Did you know?! Only 10% of funding globally goes to women-led start-ups, despite the innovation and game-changing tech they're bringing to the table. What?!? Check out Forbes' list of 60 kick-ass women-led startups shaking up tech across the globe and changing the game when it comes to funding!
By Allyson Kapin, Forbes
We have a big problem in the startup and tech world that is not only squashing innovation, but is leaving billions of dollars on the table for every single investor. I’ve reviewed thousands of startup pitches and have found that many of the game-changing products that have the potential to make a huge impact on this world happen to be run by women and people of color. Despite this, only 10% of funding globally goes to women-led startups. And, as I’ve written about before, the funding for women of color is far more dismal.
For the past few years, many investors have publicly committed to funding more women founders, yet somehow, the percentage of women founders funded hasn’t budged. Even after the public scrutiny the tech sector experienced in the face of the #MeToo movement, the amount of funding for diverse startups is paltry. If investing in startups led by women and people of color were a product, it would be considered one of the biggest product failures in startup history as “a product that stagnates for two years has a growth problem,” said Bo Ren who is a product adviser and investor.
Interestingly, hundreds of millions of dollars is being spent on diversity and inclusion initiatives by major tech companies to recruit more tech employees, but from what I see, not a dime of this is being spent on some of the company's most important divisions: mergers and acquisitions and VC arms. If we crack that nut, it will open up a whole new world of funding being funneled into some of the most innovative companies around the world. There are thousands and thousands of women-led tech startups disrupting every industry you can think of: health, finance, transportation, education, fashion, energy, AI, Augmented Reality, and more.
Need some inspiration to find these next unicorns, or rather zebras, as Mara Zepeda, CEO and co-founder of Switchboard, and coauthors so eloquently stated? Here are 60 women-led startups (listed alphabetically) who are shaking up tech across the globe. A few on the list are companies that have been part of our Women Startup Challenges, where we are on a mission to close the funding gap. Others we’ve been following their products and traction. Research them. Introduce yourself to them. Fund them!
Accompany (United States) — Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, Accompany is a virtual chief of staff, providing one with all of the information they need about anyone they are meeting with in a given day. Co-founder: Amy Chang
Azimo (Poland and England) — Works with large payment companies worldwide to ensure that money transfers reach their destinations safely. They hold funds in most currencies around the world which means they can send money instantly to 60+ countries, and they work with partners in 195+ countries. Co-founder: Marta Krupinska
DEKO EKO (Poland) — An upcycling platform that works with the best designers globally to create well-designed consumer products out of carefully selected waste materials from the largest companies and brands. Founder: Agata Frankiewicz
Devoleum (Italy) — Tracks and stores every single step of the extra virgin olive oil supply chain in the blockchain allowing the final consumer to know the entire history of each product, from the comfort of their smartphone. Co-founder: Elisa Romondia
EmptyTrips (South Africa) — Through machine learning and smart matching algorithms, the EmptyTrips platform creates a marketplace where shippers, agents, and transport carriers can connect, bid for cargo, find transport assets to move their cargo, and even store or insure it for faster logistics, better economics, and a significantly lighter carbon footprint. Founder: Benji Coetzee
Enterprise Bot (Switzerland) — Develops AI powered chatbots to automate customer interactions and provide enterprises with a readily accessible digital agent to improve customer experience and create operationally efficiency for companies. Co-founder: Ravina Mutha
GrabTaxi (Malaysia) — A mobile app that connects customers directly to taxi drivers via phone. They submitted the plan to a Harvard startup competition in 2011. GrabTaxi is now available in 21 cities across the region. Co-founder: Tan Hooi Ling
