San Diego-based Uqora Wins top 10 Innovative Product in the US

 In Entrepreneurship, Funding, InnovateHER, Pitch Competition, Startup

Jenna Ryan of Uqora, among 12 entrepreneurs who pitched their innovative women- and family-focused products and services, won the Top 10 SBA InnovateHER Finalists and will pitch in Washington DC!

Women owned businesses are the the engines of our economy not only in San Diego but nationwide. Stella Labs is proud to announce that for the second year in a row, our local San Diego female founder, Jenna Ryan, CEO of Uqora, won in a very competitive business challenge, InnovateHER. Uqora is the only startup represented in our nation’s capital from California!

The annual business plan and pitch competition sponsored by SBA and Sarah Blakely Foundation, InnovateHER, is a nationwide competition highlighting innovative products, services or technology developed by visionary entrepreneurs that have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, and in the marketplace. According to the SBA, only about seven percent of venture capital funding in the United States goes to women.

Only 7% of VC funding in US goes to women.

From the SBA Press Release:

“The 10 national finalists were selected through a rigorous nationwide competition held by host organizations, including universities, accelerators, and SBA Resource Partners that ran local area competitions through June 3, 2017. Next, an executive committee of SBA officials evaluated more than 120 semi-finalist nominations and chose 10 finalists to participate in the National Pitch Competition, whose products and services best meet the competition criteria and present the greatest potential for success.

The InnovateHER Business Challenge finalists are invited to conduct a marketing pitch before a team of expert judges at the National Pitch Competition held on October 26, 2017, in Washington, D.C., as they compete for the top three awards totaling $70,000 in prize money, provided by the Sara Blakely Foundation.”

A rigorous nationwide competition results in startups with the greatest potential for commercialization and success.

Jenna Ryan, and her innovative startup, Uqora, has been supported by in-kind donation of advisory services by Seed San Diego, valued at $1,000, mentoring from Hera Angels, a non profit angel group of female angel investors, and pitch prep by Stella Labs, a business accelerator for high-growth female entrepreneurs. A supportive community of angel investors, startup mentors, and experienced entrepreneurs will provide the support for Jenna to succeed in connections and pitching at the Washington DC InnovateHER finals event.

A strong supportive San Diego ecosystem sends Uqora’s CEO, Jenna Ryan, prepared & equipped to Washington DC.

Uqora’s health supplement was inspired by the numerous women who suffer from repeated UTIs. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, more than 50 percent of women will get a UTI in their lifetime, and many suffer from repeat infections.

Why did Uqora win San diego InnovateHER competition and now has been selected as top 10 in the US?

  1. Strong startup team. The co-founders of Uqora®, Jenna Ryan & Spencer Gordon, had an unmet need, a couple who was affected by repeat UTIs, Jenna had 8 in one year! Since Uqora®’s formulation was invented through a combination approach of FDA approved components, the rigorous background Spencer has as a Molecular Biologist & developer in the supplement market for an ALDH2 nutraceutical company, is a significant asset. Jenna’s background as a marketer & product developer for a digital company, DocuSign, grounds the team in the primary channel they will reach & sell to their customers. Uqora® also has an extremely knowledgeable scientific advisory board with medical experience in urology/natural healing & will challenge founders to scale efficiently.
  2. Deep understanding of the target market needs & industry dynamics. The CEO & CPO invented the formulation of Uqora® out of a personal desperate need for a solution to an annoying & painful problem, recurring UTIs. The product is highly commercializable & ripe for the large & growing health supplement industry.
  3. Operations efficiently solved & executed.  In order to be first to market in the most efficient way, the highly skilled product development co-founder team, formulated a product whose components were already FDA approved, identified an FDA inspected facility that adheres to the FDA’s Current and Good manufacturing Practice (cGMP), and made the buying process extremely streamlined.
  4. Solid business plan. All aspects of the Uqora® business plan are well thought out, evaluated flawlessly, and executed meticulously: market evaluation, competitive analysis (even with competitors like “Cranberry Juice”), target market definition, unique selling proposition, marketing plan, and financial projections. Customer validation was apparent and profound knowledge of market drivers allowed for early adoption of end customers through online sales & securing pilot tests in senior living facilities.
  5. Believable & passionate presenter. Jenna Ryan, CEO and co-founder of Uqora®, is a UTI sufferer, an infection that leaves women powerless, prompting her to find a solution she knew affected 1 in 2 women. Jenna spoke about the pain in the market during her InnovateHER San Diego pitch from a place of deep understanding and empathy. When a good story is coupled with flawlessly presenting, deep market analysis, solid early adopters and robust sales projections; the mission & vision of a female founder aimed to help women find a natural solution to a painful & predominant problem, UTIs, was genuine, believable, yet highly professional.
  6. High impact for women of all ages. Women play an important role in the workforce now more than ever, making up half (57% in 2013) of our nation’s labor force1. They also continue to play a vital nurturing role as mothers, daughters and wives in the US home. Our nation’s economic & cultural prosperity lies in the delicate hands of women who are juggling it all: from millennials searching for alternative natural solutions to common ailments to the “sandwich generation” woman seeing her frail mother coping with recurring illnesses while finding respite for her own ailments to geriatric patients seeking to prevent common illnesses from getting worse. Healthy lifestyles & prevention of chronic illnesses is now mainstream, a part of women’s every day lives. Uqora® is uniquely building a solution to alleviate and solve busy women’s needs to live healthier lives through prevention.

