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8 Best Start-ups With Female Founders

Mar 23, 20206 min read

Michał Rejman

Chief Marketing Officer of Ideamotive. Travel addict and remote work advocate.

Although the presence of women in the tech industry seems to be growing, Silicon Valley world is still a Brotopia, as Emily Chang titled her famous non-fiction book on the role of females in a Californian start-up world. Most of the people working in start-ups are men, especially when it comes to engineering and management positions.


According to UK-related research conducted by PWC, only 5% of leadership positions in the tech sector are held by women. 78% of over 2000 A-level students surveyed by PWC couldn’t even name one famous female working in technology.


This needs to change — not even only for the sake of gender equality, but also to improve the quality of the tech industry as a whole. As the report by Anita Borg Institute proves, there is a number of benefits coming along with hiring more women:


  1. More women in company mean a better understanding of the market
    Fortune 500 companies with at least three women directors saw a visible increase in return on invested capital, sales and return on equity after these women have joined the board.

  2. A diverse team is a stronger team
    According to a survey conducted by the London Business School, team members are feeling the most psychologically safe and ready for experiments when 50% of the team are women.

  3. Women bring financial security
    According to various reports, companies with a higher number of women in top management roles are performing better financially than companies with a lower number of female leaders.

  4. Women mean innovation
    According to research by Dezsö and Ross, The positive effects of female participation primarily accrue to firms pursuing innovation, where the benefits of fostering collaboration are particularly important.

How to make it work?


All the data, including female business owners statistics, is definitely useful in understanding how important it is to include more women in the tech industry. How can we make sure, however, that more women themselves want to join the Silicon Valley world? How can we encourage the creation of more female start-ups and other female-owned businesses?

One of the ways to do so can be establishing role models. If millions of teenagers want to be like Bill Gates or Elon Musk, why wouldn’t they follow the steps of a successful woman entrepreneur as well? And yes, there are really plenty of successful female-owned businesses. We just don’t hear about them in the media often enough.


And that is why we decided to take the matter into our own hands and create a list of some of the top female founders. This list is definitely not a complete one — there are thousands of women worldwide who would be worth mentioning. We chose those who make a specifically huge impact, either on the market, their business is related to, the web development industry, or even the whole society. Female founders are usually the ones who really push for global change. The start-ups they launch are very often aiming to positively impact the whole world and make a real difference.


We also highly encourage to follow on social media all the women on our list. They have some great insights into how running a business looks like from a female founder’s perspective.


Revolutionizing job market


There is a number of female business leaders who set fighting with bias as one of their main career goals. One of these women is Stephanie Lampkin, the founder of Blendoor, a job platform aiming to change the Silicon Valley world and make it more diverse. With the simple evolution of the job recruiting process, Blendoor wants to start a revolution. 


How does it work? The basics are still the same: job seekers can apply for a job and summarise their career by responding to a few questions. What makes the difference, is that when the company finally reviews the applications, they are not able to see names and photos on the resumes. This is supposed to help eliminate the unconscious bias of the recruiters by providing information only on the experience of the candidates, instead of their ethnicity, race and other irrelevant features.


You can follow Stephanie Lampkin on Twitter.

Solving medical issues


Solv’s name is a nice play on the main goal of this female start-up — to SOLVE the problem of costly medical emergencies in the United States. The platform, co-founded by Heather Mirjahangir Fernandez, is a kind of a healthcare marketplace focusing on providing patients with an urgent matter with a list of doctors nearby available on the day of the request.


Solv’s success can be summarized in two simple statistics provided on their official website:

  • $150M+ in medical bills saved by patients using Solv instead of visiting an ER
  • 20+ years of waiting saved by helping patients avoid the waiting room


Besides being the CEO of Solv, Heather Mirjahangir Fernandez is also the Board Director of Atlassian, a company famous especially thanks to their Jira software. You can follow Fernandez on her Twitter.

