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Girls Innovate! Startup Series: Pitch Your Ideas to a VC! (girls ages 12+)

Girls Innovate!

Sunday, March 23, 2014 from 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

Girls Innovate! Startup Series: Pitch Your Ideas to a...

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Event Details

Sunday, March 23, 2014
Cornerstone Research, Menlo Park, CA

(Lunch will be provided to those who arrive early!)

You will meet Aaref Hilaly, an experienced entrepreneur and venture capitalist/partner at Sequoia Capital (also a dad of three!).

What to expect:
At the workshop, you will be briefed on introductory concepts, then paired with a mentor to develop your 2-minute elevator pitch, including (a) what to say (structure, content); (b) how to say it (tone, voice, posture); and (c) how to respond to critique.

You will have the opportunity to practice your pitch in front of the group for feedback. 

You will also get a chance to sign up for our Live Pitch Event with Christy Remey Chin on May 4, where winning pitches will earn small (very small) cash prizes.

Some of our volunteer mentors will include: 

  • Rekha Pai (Small Business Incubation, Juniper Networks - speaker from workshop #1 on Business Planning - watch some cool highlights)
  • Roy Terry (founder & chief pitch doctor, The Primal Pitch)
  • Dhana Pawar (VP, mobile partnerships,
  • F. Roman Cabrawasan (IP attorney, IBM)
  • Vivian Wong (SVP, product development, Ellie Mae)
  • Sashi Ramani (Partner Development Lead, Tapad)
  • Julia Lovin (Technovation mentor, sr. director at Juniper Networks)

Our goal is to maximize the effectiveness of the workshop by giving every team direct mentoring, practice and feedback. As such, the event will be kept very small. Sign up soon!


1. What is a "pitch"? A pitch is a speech that refers to an entrepreneur's attempt to convince a venture capitalist that a business idea is worth investing in. The term "elevator pitch" comes from the notion that the speech should be delivered in the short time period of an elevator ride, usually 20-60 seconds. Here, we'll work on a 2-minute elevator speech. (Excerpted from Investopedia.)

2. Do I need to have a business idea to attend this workshop? It would be very helpful if you do; however, your idea does not need to be completely ironed out. (You will have from March 23 to May 4 to really figure it out for participation in the Live Pitch Event.) If you would like materials from our previous workshops on business planning and startup finance, just send us an email.

3. Can I participate as a team? Yes - create a group when you sign up and invite your teammates.

4. Is this for beginners? Can I really do this? Yes! We have participants as young as 12 years old. These concepts are not known to most girls (nor even adults). You can do it!

5. What else do I need to know? This is our first time doing this series. We'd appreciate your patience and understanding that this is a learning experience for us, too. Also, for us, it is mostly about being together, collaborating and connecting around important skills and ideas, and creating a safe space to try new things. We believe the best experiences come out of that process of figuring challenging stuff out together, where we get a chance to learn from each other.

Other questions? Contact us.


Events are free and open to all girls ages 12+. Capacity is very limited. 


Aaref Hilaly, Partner, Sequoia Capital
Pitch Workshop, March 23, 2014

aaref hilaly

Aaref, a Partner at Sequoia Capital, works with enterprise and mobile companies, and serves on the boards of Duck Duck Moose and MobileIron. Prior to joining Sequoia Capital in 2012, he was the CEO of Clearwell, a leading provider of analytics software for electronic discovery. Aaref grew Clearwell from a handful of engineers into a profitable company with an annual revenue run-rate of over $100 million, leading to its acquisition by Symantec in 2011. Prior to that, Aaref was the Founder and CEO of CenterRun, a pioneer in datacenter automation, which was acquired by Sun Microsystems. He started his career at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in New York, and also worked at Excite@Home. Aaref holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Masters degree in Economics from McGill University, and BA degree from Oxford University.

Christy Remey Chin, Managing Director, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
Live Pitch Event, May 4, 2014

Christy Chin is responsible for identifying and supporting Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Entrepreneurs as well as cultivating and engaging donors in new funds.

