Nine Magical LGBTQ+other Startups and Where to Find Them

This year’s “Meet the Money” put on by StartOut and sponsored by Lowenstein Sandler LLP showcased nine magical LGBTQ+other startups — 4 led by women. In fact, a nicely diverse set of entrepreneurs pitched; reflecting the prevailing landscape of entrepreneurship in New York and contrasting dramatically with Silicon Valley’s still challenging diversity track record.

The startups spanned a vast range from training services, to a virtual reality camera to an AI assistant to a unique service for LGBTQ parents (amongst others). The entrepreneurs had 90 seconds to present their big idea, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from a distinguished panel of venture capitalists and angels with experience in early stage startups.

and was moderated by Ed Zimmerman, chair of the Tech Group at Lowenstein Sandler LLP.

As a longtime sponsor of StartOut, Lowenstein Sandler LLP welcomes LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to participate in all of its events and programs including VentureCrushNY, VentureCrushSF, VentureCrushAV and FirstGrowthVC.

These events are invite only (so qualified startups and investors may attend), but rest assured the events do draw a diverse crowd. Lowenstein Sandler’s Tech Group Chair, Ed Zimmerman, published this pledge in the Wall Street Journal (2014) gainst Gender Bias in Tech and these events reflect that approach.

Here’s the 2017 lineup of startups:

Three entrepreneurs were selected in the evening’s deliberations — Phil Parrotta, Swoup; Dr. Vansh Langer, BBy with top honors going to Suma Reddy of CircleOptics.

Startup Profiles

Meghan Carreau, Tuckrbox, farm to lunchbox meal delivery.

TuckrBox is the first farm-to-lunchbox meal delivery and iOS app just for kids! We work with local farms to source nutritious and delicious ingredients and transform them into meals kids love. We are on a mission to create a healthier generation through food and technology. TuckrBox is the only app where kids get to choose their own weekly lunch menus and get them delivered straight to their doorstep. We are proud to be launching this summer in NYC.

Exec summary presentation:

Talonya Geary and Ryan Espinosa, spiire, cultivating the next generation of LGBTQ thought leaders.

Spiire is an online learning platform that provides training and education created for LGBTQ achievers. Advance your knowledge and skills by learning from leaders, creators, and go-to experts in the areas of health & wellness, career & business, and social impact & policy. Spiire wants to redefine Queer lifestyle by creating a leading-edge community that’s defined by its well-being and achievements, and measured by how much good it does for others. Join spiire online where creativity and purpose come together to inspire the thoughts, actions and decisions of tomorrow’s LGBT thought leaders.

Rachel Kimelman, LGBTQutie, the Social App that connects the entire LGBTQ Community.

LGBTQutie is The Social app that connects the entire LGBTQ community. The Co-Founders created the app after being frustrated with the lack of LGBTQ community focused apps.

The inclusive app facilitates relationships and friendships rather than hookups and allows users to interact with the latest LGBTQ news, blogs and events. The app has already gained significant traction and is available for free download on both iOS and Android.

LGBTQutie recently partnered with Atari Gaming Company and will bring users a comprehensive experience by merging social components with simulation gaming. LGBTQutie will soon be launching an LGBTQ-themed game to pair with its social app allowing users to have a fun, engaging and interactive experience.

Dr. Vansh Langer, BBy, Baby milk network distribution.

BBy is a physician-founded peer to peer social app that connects nursing mothers with new parents to buy and sell breast milk in a safe, reliable, and accessible manner. At BBy, we believe that no child should be without natural mother’s milk. From mothers who simply weren’t producing enough to LGBTQ couples who couldn’t produce at all; parents were concerned that they were not giving their baby the nutrition needed to help them develop to their full potential. BBy makes that possible.

Suma Reddy, Circle Optics, the world’s first 360°parallax-free camera.

Circle Optics has built the world’s first zero-parallax 360-degree camera, a solution that removes the onerous need for stitching in wide-angle images. Our customers include Virtual Reality Content Creators, Self-Driving Cars and Commercial Drones. Version 1.0 of our camera will be ready in June.

Adam Berlinsky-Schine, Nommery, a social dining network.

Nommery is a social dining network that connects like-minded people for shared meals at great restaurants. Whether members are looking to meet new friends, network or date, Nommery connects them with the right people. Diners have met over meals and gone on to travel the world together, helped each other find their next jobs and even gotten married. Nommery’s founding team has deep expertise in social dining dynamics, building people-matching algorithms, and restaurant operations, the winning trifecta in building the world’s best social dining network.