Teaching kids worldwide


Cindy Mi has been teaching English in China before she turned into one of the most famous female tech founders. Her business, VIPKID, is highly related to her teaching experience. The start-up’s aim is to connect native English tutors with kids worldwide. Of course, one of the most important target groups for this service are Chinese children themselves, but the company supports anyone who wishes to learn English online with an expert as a companion.


As Mi explained in an interview for Business Insider, she has a vision of the future going further than just teaching kids English:


What if you had students gathering around the pyramids virtually to learn everything about them? What if you had a classroom of students, each from a different country, talking to each other in a global channel? In my beautiful future dreams, I see children learning from one another.


You can follow Cindy Mi on Twitter.

Making weddings easier


As The Knot’s 2018 report suggests, an average American wedding in 2018 cost $33,931. According to The Wedding Survey, in the same year, over 2,201,772 weddings took place in the United States. We will leave doing the maths to you, but the conclusion itself is simple — the wedding industry is an incredibly prospective industry.

One of the popular start-ups capitalizing on it is Zola, co-founded by Shan-Lyn Ma. The platform makes planning wedding easier, thanks to its simple but effective registry, website and invites builder. The platform brought the attention of various investors, including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners.

For the greats insights on the wedding industry and relatable start-ups, follow Shan-Lyn Ma on Twitter. And if you are looking for investors yourself, we have a nice piece on finding one on our blog.

Driving children to school


Uber-like taxi alternative start-ups are now as much a standard as typical taxis. Therefore, to get the most out of the ride-sharing industry, it’s now important to turn from the general audience to a very specific one. This is what Ritu Narayan is doing with her Zūm — a modern solution for busy parents who want to have their kids safely delivered to school. Everything is done via an app that allows booking all types of rides, from daily carpools to school to weekly drives to an art class.


As it is children we are talking about, Zūm focuses highly on the security of the passengers. All drivers are background checked with FBI, DOJ and DMV standards in mind and parents are able to track rides in real-time.


As Ritu Narayan said in an interview with Authority Magazine:


Mothers who use Zūm have told us they’ve experienced many work-related benefits as a result of using the service, like being able to make their morning meetings and truly elevate their careers.


You can follow Narayan on Twitter.

Taking banking to another level


There are not many people with extensive knowledge of the banking industry as Anne Boden. During her career, she held top positions in many of the leading banks, such as ABN AMRO and RBS. Finally, in 2014, she decided to join the e-banking revolution that has just started and founded Starling — a mobile-only bank dedicated to both standard and business customers.


Starling happened to become an interesting solution for the British people who need a bank account with a quick setup, easy-to-use mobile app and Euro account available as a standard. RBS itself invested £100m in Startling, seeing clear potential in this mobile-only solution.


Anne Boden was included on the Forbes’ list of Europe's Top 50 Women in Tech 2018. She is especially active on Twitter.

Changing the way you travel


Alyssa Ravasio is the woman behind Hipcamp — an innovative platform for true nomads and Airbnb-alternative for those who seek unusual experience even during their sleep. 


To put it simply, Hipcamp is a travel marketplace platform allowing users to book camping sites throughout the United States. Ranches, parks, lakesides, and mountain valleys — all of these await for travelers who prefer a night in a tent instead of a king-size bed. Prices vary but it’s easy to find a place for a bargain of $10.


In an interview with Forbes, Alyssa Ravasio said:


I work with really good investors, for whom [being a woman] wasn’t a variable.


We hope that more female founders will end up in talks with such investors and thanks to this manage to turn their ideas into reality.

You can follow Alyssa Ravasio on Twitter. And if you are planning to develop a similar project to Hipcamp, you might be interested in knowing that the platform has been partly built with the use of Ruby on Rails. You can learn more about this technology in one of our blog posts.


Have a great start-up idea but need a team of developers to handle the tech things for you? At Ideamotive, we can help you with this. Jump into our project cost calculator and get a free quote today.


Michał Rejman

Michał is a digital marketing veteran with a growth hacking mindset and 10+ years of experience. His goal is building high-quality technological content, with particular emphasis on React and Ruby on Rails. Traveler, climber, remote work advocate.

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