StartOut Awards

October 10th | New York City

13th Annual StartOut Awards

Join us in New York City for the entrepreneurial event of the year!

The StartOut Awards is the premier celebration of the nation’s LGBTQ+ entrepreneurial community. Our signature event recognizes outstanding LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs across industries.

By recognizing and honoring business leaders for outstanding representation of the LGBTQ+ community, the StartOut Awards bring further visibility and prominence to the dynamic, innovative, and exceptionally diverse field of LGBTQ+ community members fueling the American entrepreneurial spirit.

Tickets will go on sale Spring 2024.

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2023 Awardees

Innovator Award

Riana Lynn (she/her)

Riana Lynn is a neo-scientist, creative entrepreneur, AI-patent holder, and technologist that is focused on bringing better data to the world’s biggest food and supply chain problems. She leads the fast-growing software startup Journey Foods. The company is backed by top VCs in North America, Europe, and Asia. Riana has served as a top consultant and VC to Fortune 500 food and CPG companies. She’s currently an angel investor, creative director, and former Google Entrepreneur in Residence. Riana has been featured in Forbes, MIT 35 under 35, and serves as World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer. In addition to her work as an entrepreneur, Riana Lynn is also a sought-after speaker and educator and has taught at institutions like Stanford University and Harvard University. She is a vocal advocate for the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. She has worked to inspire and support young people from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in technology and innovation. 

Riana is an Austin-based entrepreneur that enjoys growing fruit trees, writing film scripts, and exploring culinary and architectural heritage sites around the world.

Advocate Award

David Lauterstein (he/him) & Frederick Kearney (he/him)
Nasty Pig

Nasty Pig was founded in 1994 by then boyfriends, now husbands, David Lauterstein and Frederick Kearney. When the two met in New York City, their shared passion for design and love of the LGBTQ+ community inspired them to start a clothing line that fearlessly celebrated queer sexuality in spite of the fact that gay culture was still being defined by the AIDS epidemic. With an initial investment of fifty dollars, and without any business experience whatsoever, the couple began buying fabric and making clothing for their friends in the underground club and leather scenes of the early nineties.

Today, Nasty Pig is widely considered to be the original sex-positive queer sportswear brand. Lauterstein and Kearney, co-founders and husbands of 28 years, never lose sight of the reason that Nasty Pig exists: to design clothing for the community they love, and help their customers to feel sexy and empowered.

Advocate Award

Fran Dunaway (she/her) & Naomi Gonzalez (she/her)

Fran and Naomi are the co-founders of TomboyX, a Seattle-based gender-neutral underwear and apparel brand launched in 2013. The brand started as a passion project to create the perfect button-up shirt before pivoting to focus on underwear based on the overwhelming demand for their first boxer brief for women.

Fran and Naomi are driven by a belief that brand’s can be a force for positive change, and their messaging promotes a human agenda to inspire conversation about gender, confidence, acceptance, and inclusion. In 2021, TomboyX solidified the brand’s commitment to sustainability and community by becoming B Corp certified and has completed the process for changing their corporate status from C Corp to Benefit Corp. TomboyX was one of EY’s Winning Women in 2017, was on Inc 5000 Fastest growing businesses list for 4 consecutive years and in 2019, Fran was named as one of Forbes’ 50 over 50. The duo still maintains partial ownership in the company but have a C suite running the day-to-day business in their stead.

Next Generation Award

Johann Moonesinghe (he/him)

Johann is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor with seed level investments in companies including Uber, Twilio and All Birds. After selling his tech company, he personally invested in 30 restaurants before founding and operating a restaurant incubator from 2015-2020 to help chefs run their businesses. As CEO/co-founder of inKind, he combines his finance experience, restaurant expertise, and passion for food. Under Johann’s leadership, inKind has funded over 1,000 restaurants with 450,000 users. inKind co-founder and Johann’s younger brother, Rajan Moonesinghe, was killed in November 2022. This tragic event has caused Johann to double down on the purpose of inKind – to help restaurant owners be financially sustainable. Earlier in the year, inKind committed to fund $250mm to independent restaurants, 75% of whom are minority, female, LGBT or veteran owned. Along with inKind funding, inKind provides technology, partnerships, and other support to ensure that the restaurants are successful.

Previous Awardees

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