquez Huber (Stern '23), Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Jones
  • Caylin Waller (Steinhardt '22), Co-Founder & CEO of Theatre Advocacy Project (TAP)
  • Dana Bevilacqua (GSAS '17, GSAS Staff), Founder of ViBiller
  • Dessa Shepherd (Steinhardt '19), Founder & CEO of VisionVoice
  • Drew Lederman (Tisch '20), Founder & CEO of Resist Nutrition
  • Emily Cohen (Steinhardt '23), Chief Development Officer of Resist Nutrition
  • Erica Ramos (Stern '23), Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Trousso
  • Jade Kearney (Steinhardt '20), Co-Founder & CEO of She Matters
  • Laura Rocha (Wagner '20), Co-Founder & CEO of Dathic
  • Lindsay Perper (Stern '23), Founder & CEO of Shop Rodeo
  • Mikaila Roncevich (Gallatin '21), Founder & CEO of Kaila Katherine
  • Nikki Powers (Stern '21), Founder of Nourish & Refine
  • Paige Anderson (Steinhardt), Founder of HealthBoxed
  • Phantila Phataraprasit (Law '20), Co-Founder & COO of Sabai Design
  • Rina Patel (Gallatin '20), Founder of SHE
  • Sutton King (School of Global Public Health '20), Co-Founder of ShockTalk
  • Tinsley Maier (Gallatin '20), Co-Founder & CPO of Edgi Learning
  • Thanisha Pariage (Wagner '20), Founder & CEO of KinNect Careers

Working on a startup and interested in applying to the Spring ‘24 Female Founders Fellowship/Female Founders Circle Cohorts? Attend an info session on 11/14, 12/4, or 12/7 to learn more! Applications are due on Dec. 11 at 6PM. To learn more and apply, visit the Female Founders Fellowship web page here.