Women, half of humanity, have been proving themselves to be an important factor in promoting the entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. Kevin O’Leary, the snarky investor on Shark Tank, shared similar data, outlining that the companies in his portfolio which tend to generate the most returns are led by women.The article will highlight the role of women in starting a business and provide a list of founders, co-founders women-led startups.

Women make positive value for startups.  This is proved by information: Venture-backed, women-led tech firms bring in 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech firms, according to research by the Kauffman Foundation.

According to BCG, partnered with Mass Challenge, investments in companies founded or cofounded by women averaged $935,000, which is less than half the average $2.1 million invested in companies founded by male entrepreneurs. In terms of how effectively companies turn a dollar of investment into a dollar of revenue, startups founded and cofounded by women are significantly better financial investments. For every dollar of funding, these startups generated 78 cents, while male-founded startups generated less than half that—just 31 cents.

Here is the list of female founders (according to Pitchbook, updated and revised by writer):

Miranda Qu | Xiaohongshu

Xiaohongshu was founded by Miranda Qu and Charlwin Mao. Miranda graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a degree in journalism, and left her job in 2013 to start Xiaohongshu. Miranda discusses how she met her cofounder, Charlwin Mao, in a shopping mall in Boston.

This startup is the world’s largest lifestyle platform that integrates community and content with ecommerce. Over 75 million users spend a total of over 100 million yuan per month on the app to buy fashion, cosmetics, and lifestyle products from both overseas and domestic brands. Xiaohongshu was valued at $3 billion in its Series D round June 2018.

Julia Hartz | Eventbrite

Julia Hartz, the CEO and Co-Founder of Eventbrite just led her company through an IPO. Under Julia’s leadership, Eventbrite has grown from an innovative ticketing solution to a comprehensive event technology platform that today powers millions of live experiences in over 170 countries.

Julia’s career started off in Hollywood and she was working as a development executive for MTV. Eventbrite has grown into a global company of more than more than 1,000 employees, that the company calls Britelings. They currently have 14 offices in 11 countries.

Anne Wojcicki | 23andMe

23andMe, which is named after the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a human cell, has two women co-founders: Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey.

23andMe is currently the first and only company to provide genetic records directly to users without going through any doctor or researcher. When a person needs genetic testing, they just need to send a saliva sample to 23andMe and pay a fee of $ 99.This American biotech company has become one of the leading companies in the home DNA testing market. According to MIT Technology Review, more than 26 million Americans participated in home genetic testing. Of these, 9 million customers have used the service of 23andMe.

Melanie Perkins | Canva

Melanie Perkins is the CEO and co-founder of Canva, an online design and publishing platform. Launched in 2012, Canva is worth more than $1 billion and has over 15 million users in 190 countries.

The idea was born in 2006. At that time, Perkins was studying the University of Western Australia, major in commerce and communications. She was frustrated to exlore how to use popular design software. a lot of time. “It can take a whole semester to learn very basic things. “Even the simplest action like extracting high-quality PDF files takes up to 22 clicks” she complained. In 2007. Cliff Obrecht and her college friend founded Fusion Books, an online tool that allows users to design their own yearbook and is considered a prototype for the later Canva system. In 2012, they met Cameron Adams, a former Google engineer and the three came up with the idea of ​​using Fusion Books’ fundamental design principles to reach the broader market. They launched Canva one year later. In 2013, Melanie Perkins, then 24, launched Canva as a “Photoshop tool for those who are afraid of online Photoshop versions”, to make it easy for all audiences to create graphic products.

Katrina Lake | Stitch Fix

Katrina Lake is the founder and CEO Stitch Fix, bringing personalized experience shopping for fashion products for women. Stitch Fix was founded in 2011. Up to now, the company has more than 2.7 million customers and offered initial shares (IPO) on Nasdaq in November 2017. Currently the company has a market capitalization of nearly 3 billion USD (2018).

Lake enrolled in Stanford University and studied there to become a doctor, but she was more attracted to the world of economics than the laboratory. Later, she worked for a retail consulting group and a venture capital firm before enrolling in Harvard University to obtain a master’s degree in business. Lake had the idea of ​​establishing Stitch Fix at Harvard. This is part of an exercise in the classroom, in which Lake wanted to bring a better home shopping experience to women – who don’t have much choice about clothes or time to choose. She came up with the idea of ​​”personalizing” shopping services by using algorithms and suggestions from fashion experts to create groups of clothing, accessories that match the style, physique and preferences of cutomer.

