Who are the leaders and emerging tech stars in New York City, who just so happen to be women?
There are a few rockstars everyone in the industry should know.
They were the first investors in companies like Pinterest and MakerBot, the brains behind startups worth hundreds of millions, and they’re generally awesome people.
Vice President, Time Warner Investments
Goldberg began her career at Morgan Stanley before going into venture capital. And this year, Goldberg helped Time Warner’s investment group put its money behind some ambitious companies. In June, the group invested in women’s news website Bustle, which has raised more than $10 million and quickly grew to about 20 million monthly uniques. Goldberg also invested in Epoxy, a company that connects YouTubers with fans, which raised a round total of $6.5 million, and data-management company Krux, which raised a round total of $35 million.
As more venture firms are looking to add female partners, Goldberg’s smart startup picks make her a serious poaching target.
Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
For a better understanding of Fisher’s keen startup eye, look at some of her previous investments: MakerBot, Pinterest, Vine, FiftyThree, Refinery29, and Stripe, many of which she found at the seed stage.
Her investment advantage? “I like to think I have a strong grasp of human psychology,” Fisher said about evaluating entrepreneurs.
President, BBG Ventures at AOL
Susan Lyne, the CEO of AOL’s brand group, stepped down in September but didn’t leave the company.
Instead, Lyne now heads up an AOL-owned venture fund that promotes female-led digital startups called BBG Ventures. It will invest in startups run by women and companies primarily related to “consumer Internet areas, including e-commerce and media.”
Prior to joining AOL, Lyne was CEO of Gilt Groupe.
Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin
Cofounders, The Skimm
Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin quit their jobs at NBC to start a daily email newsletter startup called The Skimm. In November 2013, The Skimm raised a $1.1 million seed round led by Hunter Walk and Satyal Patel’s investment firm, Homebrew.
In April, the startup raised a $1.6 million seed round from AFSquare, Five Island Ventures, Richard Greenfield, Gordon Crawford, Troy Carter, RRE Ventures, Homebrew, and Bob Pittman.
Two years after launch, in June, The Skimm reached the 500,000 subscriber mark.
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Victoria Eisner
Cofounder and incoming CEO, GLAMSQUAD
In September, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson — the cofounder of Gilt Groupe — became the company’s CEO and president. Cofounder Victoria Eisner, who was previously GLAMSQUAD’s CEO, became its executive vice president and chief creative officer.
Shan-lyn Ma, co-founder of wedding registry startup Zola, has worked on a number of hit startups in the fashion and e-commerce sectors. Prior to Zola, Ma co-founded one of Gilt Groupe’s verticals, Gilt Taste. Then she joined jewelry startup Chloe + Isabel as Chief Product Officer. Now she’s working wtih Gilt Groupe co-founder Kevin Ryan (who is also co-founder of Business Insider), on Zola.
Zola was founded in 2013 to reimagine the wedding registry. The e-commerce website provides easily customizable registry pages for couples — free.
Zola raised $3.3 million in November 2013 from Thrive Capital.
Disclosure: Kevin Ryan, a cofounder of Zola, is an investor in Business Insider.
CEO and Cofounder of DWNLD
Angel investor Fritz Lanman and Alexandra Keating recently launched DWNLD, a startup that turns websites and social media feeds into beautiful, responsive apps. Alexandra Keating is the CEO and cofounder of DWNLD, where she oversees an impressive team of engineers from places like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Tumblr, Facebook, and Rent the Runway.
Previously, Keating was the vice president of marketing at Thrillist Media Group, where she was instrumental in the company’s 500% year-on-year growth.
Katharine Zaleski and Milena Berry
PowerToFly is a new company that’s helping to bridge the gender gap in the startup world. Started by two women who are no strangers to startups themselves, PowerToFly connects companies that are looking to hire female tech talent with women anywhere in the world who are qualified for tech positions at startups.
Its clients include Hearst, BuzzFeed, and RebelMouse.
Zaleski was formerly working on Bedrocket Media and was an executive at The Huffington Post. Berry comes from a family of entrepreneurs; her husband Paul is the co-founder of RebelMouse.
Christina Mercando has been in the startup and tech circuits for a while. She was previously VP of Product at eBay-acquired startup, Hunch. At eBay, Mercando was a senior designer and product manager. Now she’s working on wearable technology that could be much more appealing to women than smart watches.
Her smart-jewelry company Ringly is making wearable tech for women in the form of an 18-karat gold light-up cocktail ring that connects to a smartphone to notify the wearer when she gets a call or text.
You can customize and control the blinking lights and vibrations as well as which apps you receive notifications from. In April 2013, Christina Mercando quit her job to focus on Ringly. By August, Ringly had received $1 million in funding from Mesa+, First Round Capital, PCH, and Andreessen Horowitz.
Then they went to work building the prototype for four months in San Francisco. Ringly officially launched this summer, and each ring costs $145 to preorder. Once the preorder rings ship this fall, the price will go up to $195.
