Hakuna Brands Wins 7th Annual Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition

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More than 300 people attended the event where $55,000 cash and $200,000 in services were awarded

Women Founders Network (“WFN”) today announced Hannah Hong and Mollie Cha of Hakuna Brands, creators of delicious and healthy frozen treats, won the first place $25,000 cash award from the WFN judges at our Seventh Annual Fast Pitch Competition on October 30, 2019, hosted by UCLA Anderson Price School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Covel Commons at UCLA. Second place winner, Akshita Iyer of Inirv, received a $15,000 cash award and a $5,000 cash award from the Junior Judges, and third place winner, Paris Sabo, MD of Dr. Brite, received a $10,000 cash award.

“We believe in the female founder. Our top ten Fast Pitch finalists are all growing scalable, transformative businesses solving real problems and we are so proud to be a part of their journeys,” said Darya Allen-Attar, Founder and CEO of Women Founders Network. “Thanks to our generous sponsors, we were able to increase the total cash prizes awarded by $10,000 compared to last year and all finalists will benefit from in-kind professional services and the connections they have made with our network.”

Allen-Attar added, “Hakuna Brands has created non-dairy, plant-based frozen desserts with no refined sugar that are not only good for you, but also delicious! We were all inspired by what these two best friends have accomplished with no outside funding to date—very impressive.”

About the Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition
We support women entrepreneurs building high-growth early-stage businesses. To apply, the company must have a woman co-founder, president or CEO, or be majority-owned by women. The company can operate in any industry, and must generate revenue or demonstrate proof of concept. Finally, applicants may not have raised more than $1 million in outside funding, excluding research grants. The total 2019 prize package of cash and professional services is valued in excess of $255,000.

About the Women Founders Network Judges
Women Founders Network applicants are judged by an independent panel made up of leading CEOs, CFOs, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, wealth managers, legal professionals and communications strategists.

About the Women Founders Foundation Junior Judges Award
Reflecting a desire to encourage young women to pursue their dreams, the Women Founders Network Pitch Competition features a Junior Judges Panel and Award. A panel of 16 girls in grades 6-12 learn about entrepreneurship through our nonprofit Women Founders Foundation program and participate in guided study of the top 10 companies leading up to the Fast Pitch event. The girls select their favorite Fast Pitch contestant and award the winner with a cash prize of $5,000, generously sponsored by Stacey Feinberg, President of 33 Capital.

Women Founders Network Competition Sponsors
We would like to thank our sponsors for their amazing support! In particular, we’d like to thank our Presenting Sponsor, MUFG UnionBank, our Gold Sponsors, UCLA Anderson Price Center, USC Marshall Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and CBIZ MHM, LLC; Bronze Sponsors: Fenwick & West, Greenberg Glusker, KPMG, and Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP. We’d also like to thank our Fast Pitch Cash Partner Pepper Hamilton LLP. Thanks to our Event Sponsors First Republic, Microsoft for Startups, and Silicon Valley Bank.

In addition, we'd like to thank those who have committed to supporting the Women Founders Network with in-kind services sponsorships. Platinum Sponsors: Evolution, Sandler Training, and Strategica Partners; Gold Sponsors: PJ Tech, and Pepper Hamilton LLP; Silver Sponsors: California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI), DME Law LLP, The Riveter, and CBRE; Bronze Sponsors: Cooley, Countsy, Elevate My Brand, Early Growth Financial, Illuminate, Nolan Heimann, PeopleTree, SBDC Los Angeles, Smart Women Smart Solutions, and Supporting Strategies.

Thanks to our Perks Partners: AWS Activate, Brex, Distillery, HubSpot, JustWorks, RoleBot, The Riveter, Twilio, and TriNet.

About Women Founders Foundation
The mission of Women Founders Foundation is to educate young women and girls about entrepreneurship and the life of a business from ideation to long-term success. We want to provide young women with the confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to build a business from the ground up, across all industries with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Through this work we hope to inspire the next generation of women founders and investors. Visit us at http://womenfoundersfoundation.org/.

Special thanks to our foundation donors: BlackLine, Silicon Valley Bank, Stacey Feinberg of 33 Capital, and Steven and Jennifer Walske.

About Women Founders Network
Women Founders Network (WFN) believes in female founders. We connect women building high-growth businesses with the tools and resources they need to achieve business success. Since 2013, WFN and its members have awarded and invested over $1.3 million in women-founded companies and alumni have gone on to raise over $82 million in funding. Visit us at http://www.womenfoundersnetwork.com.

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Kim Christensen