20 female-founded startups to watch in 2017
20 female-founded startups to watch in 2017
There's never been a better time to be a woman in the startup world.
There's no denying we have a long way to go. After all, venture capital firms are made up of mostly men, and some continue to suggest women aren't cut out for the tech world at all. And way more VC money is offered to male founders than women.
But more and more women are building multimillion-dollar startups, and venture firms like Forerunner Ventures, BBG Ventures, and Female Founders Fund all focus on female-founded companies.
It's paying off. 2016 saw female founders launch innovative companies and raise millions to help them grow, while startups in their second or third year of life began gaining ground.
And 2017 is likely to be even bigger. Here are some of the most exciting women-run companies to keep an eye on in the coming year.
Parachute wants to make a comfy night's sleep affordable.
Parachute CEO Ariel Kaye.Parachute/LinkedIn
What is it: Parachute is changing how you buy one thing you use every day: your sheets. It produces the high-quality bedding from a factory in Italy and then sells it only through its website, and one store at its headquarters in Venice Beach, California. Parachute bedding has gained a bit of a cult following, and now co-living startups are even advertising that they have Parachute sheets with Casper mattresses. Every time a customer buys a set of its Venice line the company donates a mosquito net to help kids in Africa have a safe sleep.
Founded: 2014 by Ariel Kaye
Funding: $10.28 million from Upfront Ventures, Joanne Wilson, QueensBridge Venture Partners, and Structure Partners, among others.
Laurel & Wolf connects interior designers with people who want to give their homes an affordable makeover.
Cofounder and CEO Leura Fine.Leura Fine
What is it: Laurel & Wolf wants to take advantage of a Pinterest-obsessed generation and make it easy and affordable to design your dream home. People searching for a new look can take a survey about their style, upload pictures and information about the space, and post their project. Typically, three to five designers respond with their ideas so you don't have to settle on one from the start.
Founded: 2014 by Leura Fine and Brandon Kleinman
Funding: $26.63 from Benchmark, Charles River Ventures, Tim Draper, and others.
Maven lets you video chat with doctors.
Founder and CEO Kate Ryder.Saskia Uppenkamp
What is it: Maven is a women's health app that connects you with doctors via video chat, allowing you to ask questions, get advice, and receive prescriptions. Maven was founded by Kate Ryder, who came up with the idea for the app when she was working at a venture-capital fund in London. Ryder noticed that all of her friends were starting to get pregnant and were receiving a lot of misinformation or having trouble finding the right doctor.
Users can connect with doctors, nurse practitioners, and mental health experts through the app.
Founded: 2014 by Kate Ryder
Funding: $4.5 million from Female Founders Fund, Grand Central Tech, BoxGroup, and others.
Rockets of Awesome is a subscription service for children's clothes.
Founder and CEO Rachel BlumenthalRockets of Awesome
Glossier is a cult beauty brand whose users help decide what products they want.
Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss.Glossier
What is it: Glossier was born out of the popularity of founder Emily Weiss' beauty blog, "Into the Gloss." Started in 2010, the blog quickly grew to a massive internet community of beauty aficionados — from there, a pivot into products was inevitable. What sets the brand apart is its "two-way conversation" between the product team and the user community, who tell Glossier what types of products they'd like to see.
Founded: 2014 by Emily Weiss
Funding: $40.39 million from Forerunner Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Thrive Capital, David Tisch, and others.
Winnie wants to be the Yelp for parents.
Cofounder and CEO Sara Mauskopf.Sara Mauskopf
What is it: Yelp is great for finding good restaurants or coffee shops, but a list of the best spots changes if your new priority is finding somewhere that's stroller-friendly.
Part Yelp, part Foursquare, Winnie helps parents find locations that meet their needs — whether that's a changing table in the restroom or just a quiet area to nurse — and lets them share the story of their visit when they check into the spot.
Founded: 2015 by Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall
Funding: $2.25 million from BBG Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and others.
Away has developed a following for its luggage.
Cofounders Steph Korey and Jen Rubio.Masha Maltsava
What is it: Two former Warby Parker execs — Jen Rubio, the company's former head of social media, and Steph Korey, former head of supply chain — teamed up to create Awaya travel brand aiming to create products that combine high-quality materials and innovative technology at an affordable price. The brand debuted its first carry-on this spring and has since developed a following for its suitcases that can even charge your phone.
Founded: 2015 by Steph Korey and Jen Rubio
Funding: $11 million from Forerunner Ventures and Accel.
Flip helps you easily — and legally — sublet your apartment.
From left: Flip CTO Roger Graham, COO Elias Wehbe, and founder and CEO Susannah Vila.Flip
What is it: Flip is a platform that allows tenants to list available space and find sub-letters. In a similar vein as Airbnb, hosts create a listing, and add photos and information, like how long the place is available. Flip then takes over, sending out a notice to the landlord, which protects tenants in case the process gets contentious later on. If a user matches with a subletter, Flip will perform a credit check and make a recommendation as to whether that subletter is the right fit.
Essentially, Flip is an advocate, assistant, and housing expert all rolled into one.
Founded: 2016 by Susannah Vila
Funding: $1.2 million from BBG Ventures, Joanne Wilson, and others.
Modsy lets you see furniture in your home before you buy it.
Founder and CEO Shanna Tellerman.Noam Galai/Getty
What is it: Modsy lets you try out furniturein your own virtual house before you buy it. The startup transforms pictures you take of your space into an online model, like in "The Sims." From there, its staff redesigns your rooms, and you can customize them as you want, easily swapping out pieces.
Founded: 2015 by Shanna Tellerman
Funding: $13.56 million from Norwest Venture Partners, GV, Joanne Wilson, and others.
Revel Systems is turning iPads into cash registers.
CEO Lisa Falzone.Revel Systems
What is it: Revel is a pioneer in the iPad point-of-sale market. CEO Lisa Falzone and CTO Chris Ciabarra launched their startup in 2010 and built it into a company with a valuation of about $500 million that employs about 750 people.
The company doesn't disclose its revenue, but says it is profitable.
Falzone told Business Insider that she launched the company with no money and "sheer willpower." At one point, she even hunted down a guy she had met at a coffee shop and convinced him to invest $28,000 in her company on the spot. (She later paid him back.)
Founded: 2010 by Lisa Falzone
Funding to date: $127.3 million in five rounds.
Platejoy builds personalized, on-demand meal plans.
Cofounder and CEO Christina Bognet.PlateJoy
What is it: PlateJoy wants to help people become happier with what they're eating. Founded by Christina Bognet after she successfully lost 50 pounds, the company uses an algorithm to help build the perfect, healthy meal plan for each person based around their dietary restrictions, diet preference, weight goals, and likes or dislikes.
Founded: 2012 by Christina Bognet, Stedman Hood, and Daniel Nelson
Funding: $2.55 million from Sherpa Capital, Joanne Wilson, Jared Leto, and others.