Didi Chuxing | Jean Liu

Jean Liu is the president of Didi Chuxing, the largest motorbike and taxi sharing service in China. Before succeeding with Didi Chuxing, Jean worked for Goldman Sachs for 12 years and became one of the youngest executives in the group’s history. She entered Didi Chuxing then called Didi Dache, and coordinated the merger with Alibaba Lua Kuaidi Dache. Didi Kuaidi then continued to rename the brand to Didi Chuxing. Jean graduated from computer science at Peking University and earned a master’s degree from Harvard. Currently Didi Chuxing is valued at $ 56 billion, with a registered user base of 450 million, with 21 million drivers and 25 million trips a day.

Hooi Ling Tan | Grab

 Hooi Ling Tan is the co-founder of Grab, the largest ride-hailing in Southeast Asia. With outstanding development, Grab is present in 28 cities in 6 countries compared to the first day. Before succeeding in Grab, Hooi Ling was a McKinsey consultant and graduate student at Harvard Business School. Previously, she also worked at Salesforce as Senior Director of Pricing Intelligence and Monetization Pricing. Grab is valued at $ 11 billion in the Serie H investment round, with a $ 1 billion investment from Toyota. Grab currently has 130 million downloads and 2.5 billion completed rides and has 1 billion USD in revenue in 2018.

Cindy Mi | VIPKID

Cindy is CEO and founder of leading edtech startup VIPKID. In 2000, she dropped out to establish English center ABC English in Beijing. In 2013, Cindy Mi realized there was untapped demand from students desperate to learn the language. Her answer was VIPKID, an online platform that pairs students with tutors in North America. Today it is the world’s largest K-12 English-language online educator, with 60,000 native-English speakers providing lessons to 500,000 students, with valuation 3B USD.

Sarah Leary | Nextdoor

Sarah Leary is the co-founder and vice president in charge of marketing at Next Door. The other co-founders are: Nirav Tolia, Prakash Janakiraman and David Wiesen. Founded in 2010, Nextdoor has evolved from a neighbor’s social network in California to many regions throughout the US, UK and the Netherlands. Nextdoor is a private social network that helps connect neighbors, supporting finding a babysitter or organizing neighborhood meetings. There are 10 million users in Nextdoor.

Michelle Zatlyn | Cloudflare

Michelle Zatlyn is a co-founder, COO of web performance and internet security company Cloudflare since 2009. Cloudfare serves a total of 10 million website domains and the average Internet user touches its services around 500 times per day, according to its website. Zatlyn moved to the U.S. to study chemistry before getting an MBA at Harvard Business School. Previously, she worked for Google, Toshiba and two other startups before devoting herself to Cloudflare. Cloudflare would reportedly go public in the first half of 2019, valuing it over $3.5 billion.

Amy Pressman | Medallia

Medallia, which was co-founded by Amy Pressman in 2001, sells software that helps companies capture customer feedback. Pressman grew up in Massachusetts and has said that she always loved selling. She studied history at Harvard and later volunteered for the Peace Corps in Honduras. She left the Peace Corps wanting to become an entrepreneur after seeing the positive effect that businesses can have. Pressman has an MBA from Stanford, and has worked for Goldman Sachs.

Tianyue Yu, Quanergy Systems

Tianyue Yu is the co-founder, CTO of Quanergy Systems, which makes 3-D sensing technology used in self-driving vehicles (The other founder and CEO is Louay Eldada. Yu has a degree in chemical physics from the University of Science and Technology of China, and a Ph.D in nanomaterials and nanotechnology from Cornell University. She holds more than 15 patents in the fields of sensing and nanotechnology. Quanergy has secured Series C funding at a valuation exceeding $2 billion.

Adi Tatarko, Houzz

Houzz was founded by Adi Tatarko and husband Alon Cohen after they struggled to communicate ideas to architects and designers during a home renovation.

