Five founders have been selected from over 800 pitch applications from around the world for VWS Pathfinder, a global women founder summit and pitch competition dedicated to plant-based innovation.

VWS Pathfinder, powered by Vegan Women Summit, will take place virtually on Saturday, December 5th and will feature more than thirty founders, CEOs, and investors from around the world, followed by a live pitch competition. The five finalists will compete for a prize package valued at over $50,000 USD and pitch live in front of an investor jury.

The five finalists include:
Aki Kaltenbach, Founder and CEO of Save Da Sea Foods of Whistler, Canada
Astrid Prajogo, Founder and CEO of Haofood of Shanghai, China Courtney Blagrove, Co-founder of Whipped Urban Dessert Lab of New York City, USA Isabella Iglesias-Musachio, Co-founder of Kinoko Labs of Berlin, Germany Renana Krebs, Co-founder and CEO of Algalife of Tel Aviv, Israel

VWS Pathfinder finalist, Courtney Blagrove, remarked, “The frozen dessert market has historically been devoid of diverse representation in the field and our team has experienced that while grit and work ethic is a critical part of the equation for success, having strategic connections to the right people at the right time is crucial as well. Establishing these strategic partnerships is a difficult endeavor, made even more arduous by being a member of a disadvantaged group that historically lacks access to the resources and networks available to others.

VWS Pathfinder by Vegan Women Summit is taking action to change this dynamic and we are extremely proud and excited to take part in a summit that allows us to increase our brand awareness, promotes diversity and representation in the plant-based food innovation field, and also promotes increased access to plant-based foods for all people.”

“Our vision is to build a global plant-based seafood brand and the thing I’m looking forward to the most at VWS Pathfinder by Vegan Women Summit is meeting and sharing stories with other female founders as passionate about the plant-based movement and the collective impact we can have as I am,” commented Aki Kaltenbach, finalist for VWS Pathfinder.

Remarking on the pitch application turnout, Vegan Women Summit founder, Jennifer Stojkovic, shared, “Women founders have been pioneers in the plant-based space since its inception, but the fact that we received over 800 applications from 31 countries proves this is a global movement. We’re thrilled to see that over 60 percent of founders who applied to VWS Pathfinder were women of color and more than one-quarter of applicants were Black founders. This summit is our first step at Vegan Women Summit to finally get these founders the much needed recognition, support, and investment they deserve.”

Other speakers at VWS Pathfinder include Miyoko Schinner, CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, Shama Sukul Lee, CEO of Sunfed, Denise Woodard, CEO of Partake Foods, Matilda Ho, Managing Director of Bits x Bites, Tia Blanco, pro-surfer and founder of Dear Self Skincare, and Daniella Monet, actress and co-founder of Kinder Beauty. Supporting investors include Stray Dog Capital, VegInvest, Veg Capital, Vegan Capital, Purple Orange Ventures, Unovis, KBW Ventures, and Big Idea Ventures and other event sponsors include Postmates, Upfield, Evolution Bureau, Miyoko’s Creamery, Califia Farms, and WeWork.

Full event information and tickets are available here.

About Vegan Women SummitTM

Vegan Women SummitTM (VWS) is a global events and media organization created to empower female-identifying change makers to bring compassion to their careers. VWS hosts events with the goal to foster a community of strong, ambitious rising leaders working to build a kinder, more sustainable world. VWS is supported by leading CEOs, venture capitalists, artists, athletes, & nonprofit leaders from around the world. For more information, visit

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