Just by looking around, it’s easy to see that women are underrepresented in the world of tech startups—and as founders of those startups, even more so. But according to TechCrunch, these numbers are on the upswing: in 2014, 18% of startups had at least one woman founder, up from a dismal 9.5% in 2009. We’ve collected a list of innovative startups with female founders, which, even if you’ve heard of the companies before, may surprise you.
Cofounded by Linda Avey, Anne Wojcicki, and Paul Cusenza, 23andMe analyzes customers’ genetic information via a small saliva sample, then provides and interprets the data online where they can read it privately or share it with family members and their doctor. The test was named Invention of the Year in 2008 by Time.
Polyvore cofounder and CEO Jess Lee got her start as a product manager at Google, but soon transferred those skills to creating Polyvore’s democratic, personalized style community. There, users can mix and match clothing from pictures on a variety of store sites, then share tips and purchase the pieces they love.
Jocelyn Leavitt and Samantha John founded the KAPi award-winning Hopscotch as a way to make coding more accessible for kids. The visual, easy-to-use interface teaches core coding concepts as children learn to make their own apps and games.
A graduate of Harvard Business School, Katrina Lake founded Stitch Fix in 2011 to help women build a flattering wardrobe while maintaining a busy schedule. Customers are assigned a personal stylist, who hand-picks personalized pieces to be delivered regularly or at the user’s leisure. Once they arrive, customers try on the clothes, keep the ones they like, and send back the ones they don’t.
With co-founders Kevin Morrill and Andy Sparks, Danielle Morrill helped found Mattermark, a data platform that keeps VC firms informed on the latest startups with information from news stories, SEC filings, AngelList, and other sources. Danielle Morrill is also the company’s CEO.
It takes a village to raise a child—weeSpring just put that village online. Cofounded by Melissa Post and Allyson and Jack Downey, the platform helps new and expecting parents share advice and reviews on a wide variety of baby essentials, from diapers and bottles to strollers and car seats. The site even connects with Facebook to help users see the products their friends love.
With the belief that financial planning isn’t only for those who are already financially successful, CEO Alexa von Tobel founded LearnVest to offer expertise from financial planners at a fraction of the usual cost. In addition to paid services, the site also contains articles and tips to help regular people be smarter with their money.
First built in 2012 by Mara Zepeda and Sean Lerner as a way to help alumni from their alma mater connect and built a community online, Switchboard has become an intuitive, ad-free platform for cities, industries, universities, and other organizations to stay connected. The company was named one of the 20 hottest startups founded by women in Business Insider.
Cofounded by Julia Hartz, who now serves as president, Eventbrite is a social commerce platform that helps people host events with online ticket sales, promotion, up-to-the-minute guest lists, and other essentials. Today, 1.7 million events are held each year with the innovative website.
Executive Director Jennifer Pahlka founded Code for America to apply the expertise of the web industry to the problems facing our communities. The organization builds open-source technology to help make government services more effective and easy to use, especially in areas of health, economic development, justice, and community engagement.