Long gone are the days where you had to be male to succeed in the business world. Of course, there is still an element of betterment that could be done, but there are now more and more women that are starting up their own companies, and founding absolutely legendary businesses. In fact, many people do not realize that the faces behind some of their best loved brands are actually women! We have chosen our favorite five most successful women startup founders, and explored a little bit of their history. Hopefully this will inspire many other women to take control of their own destinies, and start their own success story!
1. Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal
Greek American Sophia Amoruso loved fashion, and she loved vintage fashion in particular. Whilst living in San Francisco, she started her own little eBay store, through which she sold vintage clothing that she managed to find in second hand shops. Most of the time casual browsers had no idea that they were looking at genuine vintage labels, and would just pass them by – but Sophia knew what she was looking for. For example, one day whilst looking through clothes in a Salvation Army store, she found a jacket. A Chanel jacket. After buying it for $8, she went on to sell it in her eBay store for more than a thousand dollars.
Sophia called her store Nasty Gal, after the album by Betty Davis who is a big inspiration to Sophia. When she started out, absolutely everything had to be done by Sophia herself, as she did not have the funds nor the inclination to get in any other members of staff. However, by the time she had more than sixty thousand fans desperate to get their hands on the next piece of Nasty Gal clothing, Sophia realized that she had to drastically alter the way that she operated.
After opening the official Nasty Gal store as its own website, Sophia has gone from strength to strength. In 2012, Sophie was employing more than a hundred people. The company was making more than $24 million a year. Sophia was called by the New York Times “a Cinderella of tech”.
2. Julia Hartz, founder of Eventbrite
If you have ever booked online for a gig, a concert, or a theatre experience, then the chances are you have used Eventbrite. This technology company has made it so much safer and simpler for people to book tickets online knowing that they are enjoying a safe transaction, and have made it a lot easier for event planners to get their events into the public’s focus. Julia Hartz had studied broadcasting at Pepperdine University, and her creative mind immediately saw a way that she could solve two major problems when it came to event planning. Many people hate buying tickets over the internet because they are worried that their card details will be stolen, and event planners simply do not have the time or energy to take that many calls and promote the event on social media.
Eventbrite solves both of those issues perfectly. Luckily for her, Julia knew a guy that would be able to ensure that the financial and technological side of things was covered: her husband Kevin, who had been an initial investor in PayPal. Since the company Eventbrite has gone around the world, it has totally transformed the way that people think about booking tickets, and it has reassured so many people over and over again. In fact, it is difficult to remember a world without it, which is the mark of an excellent startup.
3. Alexa Andrzejewski, founder of Foodspotting
We’ve all been in that terrible position of desperately searching for a particular food, and knowing that we are just never going to find it. This was what happened to Alexa Andrzejewski when she was living in San Francisco. After spending months searching for acceptable Okonomiyaki, she realized that there was a massive market that no one had tapped; people looking for unusual and specific kinds of food in their local area. And that idea became Foodspotting.
The concept is actually incredibly simple – so simple in fact it is difficult to comprehend why no one else had done it before. There are two options with Foodspotting; to either Find Great Dishes by searching in your local area, or share a great an unusual dish in the Share Great Dishes section. That way the community around you will help you to find the delicious food that you have been searching to find for so long.
As well as finding a particular dish, it is actually really fun just to browse through what other people are eating in your local area. You will be amazed at the wide variety of restaurants that you probably didn’t even realise existed just off the beaten track – and that is why Alexa and her startup have become so successful. Who doesn’t love ogling someone else’s food?
4. Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki, founders of 23andme
Proving once again that women are able to do absolutely anything that they put their minds on – and that science is not just for the boys – Linda Avery and Anne Wojcicki have created one of the most inspiring and innovative companies that we have seen in a long time. Their startup is called 23andme, and is based around discovering more about ourselves as well as the entire human race. In fact, their startup could drastically change the way that we understand ourselves as a species. Confused? So were we.
In essence, the 23andme company is a way to enlarge our scientific understanding of our genetics. People that take part will send in their saliva and get their human genome DNA sequence created online. Each and every person that takes part will have help understanding the data that they see on the screen, and it will reveal some amazing things about the way that you have been made. Users can decide whether or not they want to keep their results private, or you can share the information with your medical doctor, or even your family.
There are so few startups that are genuinely interested in helping out the human race as well as those that have began it, it is very refreshing to see such a selfless company rise up. Linda and Anne have brought their extensive medical and technological knowledge to this project, and we really hope that we will see it expand and become more and more successful as more people donate their DNA to the project.
5. Annie Chang, founder of LOLapps.
And just in case we were getting a little too serious for you, we have ended with Annie Chang, one of the co founders of the startup LOLapps. Sometimes in life you just need to smile. You do not want anything too complicated to think about, and you do not want to get confused. And that is when many of us turn to puzzles, games, and quizzes. They are a little bit of harmless fun that can keep us entertained. Of course, in the modern world, where technology rains supreme, people that design puzzles, games, and quizs have to make sure that they move with the times. Annie Chang moved.
She moved the expectations of many people’s casual gaming experience, and brought an entirely new aspect to it that no one had ever thought of before: customisable games. With LOLapps, you do not just get the chance to enjoy a good game, but you can personalise it to your very own tastes. Instead of being something that absolutely anyone can play, it will become something that is yours and only yours. And after all, one of the continuous aspects of the human race is that we like to feel special. We like to feel different from everyone else – and there is nothing more different and special than having your very own unique games to play.
6. Hannah Chung, founder of Jerry the Bear
It may not sound that revolutionary at first: a young woman designs a new kind of teddy bear? Almost every parent has done that. But in fact, if you delve a little deeper, you will realise that Hannah Chung’s invention is one that will not only bring joy to many children’s lives, but also life saving medical treatment.
Jerry the Bear has been expertly designed to help young children that have recently been diagnosed with diabetes transition to the new kind of life that they will have to lead. After all, living with diabetes is perfectly possible, but it does mean that there are certain lifestyle changes that have to be made, and for young children the introduction of needles can be quite frightening. Enter Jerry the Bear. By learning how to take care of Jerry the Bear – including giving him insulin shots, making sure that he only eats food that is good for him, and measuring his glucose levels to see if he is healthy, a child can normalise what is happening to them, and fully process it.
Hundreds of thousands of children in the United States of America alone live with diabetes, and it is hoped that Jerry the Bear will be able to help them understand what is happening to them. By keeping the fun element, they still get to feel like children. Hannah Chung is only twenty two, so that means that there is plenty of time for her to develop her unique invention for other diseases and medical conditions.