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Our Mission

To fuel the growth and close the funding gap of women-led companies.

From 2011–2013, women-led companies received only 2.7% of venture capital funding. The Refinery was founded in 2014 to help close this funding gap. Through two  programs — Fueling the Growth pitch competition and the Winter Boost — top women-led tech companies are uncovered, accelerated, and scaled by an engaged community of peers, advisors, and investors.

In three years, The Refinery has achieved rapid and exciting results: 39 companies mentored by 90+ subject expert mentors, have raised $20 million+ in funds. More than 150 women-led tech companies have been uncovered through our pitch competitions. The Refinery has awarded $200,000+ in non-dilutive grants.

 

"Out of all the pitch events we have participated in, we made more direct investor connections through the Fueling the Growth competition than any other event. Janis and the whole Refinery team really understand the value of connecting startups to relevant investors / mentors and they were extremely helpful at making proactive introductions tailored to our needs.  Overall, it was very well-run and lots of fun - I am so glad we participated and would do it again if we could!"  Jacqueline Loeb, CEO, Scouted.io

"Out of all the pitch events we have participated in, we made more direct investor connections through the Fueling the Growth competition than any other event. Janis and the whole Refinery team really understand the value of connecting startups to relevant investors / mentors and they were extremely helpful at making proactive introductions tailored to our needs.  Overall, it was very well-run and lots of fun - I am so glad we participated and would do it again if we could!"

 Jacqueline Loeb, CEO, Scouted.io

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"Fueling for Growth Pitch Competition was a great way for women entrepreneurs to gain invaluable exposure to some of the top investors in the area. With the investor's undivided attention, you are able to have a candid conversation about your company and receive constructive feedback." Ashley Kalinauskas, Torigen

Our difference

  • highly individualized program 
  • value added mentors with industry specific and relevant experience matched to each participant's needs.
  • engagement with early stage investors and highly experienced entrepreneurs.
  • starting point for a longer term relationship; our mentorship does not end at the end of the formal twelve week period.
  • we put the entrepreneur first!
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"Through participating in Fueling the Growth with UberPITCH I feel empowered to grow Corrie Health into a successful and sustainable company that addresses the real medical economics issues of readmission and revolutionizes heart attack recovery to be safer, faster, and more effective." Francoise Marvel, Corrie Health

 

Why do we get results?

  • our drive, and the work we expect from each cohort.

  • teams are pushed to understand their customer, refine their business model, build their team, develop their financial outlook and clearly articulate their businesses value to customers, partners and investors.

  • at the end of the Refinery program, companies really know their business — and have a rock-solid foundation that will allow them to scale and grow.

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"UberPitch was an incredible experience for my company.  We pitched to investors, received tremendous press, and met incredible female CEOs from all over the country.  We learned so much from the experience and highly recommend this event!"

Ellen Matloff, MyGeneCounsel

 

 

 

Our programs

  • Winter Boost Program
    • three months
    • interactive content/webinar sessions
    • in-person group discussions
    • structured mentor meetings 
    • end results include growth and funding strategy, milestones, and roadmap
  • Fueling the Growth Pitch Competition
    • Awards, Prizes
    • One-on-One meetings with investors
    • Uncover top women-led tech companies
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The Founders


The Founders


Janis Collins

Co-founder

Janis has been helping companies innovate, create and quickly launch new businesses for more than 25 years. First, through her own company, which focused on helping high tech startups and then later advising and funding new financial service companies.  Janis has helped found and launch several companies including two non-profit organizations.

As a Consulting Partner at KPMG, Janis worked with top financial service firms, leveraging innovation techniques to recreate businesses and new electronic markets.  As Managing Director at JPMorgan's LabMorgan, she ran the financial services business incubator where they advised and funded new Financial Services Technology ventures.  

Dedicated to community service, always an innovator, and creator of pragmatic solutions, Janis served on Westport’s Board of Finance, and as Chairman of Westport’s Parks and Rec, where she created an innovative public/private solution to continue the investment in the Town’s parks and recreation facilities.

TEDx -Janis Collins

Don't go it Alone (Connections are Important)

Jennifer Gabler

co-founder

Jen has over twenty five years of experience as CFO for venture backed and startup companies in multiple industries.  She has the unique ability to manage detail while engaged in strategy alongside CEOs, boards, financing and strategic partners. Recent clients include venture backed high tech and biotech companies, media and e-commerce companies and consumer product companies.

Jen began her career as an investment banking analyst at Merrill Lynch.  After Columbia Business School, she focused on developing her operational finance expertise as a senior manager and CPA in the entrepreneurial services and administrative leadership at Coopers & Lybrand.  She was the CFO for Extraprise (now Quickpivot) for its first seven years where she built and oversaw finance, HR and IT.  She has deep expertise in financial modeling, fund raising, mergers and acquisitions, HR and back office operations, and a strong track record raising venture capital and early stage financing. 

Jen has an AB from Dartmouth College and has been a lecturer and researcher at both Tuck and Harvard Business Schools.

Read Jen's views on Improving Your Chances for Funding