Yale Professor Julie Dorsey Wins Microsoft’s Female Founders Competition

Julie Dorsey, a professor of computer science at Yale University, is one of two winners of the first Female Founders Competition organized by M12, the investment arm of Microsoft. She will receive $2 million in venture capital funding, as well as access to additional resources for her digital drawing company, Mental Canvas.

Mental Canvas is a software company that reimagines sketching for the digital age by augmenting it with spatial stroke, 3-D navigation, and free-form animations, all drawn with the ease of pencil and paper. The company is developing a new form of graphical media and a system for authoring such media. Mental Canvas includes applications that range from storyboarding and product design to architecture and visual journalism.

The competition was established to find and fund innovative women entrepreneurs. The organizers also created it to bring attention to the funding gap that exists for women entrepreneurs and to push for a more equitable distribution of capital.

“It is a great honor to be recognized in this way,” said Dr. Dorsey. “Of course, we are pleased with the funding, but even more, we are thrilled by the recognition and affirmation this prize provides. It says to me and our team that the technology Mental Canvas is developing to bring sketching into the digital age is groundbreaking and impactful.”

Dr. Dorsey holds a bachelor of science degree, a bachelor of architecture degree, a master’s degree, and Ph.D. in computer science all from Cornell University.

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