11 of the Coolest Startups Founded By Women (That You Might Not Know)

In 2015, VC firm First Round Capital published some interesting analysis. Of those they funded, companies with female founders had outperformed peers by 63%.

According to the 2016 Kauffman Index, 2015 was a great year for female entrepreneurs. The survey stated that more women became entrepreneurs than in almost twenty years. But men are still more likely to start businesses than women. And the startup gender gap remains large.

In 2016, Crunchbase published some research consistent with this conclusion. Between 2010–2015, VC firms invested only 10% of funding in startups with at least 1 female founder. That means firms invested a whopping 90% of venture dollars in male-founded startups.

What gives?

I’ll never know the challenges of being a women entrepreneur. But for International Women’s Day, I wanted to highlight a group of awesome entrepreneurs. These women are beating the odds, taking entrepreneurial risks, and doing innovative things.

This list is by no means exhaustive. But here’s a roundup of 11 of the coolest startups founded or co-founded by women.

Co-founded by Jocelyn Leavitt and Samantha John, Hopscotch makes learning to code fun. Designed for kids, their mission is to teach anyone to code.

Co-founded by Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork, LuminAid produces compact, lightweight solar-rechargeable lanterns. The lanterns recharge in the sun and are waterproof and made of weather-resistant material. Through partnerships with NGOs, they’ve developed a “give light, get light” program. This program provides lights for people in emergency or disaster-prone areas.

Co-founded by Tanya Menendez, the Maker’s Row platform connects designers and manufacturers. The goal of the business is to bring manufacturing back to the United States. Maker’s Row users can produce apparel, accessories, jewelry, furniture, leather, and patterns.

Co-founded by Jan Bruce, the meQuilibrium platform helps people become more resilient. Resilience training improves outcomes in stress management, productivity, health, and well-being.

Co-founded by Anita Rao and Marguerite Manteau-Rao, Neurocern is a dementia management system. The system assesses the concerns of early-stage patients and dementia caregivers. It then generates unique care solutions tailored for each individual patient.

Co-founded by Laura Indolfi, PanTher Therapeutics offers revolutionary treatment of inoperable solid tumors. Their delivery method aims to cut the debilitating side effects of chemo agents.

Co-founded by Emily Malina, Spoiler Alert helps businesses manage surplus food. Spoiler Alert was a 2015 winner of MassChallenge. It’s currently in the Spring 2016 cohort of Techstars Boston.

Mackenzie Barth and Sarah Adler co-founded Spoon University, an online food publication. Designed for millennials, content features recipes, restaurant reviews, personal stories, and cooking hacks. Spoon University joined Techstars NYC in 2015.

Founded by Leah Busque, TaskRabbit matches freelance labor with local demand. The platform helps consumers find immediate help with everyday tasks. From cleaning to moving to handyman work, you can find service for almost anything.

Co-founded by Polina Raygorodskaya, Wanderu is “Travel for the Next Generation.” The platform provides an easy way to find and book bus and train travel at the best price. Travel partners include Amtrak, Greyhound, Megabus, BoltBus, Peter Pan Bus Lines, and more.

Co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, 23andme is a DNA genetic testing and analysis company. Their analysis provides health, trait, and ancestry information to customers. And their genetic reports meet FDA standards.

To all these founders, congratulations on your awesome work.

Which other startups should be on this list? Leave your suggestions in a comment below.


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