10 Impressive Female Founders: International Women's Day
International Women's Day is celebrated in the month of March every year to commemorate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and the theme for this year is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
The first International Women's Day was celebrated on February 28th, 1909 in New York City, and has been recognised as a staple of equality by the United Nations since 1975.
Here is a list of some wildly impressive female founders who have made, or are making, waves in the tech world:
- Tania Boler – Elvie. Elvie is a company that creates innovative products for women’s health, such as a smart breast pump and a pelvic floor trainer. Tania’s mission is to revolutionise women’s health through technology, and considering how it’s going, she’s well on her way to leaving a lasting and beneficial impact!
- Sarah Friar – Nextdoor. Sarah is the CEO of Nextdoor, a social networking platform for neighbourhoods (an app that my mom actually uses frequently), and she has successfully led the company through its expansion into a vast array of markets.
- Anna Wojcicki – 23andMe. (Another app that my mom cannot get enough of as once a week I’ll get a new erratic text revealing that our family DNA is .00001% tree frog) 23andMe is a company that provides personal genetic testing and analysis. Anne has been recognised for her work in genetics and has been named of of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
- Tracy Chou – Block Party. Tracy is the founder and CEO of Block Party, a company that helps users filter out online harassment and abuse. She has been an advocate for diversity in tech and has worked to increase representation of women and people of colour in the industry.
- Christina Stembel – Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers fresh, sustainable flowers across the US, and Christian has grown it from a startup to being valued at over $30 million in revenue, subsequently being recognised as a leader in the e-commerce industry.
- Laura Behrens Wu – Shippo. Shippo is a platfrom that simplifies shipping for e-commerce businesses. Laura has raised over $59 million in funding and has been named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in the technology category.
- Emily Weiss – Glossier. You’ve undoubtedly heard this name before, Glossier is a direct-to-consumer beauty brand that has been valued at over $ONE BILLION. Emily has been recognised for her innovative approach to marketing and her focus on building a strong, female empowering community around her brand.
- Sarah Kunst – Cleo Capital. Cleo Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage companies. She has been a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry and has worked to increase funding opportunities for underrepresented founders.
- Katie Bouman – Black Hole Image. Katie is a computer scientist who led the development of the algorithm that created the first-ever image of a black hole. Her work has been recognised with numerous awards and has inspired a new generation of young women looking to pursue careers in STEM.
- Aileen Lee – Cowboy Ventures. Cowboy Ventures is a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups. She has been a pioneer in the industry, and was the first to coin the term “unicorn” to describe companies valued at over $1 billion, and has been named one of Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.
- Sarah Blakely – Spanx. Although Spanx is far from being a startup, I just couldn't leave Sarah off the list. She founded Spanx over 20 years ago with just $5,000 in savings, and revolutionised the shapewear industry. Having since become a billionaire, she is one of the most successful self-made female entrepreneurs in the world, and is known for her philanthropic efforts particularly in education, entrepreneurship, and female empowerment.
In addition, I thought I’d highlight some UK tech companies that have made an effort to support women in the industry.
- Monzo. Monzo has a number of initiatives in place to support women in tech, including a Women in Engineering group and a mentorship programme for female engineers.
- ThoughtWorks. The company has a similar programme to Monzo called Women in Leadership, as well as a scholarship programme for women pursuing careers in STEM.
- Code First Girls. A UK-based enterprise that is dedicated to closing the gender gap in tech. They provide coding courses and have trained thousands of women in coding skills since its inception.
- Entrepreneurial Spark. A UK-based business accelerator that has made a commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs, the organisation has a Women in Business programme that provides mentorship, networking opportunities and resources to women starting their own businesses.
- Ada’s List. A UK-based community of women in tech that provides career development resources and mentorship programmes. The organisation has over 8,000 members and is dedicated to supporting women at all stages of their careers.
If you're lucky enough to have one or more, give your mother, wife, girlfriend, sister, grandmother or any other women in your life a call and tell them how much they mean to you - I know I will.