Wayne Strobel, GEOcruiter, mobile recruiting for Retail/QSR.

GEOcruiter, putting talent on the Map. A mobile web solution for store-line retail and hospitality managers to source Great Employee Opportunities (GEO)! Today store-line managers have little to no on-line access to qualified candidates that match business needs.

With GEOcruiter managers will gain access to a whole new pool of talent, reducing recruitment and on-boarding time by 50% or more.

Philip Parrotta, Swoup, intelligent personal savings assistant.

Swoup is the first intelligent, “round down™”, fun personal savings assistant app that helps users effortlessly leverage coupons to build wealth and support their charitable interests. Swoup is designed with “non-couponers” in mind. We curate, organize, track, and manage coupons for everyday products a Swouper already uses or wants, simplify redemption at checkout, and automatically invest or donate the savings on their behalf. Built with the latest artificial intelligence/machine learning, Swoup quickly and efficiently learns Swoupers’ preferences resulting in a superior and hyper-personalized experience. We do all the work. Swoupers just swipe and shop to save, invest, and donate.

James Felton Keith, Slay TV, the Global Queer Network encompassing an Ad Agency, Production Studio, & TV Streaming app.

SLAY is internet TV for viewers interested in the global queer community and its stories. Boasting +5000 hours of aggregated content across the web, exclusive streaming, and curated content, SLAY. as a platform is available on web and mobile devices through iOS and Android. SLAY is also available in the living room on connected TVs through Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Android TV devices, Chromecast and Apple Airplay.

Sponsored by Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Ed Zimmerman, Chair of Tech Group at Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Ed represents startups and growth companies, as well as the venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) funds that invest in them.

Ed has worked at Lowenstein Sandler since joining the firm as a summer associate in 1991. He co-founded Lowenstein’s Tech Group in 1998. In 2013, Dow Jones ranked Lowenstein among the five most active law firms in America for venture capital and private equity deals.

Ed has been an Adjunct Professor of Venture Capital at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business since 2005. He has personally invested as an angel investor in more than 50 startups and more than 20 venture funds. Ed has published more than 75 columns on tech startups and growth companies (and sometimes wine), mostly on the Accelerators pageof the Wall Street Journal, where he currently serves as a WSJ Expert Panelist.

Ed cares deeply about and advocates on issues concerning the LGBTQ community and women. In February of 2014, Ed co-organized a summit of LGBTQ leaders in the Tech community at the White House, and has done other advocacy work for the LGBTQ community. In the Spring of 2014 at VentureCrushNY, Ed announced a personal pledge against Gender Bias in Tech, which he later published on the Wall Street Journal’s Accelerators page and which was subsequently covered in Fortune Magazine.

As a longtime sponsor of StartOut, Lowenstein Sandler LLP welcomes LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to participate in all of its events and programs including VentureCrushNY, VentureCrushSF, VentureCrushAV and FirstGrowthVC.

These events are invite only (so qualified startups and investors may attend), but rest assured the events do draw a diverse crowd. Lowenstein Sandler’s Tech Group Chair, Ed Zimmerman, published this pledge in the Wall Street Journal (2014) against Gender Bias in Tech and these events reflect that approach.

Rachael Foo, Stripes Group

Rachael is responsible for the day to day sourcing in the consumer and tech sectors, with a particular interest in marketplace, B2C internet and data services businesses. Besides discovering new and interesting companies, she assists the team in conducting industry research and analysis and provides support for Stripes Group’s portfolio companies.

Prior to joining Stripes Group, Rachael worked at Credit Suisse’s investment banking division in Hong Kong with the Equity and Debt Capital Markets Groups to support companies in their equity and debt financing plans. Previously, she also worked at IvyGate, an education startup in Hong Kong, as well as at Volition Capital, where she was responsible for supporting their efforts in sourcing B2B internet and SaaS companies.

Rachael played rugby competitively for all 4 years of college, and loves watching a rowdy match on the pitch every now and then. She also enjoys hiking, cycling, and drinking an unreasonable amount of coffee.

Rachael holds a B.A.: Government, Minor: Computer Science, Harvard University

Brandon Maier, Managing Partner, Quake Capital

Brandon is a graduate of NYU and a well-known member of New York’s entrepreneurship community. He has past experience in finance, marketing and entrepreneurship. His most recent startup endeavor, is a student based job matching service which amassed over 100,000 student users in the US. Past experience includes serving as a Financial Controller for a Bitcoin Exchange as well as a marketing consultant for companies building out on campus brand marketing campaigns.

