Wearable tech startup Diario took home first place in a new pitch competition called Pinnacle Pitch, hosted by women-focused professional development group Athena San Diego.
Diario, founded by CEO Sabrina Qutb, is developing a wearable device for children facing emotional and behavioral challenges. The tech-loaded wristband prompts children to log, rate, and label emotions such as sadness, anxiety, happiness, or anger. The practice of acknowledging these emotions is calming, according to Diario, and helps children build a habit of self-awareness. Data collected by the device can also give parents or therapists insights into a child's day.
Qutb presented a pitch on Diario alongside four other competing startups: GemiNice, Greyble, NeithE, and VisiCELL Medical. All fives startups are part of mystartupxx, one of the few local accelerators for women entrepreneurs.
mystartupxx (that's 'XX' as in the female chromosome pair) is exclusively for women founders in STEM fields: science, technology, engingeering, and math. The accelerator was founded by the University of California, San Diego's Rady School of Management, and it offers women founders education, funding, and mentorship.
Last December, Athena partnered with mystartupxx to offer mentorship to the female founders.
"The pitch event was part of our relationship with mystartupxx," said Cheryl Goodman, executive director at Athena San Diego. "Along with mentorship, we also give them an audience of A-listers in the life science and technology space."
The competition was meant to help new entrepreneurs learn how to pitch, and the winner earned bragging rights and bottles of wine.
"I'm proud of the quality of these startups," Goodman said. "They're really responding to marketplace problems."
This article originally appeared in the San Diego Business Journal.