Local start-ups get shot at funding while pitching in Uber

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Imagine having seven minutes to make the deal of a lifetime. Seven minutes that could make or break your business.

No pressure, right?

Local start-ups made the minutes count as they "Uber pitch" their ideas to investors in hopes of winning big.

“We're definitely in need of capital,” says Kimberly Gandy.

Gandy spent about 25 years in the health field before moving into the start-up world to solve a particular problem.

“We make it easier for patients, caregivers, family members, and clinicians to understand how a patient is doing with their clinical regimen on a daily basis,” Gandy explained.

Today she was one of about 150 start-ups riding in Uber cars in five cities today, pitching her start-up idea in hopes of getting funding.

“I think it's attracting a lot of companies we might not have had access to, number one, and I think it's just made it more fun. It's gotten rid of people's nervousness,” said Galia Gichon, an investor.

Uber teamed up with The Refinery, the Kauffman Foundation, and Connecticut Innovations to fuel the growth of companies with women as owners.

“Whether through either investing, consulting, or helping them raise money, just really bridging the gap, and narrowing the gap to let women investors have more access to capital, and really be able to talk to investors and grow their company,” Gichon explained.

Gichon is one of the investors hearing pitches while riding around in Ubers all day. Each start-up taking part today had to have at least one woman in a leadership position.

“Very few of them have access to meet with investors, know the language that investors want to hear, and really have the opportunity to talk to where capital is being raised,” Gichon said.

Participants had seven minutes to pitch their business and seven minutes to receive feedback from the investor.

“A lot of this is done over beer at night, and it's a little bit more difficult sometimes for us to move into those pathways when it's a predominately male dominated world,” Gandy said.

The winners will split $120,000 in grants and receive continued guidance from refinery business mentors.