Cofounder and CEO, goTenna
GoTenna is a pocket-sized device that solves the problem of having no WiFi. It pairs up with your smartphone to let you communicate — even when you don’t have service.
Cofounders Daniela and Jorge Perdomo came up with the idea for goTenna when they found themselves in the destruction in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. By February 2013, Daniela had created physical prototypes for a gadget to help people communicate without service.
In December 2013, goTenna raised $1.8 million in seed funding.
Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur
Cofounders, Of A Kind
In 2010, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo started Of A Kind to help indie designers sell their stuff by telling their stories to customers and creating a relationship between the two.
Of A Kind is entirely bootstrapped — Mazur and Cerulo have never raised venture capital funding — but despite that, according to Forbes, the website is “already generating seven-figure sales.”
Cofounder and CMO, Spring
Cofounded by Ara Katz, Alan Tisch, and Octavian Coastache, Spring wants to give you the best possible experience for buying stuff on your phone or tablet. Spring raised a $7.5 million Series A round in July from investors like Slow Ventures, Kevin Colleran, Founder Collective, SV Angel, Google Ventures, and BoxGroup.
It launched with 300 retail partners and makes buying and shopping for clothing items as easy as dragging your finger across the screen.
Prior to Spring, Katz was a founding member of Beachmint.
Founder and Editor-at-Large, The Dodo
Izzie Lerer cofounded The Dodo — a media company focused on content about animals — in January. It hit 1 million uniques in its first month, faster than any media company her father, Huffington Post cofounder Ken Lerer, says he’s ever seen.
In September, The Dodo received a $4.68 million Series A funding round led by Discovery, with participation from investors SoftBank Capital, Sterling Equities, Greycroft Partners, and RRE Ventures. The Dodo has also received $2 million in seed funding from Lerer Ventures, Greycroft, Softbank Capital, Sterling Equities, and RRE.
Founder, CEO, Sols
Sols, the “future of footwear,” was cofounded by Kegan Schouwenburg and Joel Wishkovsky in 2013. Using 3D printing, Sols works with physical therapists, podiatrists, and orthopedic doctors to provide customizable, orthopedic insoles for their patients.
The startup raised $6.4 million in a Series A round in April from investors including Grape Arbor VC, FundersGuild, Felicis Ventures, Rothenberg Ventures, RRE Ventures, and Founders Fund.
Prior to Sols, Schouwenburg was Director of Industrial Engineering and Ops at Shapeways.
Before Poptip existed, Kelsey Falter was a college student working on markover.com — a site that allowed creative people to collaborate together in real time. She submitted an application to TechStars and left Notre Dame just a few credits shy of a degree to pursue Poptip, a service that provides instant feedback for companies through polls conducted on social media.
After raising $2.4 million, Poptip was acquired in July by Palantir Technologies.
Cofounders, Grand Street
Amanda Peyton, Joe Lallouz, and Aaron Henshaw launched Grand Street last year as a marketplace to offer the latest electronics gadgets to members every other day. Its appeal comes from the fast that it’s a flash-sales site, so you need to act fast. Grand Street sets itself apart by testing every gadget it sells.
In April, Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods, bought Grand Street. Both marketplaces plan to operate independently.
Before Grand Street, Peyton co-founded a Y Combinator startup, MessageParty, and was an associate at venture capital firm, NEA.
Lulu lets women anonymously rate men they know. The app, which pulls in Facebook information to detect your gender, lets women discuss a guy’s ambition, appearance, and more using mini quizzes and hashtags.
This year, Lulu decided to let men sign on to the app too. Guys can check their scores (from 0 to 10) on the Lulu app, and can receive analytics about their profiles (including the number of women who have searched for them, rated them, and followed them). Allison Schwartz, who launched the app with Chong, says over 1 million guys have downloaded Lulu.
When Lulu raised $3.5 million in mid-2013, the app had received 80 million profiles views, 12 million searches and 6 million user sessions. Those numbers have likely all skyrocketed since.
Chong founded Lulu in London before relocating the company to New York. She was previously global head of marketing and PR at Upstream.
Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky
Daniella Yacobovsky and Amy Jain met at Harvard Business School and are cofounders of BaubleBar, an e-commerce site specializing in jewelry that’s frequently featured in magazines like Glamour. Earlier this year, BaubleBar experimented with brick-and-mortar stores, launching Nordstrom Loves BaubleBar popup shops in 35 Nordstroms.
BaubleBar raised $10 million in a Series B round in July, from investors like Greycroft Partners, Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, TriplePoint Capital, Aspect Ventures, and Burch Creative Capital.
Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp
In April, subscription cosmetics service and e-commerce website Birchbox raised $60 million in a Series B round from Glynn Capital Management, Consigliere Brand Capital, Aspect Ventures, Accel Partners, First Round, and Viking Global Investors.
In July, Birchbox opened its first physical storefront in SoHo. The four-year-old startup is still growing rapidly. RetailTouchPoints says Birchbox has “800,000 subscribers, 800 brand partners, 6,500 products in the e-Commerce shop and 250 employees worldwide.”