“Uqora® not only had a clear, concise pitch, but the product addressed a real pain that affects millions of women on a regular basis. As women’s health becomes more and more of a priority in our nation, products and tools that empower women to take charge of their own health will become increasingly important and valuable.” – Allison Long Pettine, VC & founder of SEED San Diego

Women’s health is a priority in our nation.

Stella Labs is beyond proud of this amazing female founder who went after a solution to a very prevalent problem for most women. We congratulate Jenna for bringing the product to market and are supporting her along her startup journey.

Highly believable, passionate, and empathetic female founder.

Check out these other stories about Uqora’s win at InnovateHER in San Diego:

  • June 16, 2017 | SD Metro Daily Business Report and newsletter – San Diego-Based Uqora® Wins Pitch Contest and Chance to Compete in SBA Finals – http://bit.ly/2sxCj8i
  • June 2, 2017 | Our City San Diego – San Diego women-led startups compete – http://bit.ly/2safTKv

The other Top 10 startups in the US who are competing at the final InnovateHER competition in Washington DC on October 26, 2017, are:

Finalists: (SBA Press Release information)

  1. Afreen Allam with SiNON Therapeutics, Raleigh, N.C. – SiNON Therapeutics is dedicated to improving the lives of women and families who suffer from neurological diseases by refining drug-localization of medicine to the brain.
  2. Alexa Jones with TheraB Medical, East Lansing, Mich. – TheraB Medical is a startup working to launch its first product, SnugLit a wearable, portable solution to infant jaundice that promotes maternal-infant bonding and breastfeeding while covering nearly twice the surface area of traditional methods.
  3. Crystal Harris with Brauxiliary, LLC, Charlotte, N.C. – The Brauxiliary Hands-Free Pumping Band is a bra attachment that turns any bra into a hands free pumping bra.
  4. Marna Pacheco and Susan Hickok with CapeAble Sensory Products, Fort Wayne, Ind. – CapeAble Sensory Products, LLC manufactures and sells weighted blankets, weighted wearables, and sensory enrichment tools.
  5. Bianca Cerqueira and Lauren Cornell with Novo Thelium, San Antonio, Texas – NovoThelium enables women to regenerate a nipple made from their own cells after a mastectomy.
  6. Zayira Jordan with GuardDV, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico – GuardDV seeks to help enforce court-issued restraining orders in favor of domestic violence survivors. The system integrates RFID and GPS technologies to track the aggressor and warn the potential victim and the corresponding law enforcement organizations about the physical proximity of the aggressor.
  7. Jenna Ryan with Uqora, LLC, San Diego, Calif. – Uqora™ gives women the defense they need against bacteria that causes urinary tract infections (UTIs), keeping them out of the doctor’s office and off antibiotics.
  8. Jamelah Tucker with EasyPeasie, LLC, Jacksonville, Fla. – Easy Peasie, LLC is committed to providing families simple, natural, convenient, and fun ways to improve every meal with added vegetable nutrition.
  9. Jessica Dehn with Dino Drop In, Bozeman, Mont. – Dino Drop-In is childcare built to fit the lifestyle of busy families and ever-changing work schedules.
  10. Jamie Clark with The Willie Wags, Bangor, Maine – The Willie Wags is a quirky and fun subscription service that supports female entrepreneurs and women-owned small businesses.
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