In addition to launching his own successful startups, Brandon has taken time to participate in various accelerator programs, including NYU’s Summer Launchpad. Through that process, Brandon has immersed himself in the University Entrepreneurship community, regularly speaking on Entrepreneurship as a guest lecturer at NYU, Pace, Princeton, Penn State, HOBY as well as serving as a judge for Princeton’s Tiger Launch national venture competition.

As a member of the Quake team, Brandon handles University Relations, Deal Flow Generation, Quake Social Media, and Sponsorship Outreach. To date, Brandon has been able to connect with over 80 University Entrepreneurship Directors across the country including Columbia, MIT, Babson and other top tier institutions.

Vanessa Pestritto, Partner, Lattice Ventures

Pestritto was the former Executive Director of New York Angels. Reviewing over 5000 companies, she sourced and managed deal flow and the growing investor network. Her previous experiences include technology management consulting in product development as a business lead for a government contract. She then worked for small businesses where she restructured operations, marketing and managed sales. She has a BS in Economics and International Business from NYU Stern. Pestritto writes about tech, angel investing, networking and career. | @tastelifewrite

Lorenzo Thione, Gaingels, Co-Founder, StartOut and CEO, The Social Edge

Lorenzo Thione is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for the intersection of technology, art, design, communication and social value. He is a Tony-Nominated Broadway producer (Catch Me If You Can, American Idiot, Elling) and the co-creator and lead producer of Allegiance (a new Broadway-bound musical starring George Takei and Lea Salonga) for which he spearheaded social-media viral strategies that led to astounding growth and unprecedented awareness and audience engagement for a Broadway show in its development phase, and to the founding of The Social Edge, where he serves as Chief Executive.

He previously co-founded startups Powerset (acquired by Microsoft in 2008) and he is an investor and advisor for startups such as Crowdflower, CrowdMed,, Etacts (now Salesforce), ChoicePass (now Salesforce), Gobble, and Lucid Charts.

Lorenzo is the co-founder and board chair emeritus of StartOut, the leading non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship within the LGBT community. He’s an outspoken LGBT advocate and was named one of the most influential LGBT people in tech in 2014 by Business Insider.

Chris Young, Managing General Partner, Revel Partners

Chris is Managing General Partner at Revel. He is a serial entrepreneur and 16-year veteran of the digital video advertising space. Chris serves on the board of directors of Collective, Zype, Believe Entertainment and is a board observer at Staq. He formerly sat on the board of Vidible, sold to AOL at the end of 2014. Chris also serves as an adviser to Wider Wake, a digital consultancy.

In 2013, Chris sold Digital Broadcasting Group (DBG), of which he was CEO, to Alloy Digital. Founded in 2008, DBG emerged as content production and video content syndication platform and was at the forefront of creating digital-first content.

Prior to starting DBG, Chris co-founded online video advertising and management solutions company Klipmart in 1999 and grew it into the nation’s largest video rich media vendor taking advertiser’s TV commercials and putting them online. In 2006, under Chris’ leadership, Klipmart was sold to now Google-owned DoubleClick. Chris assumed the role of Executive Vice President of Rich Media and Emerging at DoubleClick.

Catalina Daniels, Gaingels

Catalina is a CEO / entrepreneur / advisor with a passion for media and impact investing. She has a solid and diverse business background, with a deep understanding of corporate and entrepreneurial environments. She was a Partner at McKinsey & Company where she worked around the globe and built a strong reputation for long-lasting impact at her clients.

After McKinsey, she invested in and became CEO of a start-up and subsequently CEO of the Special Olympics European Summer Games. More recently and before moving to NY, she launched her own venture which aspires to set society in motion around relevant societal issues. She sits on the advisory board of and is an advisor to several start-ups in Belgium and the US. She is also an advisor to the Robin Hood Foundation in NY.

She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an engineering degree from the Free University of Brussels. Catalina is married with children and currently lives in NY. She loves traveling, skiing, swimming, photography, and long distance running. She ran 5 marathons to date.

About StartOut

StartOut is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering and developing entrepreneurship in the LGBT community. With over 60 annual events and a network of 15,000 strong nationwide, StartOut connects the entrepreneurial ecosystem, educates entrepreneurs on issues surrounding the business lifecycle and inspires the LGBT community by profiling out and successful founders. StartOut currently has chapters in San Francisco, New York, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, with Denver, Seattle, and many more on in development.

Join today to grow your network — accelerate your business — empower yourself and the LGBTQ Community. Visit and follow @StartOut to learn more.

Event produced by Wasim Ahmad and Will Taylor.



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