Techstars Foundercon 2020 Techstars Foundercon 2020

Breaking Down Gender Bias in Entrepreneurship


Claudia Reuter
Techstars, General Manager, Americas East

Claudia Reuter is a General Manager for Techstars, where she’s invested in several companies, a former Senior Vice President of Labs and Digital Services for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the former CEO and co-founder of SchoolChapters (acquired by HMH). She currently serves on the Board of Directors at Lessonly and has been featured on, quoted in Forbes and Entrepreneur, and recognized for her trailblazing work by the Boston Business Journal as a “Women to Watch in Technology” and as a “Changemaker” by HUBweek. Claudia recently had an opinion piece published in Fast Company, titled "Forget leaning in or out: These are the questions we should be asking women (and men)." Her book, "Yes, You Can Do This! How Women Start Up, Scale Up, and Build the Life They Want" (Wiley) debuted as a #1 release on Amazon in 2020. She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Innovation Leader and is the creator and host of the podcast “The 43 Percent,” which debuted in March 2019 as a “New and Noteworthy” on Apple podcasts, and has been selected as Editor's choice on platforms including Stitcher and Himalaya.

Sara Bates
MamaMend, Co-founder & CEO - Techstars MetLife 2018

Sara Bates is the CEO and co-founder of MamaMend, the leading platform for postpartum health. Our personalized, evidence-based guide to childbirth recovery explains what’s normal and what’s not after giving birth and provides curated connections to expert practitioners, from IBCLCs to pelvic floor PTs to perinatal mental health specialists.

Sara co-founded MamaMend in 2018 after experiencing first-hand the gap in postpartum care. Prior to that, she worked as a data scientist and engineer. She received her BS in Operations Research & Engineering from Cornell and her MSIS in Information Systems from Northwestern. Sara is an avid community builder and advocate for women entrepreneurs. She is a Boulder Startup Week co-lead, the co-organizer of the Boulder chapter of Women in Machine Learning & Data Science, and sits on the Techstars Colorado chapter board.

Nami Baral
Harvest Platform, Founder & CEO - Techstars Barclays 2019

Nami Baral is the Founder and CEO of Harvest Platform, a fintech startup that utilizes artificial intelligence to eliminate bad consumer debt, from fees to credit card charges to student loans and more. Harvest Platform is headquartered in New York and is backed by investors including Barclays Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Lakehouse Ventures as well as founders of Warby Parker, Acorns and more.

Prior to Harvest Platform, Nami was building cutting-edge Real Time Bidding products and leading revenue partnerships at Twitter. Before Twitter, Nami built her financial sector expertise as an investment banker in New York. As a founder working in the intersection of finance and technology, Nami is excited about creating solutions that are consumer friendly and elevate the financial lives of all consumers.

Nami graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Economics and Mathematics.

Michele Atkinson
Contract Cloud, CEO & Founder - Techstars Chicago 2020

Michele is an entrepreneur, lifelong learner, and advocate for female founders and military spouses. After launching a successful consulting business in the government contracting sector, she used the profits to fund a technology startup that is changing government acquisition in the same way that TurboTax changed tax preparation.

Michele has been perfecting the art of federal proposal writing for over a decade, working closely with technical experts from a variety of backgrounds to capture their unique advantages to prepare winning proposals. Along the way she has gained a comprehensive knowledge of the intricate contracting mechanisms that are used by the government; from traditional contracting methods to the relatively new “non-traditional” methods that are outside of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

Her expertise in government contracting and proposal development has resulted in over $25 billion in awards and dozens of repeat clients since that time alone. Michele is well versed in the SBA's regulations for small business set-aside and SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program and regularly assists new businesses with her diligent research regarding opportunities, grants, incumbents, and federal spending.

Contract Cloud is an innovative solution to the constant struggle faced by small businesses to efficiently capture and evaluate opportunities, manage proposal data among geographically separated teams, and reduce the number of hours and resources that go into business development.

As a military spouse, Michele is committed to giving back through the companies that she creates. She believes that military spouses need remote careers in order to thrive and grow professionally, and that meaningful employment is crucial to a spouse's sense of identity and self-worth.

One set of barriers to increased entrepreneurship is the underrepresentation of women entrepreneurs. With women half as likely to become entrepreneurs compared to their male counterparts, the world economy is missing out on potential innovation and economic growth. Join us to learn about the gender biases that exist in entrepreneurship and the workplace and what can be done to help decrease the obstacles women entrepreneurs are facing.