Before joining DRK in 2009, Christy was the Deputy Director of The Philanthropy Workshop West at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, an executive leadership program for more than 100 high-net worth individuals committed to increasing the effectiveness and impact of their philanthropic work. Prior to Hewlett, Christy was a Senior Program Officer at the Skoll Foundation where she selected and supported recipients of the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship and led efforts to develop the field of social entrepreneurship. Christy also has for-profit experience in venture capital with Bedrock Capital Partners and Norwest Venture Capital. Earlier in her career, Christy worked as a research associate at the Harvard Business School where she did research in social entrepreneurship with Professor J. Gregory Dees and in entrepreneurship with Professor Jeffry A. Timmons.

Christy currently serves on the boards of DRK portfolio organizations including Avanti, Blue Engine, Education SuperHighway, Green City Force, Jacaranda Health, Students for Education Reform and Urban Teacher Center. Christy also serves on the boards of Benetech, her children’s PTA and is an advisor to Ashoka U and Catalyst Corps. Christy received her Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Colgate University.

Christy grew up in Summit, New Jersey. Christy has a twin sister and a younger brother. Her mom was a teacher and then a homemaker and her father worked as an investment banker and then founded his own venture capital firm. Christy attended public school until 8th grade and then attended an all-girls private school. She was a gymnast in middle school and then a gymnastics coach at the YMCA in high school. Christy followed in her father’s footsteps – attending Colgate and later Harvard Business School and worked in venture capital in Boston and San Francisco.

In 1998, Christy and her husband Eric moved to San Francisco. 9-11 and the crash made her re-assess her career options. After 10-months of exploration, she was offered a position at the Skoll Foundation and her philanthropy career started. Christy worked with Jeff Skoll of eBay to find and support social entrepreneurs. She then went to the Hewlett Foundation where she had the opportunity to travel abroad to see the work of nonprofits in Rwanda, Uganda, India and Guatemala. Since 2009, Christy has been at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. At the Foundation, Christy selects and supports social entrepreneurs who aspire to change the world. She also works with the donors – the generous individuals who support the Foundation. Christy lives in Portola Valley with her husband, Eric and two children. She serves on the PTA of her children’s school. The Chin family is active – on weekends they are sailing, surfing or skiing. Christy also enjoys yoga and cooking.

Christy will assist with judging the pitches at the Live Pitch Event on May 4.



These events are part of Girls Innovate!'s "Intro to Startup" Series, which includes 3 workshops introducing girls to basic business, finance and pitch concepts. This is our final workshop, and is followed by a live pitch event, where girls get a chance to practice their pitches in front of an investor/VC and compete for a small prize.

Events are on Sunday afternoons, 12:30-4pm, in Menlo Park.

I. February 23, 2014
Business Planning Basics.
Guest Speaker: Rekha Pai, Juniper Networks

II. March 9, 2014
Startup Finance Basics.
Guest Speaker: Julie Won, Hanson & Doremus

III. March 23, 2014
Pitch Basics.
Guest Speaker: Aaref Hilaly, Sequoia Capital

May 4, 2014
Guest Speaker: Christy Remey Chin, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation



Business Planning Basics, February 23, 2014
Ishika Narain
Sonia Salunke

Startup Finance Basics, March 9, 2014
Celina Chow
Cathy Zhang

Pitch Basics, March 23, 2014
Sapna Desai
Serena Wang

Pitch Event, May 4, 2014
Jordana Siegel
Erica Wang

More about the Girls Innovate! Teen Committee.

Have questions about Girls Innovate! Startup Series: Pitch Your Ideas to a VC! (girls ages 12+)? Contact Girls Innovate!

When & Where

Cornerstone Research
1000 El Camino Real
Suite 250
Menlo Park , CA 94025

Sunday, March 23, 2014 from 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

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Girls Innovate!

About Girls Innovate!

Our vision is that one day we'll have a more compassionate, wise and effective world, made possible because we've been able to successfully apply innovative approaches towards (a) learning and creating, (b) mentoring for girls, (c) engagement of mothers, (d) community mobilization and (e) societal impact.

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