In 2009, the U.S.-based Israeli couple launched a website that featured images to inspire home decorators and information to help connect them with construction professionals. The company released their first app the following year. Their platform now has millions of images and includes a marketplace where users can buy furniture and other products. Houzz has more than 40 million users. Tatarko serves as CEO.

Kathryn Petralia, Kabbage

Kathryn Petralia co-founded Kabbage with Marc Gorlin and Rob Frohwein in 2009. Based in Atlanta, it’s an online financial company that provides funding to small businesses via an automated lending platform.. Petralia spent more than 20 years working at a number of companies focusing on technology, payments and e-commerce before starting Kabbage.

Patricia House | C3 IoT

Patricia House is the co-founder and executive vice chairman of C3 IoT, which provides artificial intelligence and Internet of Things software platforms. House started the business in 2009, having previously co-founded another software firm. The entrepreneur is also an author. She co-wrote “Cyber Rules,” a guide on how to make a successful internet business. This startup was founded in 2009 and has valuation of 1.5 B USD (2018 by Pitchbook).


Melissa Yang | Tujia

Melissa Yang is the co-founder of Tujia, a website that is often described as the China’s Airbnb. She graduated from Tsinghua University with a degree in automation, before studying computer science in the U.S. While living in Seattle in 2006, Yang founded Escapia, a startup that provided vacation rental software. It caught the eye of Airbnb rival HomeAway, which bought it for about $10 million in 2010, according to SEC filings. Yang worked for Microsoft in Beijing before starting Tujia. The firm now has over 430,000 rental listings in China, and it’s looking to expand abroad. Yang recently stepped back from Tujia’s day-to-day operations, and is searching for promising startups in China as an entrepreneur in residence with investment firm IDG Capital.

Nichole Mustard | Credit Karma

Mustard grew up in the small, rural town of Coldwater, Ohio, and she attended college at the University of Miami to earn a degree in zoology. She did not write code, did not study at Stanford and did not work at a technology giant. After college, she was Pizza Hut’s trainee manager, living in a cheap apartment in Los Angeles with her roommate. She later joined compete.com in Boston as a sales director. Here, she met co-founder Kenneth Lin and co-founded Credit Karma, a credit scoring company, a startup now worth $ 4 billion. During the time running the startup, she experienced many difficulties such as selling a house, reducing her salary by 60%. Despite all this, she was optimistic and promised herself to be happy.

Ankiti Bose | Zilingo

Ankiti Bose has one of the youngest female CEOs running a billion-dollar startup in Asia. Zilingo Pte, Singapore-based online fashion business founded in 2014 by Ankiti Bose, who was an analyst at Sequoia India and a neighbor named Dhruv Kapoor. Zilingo online platform helps small vendors in Asia to scale up. Bose is currently the CEO of the company, and Kapoor is the chief technology officer. Zilingo has offices in eight countries with 400 employees and is valued at nearly $ 1 billion.

This list also contains Mia.com, Nu Bank, DT Dreams, Kabam, Shopclue, Theranos (now dissolved) , etc in the framework of the article, the writer do not mention these startups.

BCG’s report shows that women’s ideas are prone to more pushback. It’s presumed by investors that women don’t know enough about the technical side of how a business is managed. However, this interrogation of technical knowledge isn’t conducted in the same way to male founders. Male founders are more likely to “make bold projections and assumptions in their pitch”. BCG found that men often over-pitch and oversell their idea, women are generally more conservative. Most investors are male themselves. Male investors are not always the target customer for a female founders’ idea, especially if the pitch falls under categories such as childcare or health/beauty.

In Vietnam, there are also many female startup founders, typically Hong Vu (Elsa), Thuy Truong (Tappy, GreenCar) Tu Phuong (Metub),etc. However, difficulties still exist, according to the survey. Facebook’s observation shows that 4 out of 5 Vietnamese women want to set up their own business. Women-owned and leadership enterprises in Vietnam have made impressive developments, accounting for 25% of the 600,000 businesses that are contributing to economic growth and creating jobs in Viet Nam. The above study of Facebook also points out that the main factors that hinder Vietnamese women from starting a business are concerns about personal financial security, lack of orientation, lack of access to finance, and not feeling ready.

Despite these difficulties, with their inherent strengths, businesses led by women in the world and Vietnam will steadily overcome and conquer new milestones & challenges in the future.

Le Hoang



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