INOREVIA (France) — Develops and commercializes a new generation of patented technologies that miniaturize lab instrument volumes for analysis. This drastically reduces costs, time and manipulation necessary to perform next-generation bioassays and precision medicine. Co-founder: Amel Bendali
JobsCentral (Singapore) — One of the largest job portals in Singapore with over 800,000 registered jobseekers at the time of its acquisition by US-based CareerBuilder in 2011. Co-founder, who exited: Shao-Ning Leigh Huang
Medina’s Health (United States) — A data-driven marketplace helping healthcare organizations safely and securely buy and sell their surplus and short-date medical supplies and equipment. Co-founder: Chloe Alpert
Menstrual Health Hub (Germany) — An online global platform specifically designed to be the home for all menstrual health actors and organizations. *Not all women and girls menstruate and not all those who menstruate identify as women or girl. Co-founders: Danielle I. Keiser and Milena Bacalja Perianes and Mariana de la Roche
Nano-X (Australia) — Changing the delivery of radiation therapy from large reference centres to small-town hospitals. An advanced on-board imaging/planning system captures 3D images in real-time, controls the radiation beam, and automatically delivers the right amount of energy to the right tissue, requiring fewer dedicated staff. Founder: Ilana Feain
ObjectBox (Germany) — The first high-performance NoSQL, ACID-compliant on-device database for mobile and IoT. It’s 10X faster than the industry leader, and takes only 1/10th of the code to implement. Founder: Vivien Dollinger
Pops Worldwide (Vietnam and Global) — Produces mobile apps as well as licensing and publishing media. Since September 2008, it has been accumulating the licenses and distribution rights for most of Vietnam’s music – up to 90%. It is the primary licensee of Vietnamese music on YouTube. Co-founder: Esther Nguyen
Qerja (Indonesia) — Allows jobseekers and employees to share information about companies publicly – much like the U.S. platform Glassdoor. Users go to the site to find transparent information about a company’s pay scale and hiring practices. Co-founder: Veronika Linardi
Sidekix (United States) — An urban discovery app which provides interest based routes across categories including shopping, culture, and nightlife. The app has had over half a million global downloads since its launch in 2016. Co-founder: Jenny Drezin
Solenica (Italy) — A smart natural lighting robot with an Italian design that's beautiful, affordable and easy-to-use. They bring real sunlight into your home where the sun can’t reach. Co-founders: Diva Tommei and Mackenzie Garrity
Tipa (Israel) — The company is set to address the dire need for food packaging that is genuinely ecologically-sensitive. Tipa is developing revolutionary biodegradable packages that automatically “perish” within 180 days. Co-founder: Daphna Nissenbaum
Tonic App (Portugal) — An app for medical doctors. It increases the efficiency of clinical work: allows fast and safe discussion of patient cases, team collaboration and aggregates content for day-to-day professional use, such as drug conversion tables or clinical calculators. Co-founder: Daniela Seixas
TRIK (England) — A Google map for structural inspection that turns photos from drones into a digital 3D model. You can make comments, take measurements or compare changes directly from the time-lapse 3D models. Co-founder: Pae Natwilai
Unima (Mexico) — Fast and low cost diagnostic and disease surveillance technology for diseases which allow doctors, nurses and community health workers to diagnose diseases directly at the point of care, in less than 15 minutes. Co-founder: Laura Mendoza
Vitrue Health (England) — A system that sits in the background of clinical assessments, autonomously measuring motor function metrics, freeing clinicians to focus on more complex patient interactions and saves millions in healthcare costs. Co-founder: Alex Haslehurst
Vouchery.io (Germany) — A predictive coupon, discount & loyalty automation platform that optimizes promotional strategy for customer engagement, while preventing coupon fraud. Co-founder: Ewelina Robaczek
WOOM (Spain) — A bespoke app that empowers women to maximize chances to be pregnant, gain time and eventually have kids faster; either through natural conception or, in necessary cases, by seeing a doctor. Co-founders: Laurence Fontinoy and Clelia Morales
ZipMatch (Philippines) — A real estate portal that lists and reviews properties for sale and rent and adds a professional touch on property brokerage by taking out old industry habits of cutting corners and pushing for sales without a strong sense of customer service. Co-founder: Chow Paredes