SSM entrepreneur accepted to prestigious Women’s Startup Lab in California


A local entrepreneur is hoping for great things.  I am pleased to share the news that I am 1 of 9 founders worldwide and the only Canadian to be accepted into the Women’s Startup Lab (WSL) in Silicon Valley, California.” said Melissa Kargiannakis who created a start up company. ” I am an incubator client with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation centre and its YouLaunch program which support entrepreneurs ages 29 and under”

Her company, Heuristext, is a for-profit social enterprise that is making the internet easier to understand. I need the Sault’s help (and Canada’s help!) to get there by supporting my Go Fund Me request to pay for the WSL tuition.

Melissa Kargiannakis, MHIS Founder & Managing Director, Heuristext, Inc.
Melissa Kargiannakis, MHIS
Founder & Managing Director, Heuristext, Inc.

WSL is an intensive program including multiple, two-week residential periods and perpetual program access once enrolled. It is exactly what Heuristext needs to propel their business to the next level – that’s if they can raise the $20,000 CDN ($13,000 of which before November 1, 2016) to cover the cost of tuition to attend. A crowdfunding page with additional information about the company and this opportunity has been set up at Any excess funds will be injected into the company for R&D and business development.

Women’s Startup Lab is a unique accelerator aimed to grow and support Women entrepreneurs to succeed through innovation and to become the next changemakers. It is specifically designed to form a collaborative start-up community of other highly driven founders, as well as Silicon Valley’s well known investors and serial entrepreneurs. Through this program, Melissa can form meaningful relationships and access powerful resources to accelerate the success of Heuristext, which is poised to have global impact.

Kargiannakis adds, “The lab’s focus on women appeals to us because of the additional hurdles female founders face. For every entrepreneur there are hills to climb. If you’re a woman, the hills you will have to climb to achieve yours dreams will look more like mountains. And if you chose to be a woman founder, those mountains will look more like Everest.”

“Women’s Startup Labs is very proud to welcome Melissa Kargiannakis and her new company Heuristext to our upcoming Cohort of women founders in November,” said Ari Horie, founder and CEO of Women’s Startup Labs.  “We are a founder development accelerator whose mission is to catalyze women-run startups and guide them to success through powerful immersive leadership training and an influential network of coaches and advisers formed by serial entrepreneurs and investors. We also focus on long term success by providing the ongoing support of a community of founder alums.  Melissa’s participation will support the success of her own company by gaining insight on what makes a successful startup and how to avoid costly mistakes but she will also leave with 20 plus leaders from Silicon Valley as part of her team.”

Nearly half of all Canadians and Americans are considered low-literate: they struggle to understand online information relevant to everyday life such as job and housing applications, basic banking, and health information. In the US, $225B annually is lost due to non-productivity linked to low literacy. Adult literacy programs are so underfunded that only 5-10% of Canadian adults who are eligible can actually get into them.

Heuristext has received just shy of $50,000 in funding from grants made available through the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, and AGE-WELL Network. This money is earmarked for research and development only and cannot be put towards attendance at the WSL. Heuristext’s next stage of development requires at least $500,000 which will be raised through private investors.

Heuristext is a seed-stage start-up company based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and currently an incubator client with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and its YouLaunch program, supporting entrepreneurs ages 29 and under.

“Melissa is an incredibly strong, intelligent and poised leader, and we know that Heuristext can make a global impact as a world leading artificial intelligence application that will be as commonly used as online spellchecks or language translators,” said Gerry Bugyra, Business Development Manager, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. “At the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, our mission is to drive business growth, facilitate research and commercialize innovation in globally significant areas of science and technology, all of which Heuristext represents. We’re very proud to support Melissa as a client and of her achievements in such a short time, and cannot wait to see what’s next!”

Visit Melissa and Naomi’s Go Fund Me Page here and help them reach their $10,000 goal by November 1!