Barna and Beauchamp met at Harvard Business School.
Cofounder, Paperless Post
Brother and sister James and Alexa Hirschfeld launched e-commerce website Paperless Post in 2009. Paperless Post allows users to create and customize virtual and paper stationery; Alexa, a Harvard graduate, is head of product at the young company.
In April, Paperless Post raised $25 million in a Series C round from Tim Draper, Ram Shriram, Mousse Partners, SV Angel, RRE Ventures, and August Capital. Its last round valued the company at about $150 million.
Jennifer Fleiss, Jennifer Hyman and Camille Fournier
Cofounders, Head of BD, CEO, and Head of Engineering, Rent the Runway
Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss are cofounders of clothing-rental service Rent the Runway. Camille Fournier came to Rent the Runway in 2011 from Goldman Sachs, and she heads a team of 30 engineers.
In July, Rent The Runway announced a new subscription service called Unlimited, which, for $75 a month, allows customers to rent three accessories at a time.
This fall, Rent the Runway’s Secaucus, New Jersey, warehouse will move to a bigger, 160,000 square-foot space, according to Forbes. Last year, Rent the Runway has a reported $50 million annual revenue. The founders are looking to raise more money this fall — according to Forbes, at a valuation above $750 million.
Payal Kadakia and Mary Biggins
Payal Kadakia and Mary Biggins were running a failed startup, Classtivity. In its first year, the MindBody-like startup got fewer than 100 signups for local workout classes on its platform.
But Kadakia and Biggins noticed a few of its users trying to hack a promotion it ran that allowed users to visit local workout venues at a discounted rate. So Kadakia and Biggins scrapped their old idea to be a B2B class-management platform and began offering gym-like memberships to its users.
ClassPass costs $99 a month and it lets users sign up for hundreds of local spin, barre, yoga and dance classes in New York, San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles. ClassPass grew much faster than Classtivity ever did, and got 350,000 class sign-ups its first year.
In March, ClassPass raised $2 million in seed funding from investors like BoxGroup and SV Angel. In September it raised a $12 million Series A from notable angels including David Tisch, Shana Fisher, Kal Vepuri, Fritz Lanman, and Hank Vigil.
Since ClassPass launched in May 2013, more than 350,000 classes have been booked on ClassPass.
Cofounders, Wearable Experiments
Ben Moir and Billie Whitehouse design garments with technology practically built into the fibers. After designing a promotion for Durex called Fundawear — underwear with built-in vibrators controlled by an app on your phone — Whitehouse and Moir created Wearable Experiments. Fundawear generated more than 8 million YouTube views and 55,000 purchase requests. The viral campaign also won a Cannes Silver Lion.
Whitehouse handles the creative and design elements for Wearable Experiments while Moir tackles the tech. Together, they’ve designed an interactive piece of sports apparel, the Alert Shirt, and a blazer with built-in GPS, Navigate. They haven’t taken money from investors yet.
“The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bulls—,” Choi said at TechCrunch Disrupt this spring. “They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color.”
Choi doesn’t want to raise a ton of money from investors. Instead, she wants to teach everyone how to print their own makeup and start a beauty revolution that turns every home into a personal, Loreal-like shop.
Managing Editor, Bustle
A cofounder of Bleacher Report, Bryan Goldberg launched Bustle in 2013. He raised $6.5 million from investors like Social + Capital Partnership, Time Warner Investments, Google Ventures, 500 Startups, and Rothenberg Ventures. Goldberg hired Kate Ward in May to head up Bustle’s editorial staff. Bustle is a news, entertainment, lifestyle, and fashion site geared toward women.
Ward was formerly at Time, where she was promoted multiple times during a few year period when most of the print world was getting laid off. Before joining Bustle, she was Executive Director of Hollywood.com, having started as an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly just five years prior. Under her editorial leadership, Bustle generates about 20 million monthly uniques.
In July, Bustle raised another $5 million from The Social+Capital Partnership and Time Warner Investments.
Senior Scientist, Modern Meadow
Brooklyn-based Modern Meadows is revolutionizing the food industry by growing meat, fish, poultry, and leather in its labs in its lab using biofabrication, which takes small biopsies from animals while leaving them unharmed. Modern Meadow raised $10 million in a Series A round of funding from ARTIS Ventures and Horizons Ventures in July.
Marga is one of the senior scientists who is paving the way for the revolutionary technology.
Brooklyn-based craft sales site Etsy is growing and has been profitable since 2009. Kristina Salen joined Etsy as its CFO in January 2013. Salen previously spent seven years at Fidelity Investments, where she led the media, Internet, and telecommunications group.
In May, Etsy raised a $5.6 million round of fundraising. A month later, Etsy completed its biggest acquisition yet. A Little Market, a French e-commerce site where users can purchase artisanal and handmade products shipped from France, is Etsy’s sixth acquisition. It also acquired New York City startup Grand Street in the spring.