When you don't fit into an existing mold, it's time to create your own — and that's exactly what these women-run startups you should know about are doing. The startup landscape has long been dominated by men, especially in the tech world: TechCrunch reported that in 2017, only 17 percent of startups have a female founder. What's more is female-founded startups have a more difficult time raising capital than male founded companies.
"The biggest issue is not the number of women starting companies, but the access to capital as you move up the food chain," Susan Lyne, a co-founder of BBG Ventures, told TechCrunch. To help even the playing field, Crunchbase created a database of investment firms geared toward investing in women-run startups.
Despite the funding challenges, many women are flipping the script and creating the companies they want to work for. Harvard Business Review published an article that outlines four factors that predict startup success, and one of those factors is the company having a female founder.
"This isn’t surprising, given other research about the performance of diverse teams; it’s a timely reminder of the importance of increasing female entrepreneurship and of the opportunity that VCs may be missing by continuing to disproportionately fund white men," HBR reported.
Can I get a hell yeah? Here are women-run startups to stoke your entrepreneurial spirit.
1. Simple Habit
Simple Habit is a five-minute meditation app founded by former Wall Street investment banker Yunha Kim. While founding her first start up, Kim was so stressed that she turned to meditation. Since then, this millennial woman has been meditating for a few minutes a day, and it has improved her life dramatically, according to the Simple Habit website.
In fact, Kim found meditating so beneficial that she decided to build Simple Habit to help busy people experience the benefits of mindfulness.
Designed by a team of a Harvard psychologists and meditation experts, Simple Habit meditations are just five-minutes. These short meditations are personalized for all kinds of life situations from going to work in the morning to preparing for a difficult conversation to dealing with PMS. Basically, Simple Habit can help you get through your day.
We've all been there: Trying to find a bra that fits, isn't going to make you adjust it eleventy million times a day, and still looks good. Tall order. Enter ThirdLove: Heidi Zak founded the company after being frustrated at the thought of wearing an uncomfortable bra to an holiday party, according to the ThirdLove website.
She had two choices: "Cram herself into a dressing room in search of a new bra, or wear an old, ill-fitting one and be uncomfortable all night. Not willing to choose between bad and worse, she decided to create a third option: Build a better bra."
ThirdLove doesn't require you to set foot in a store, which is perfect for me because I hate shopping. The website offers an innovative "Breast Shape Dictionary" that enables you to identify your shape, and find styles that fit your body impeccably. They also have half sizes, and if you don't love it you can return the bra for free. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
You spend one-third of your life in bed. Why not make that time as comfortable and enjoyable as possible? Ariel Kaye couldn't agree more, and this is why she founded Parachute — a company that's revolutionizing bedding.
"Years ago while traveling through Italy, I found myself in a picturesque hotel on the Amalfi Coast. After a long day, I got to my room ready to unwind. I pulled back the duvet, arranged the pillows to my liking, crawled into bed... and found perfection that I didn’t know existed. Those sumptuous sheets were softer than anything I had ever experienced," Kaye said on the Parachute website.
"I returned home from Italy on a quest for that perfection. It was a search that left me frustrated, confused, and disappointed. You spend one-third of your life in bed, so your sleep experience matters. Yet I couldn’t find a single brand that was high quality, beautiful, affordable and convenient to purchase. They say if you can’t find it, create it. And so I did."
In addition to being downright dreamy to sleep on, Parachute is also environmentally responsible. Linens from Parachute are free of synthetics and chemicals, and their manufacturer’s Responsible Down Standard certification ensures the down they use comes from humanely treated ducks.
Maybe you don't have a doctor you like, or you're traveling and can't get to the doctor. What's a girl to do? There's an app for that. Kate Ryder founded Maven to make it easier for women to get immediate, professional care, from someone they trust. Wherever they are, whenever they need it.
And, Maven is affordable. You can use the code FIRSTFREE for a free visit your first time. After that prices range from $18 to $70 depending on which type of doctor you need to speak with. In many cases that's less than your co-pay for your health insurance, and it's definitely less than a trip to the emergency room. In many cases you can get a diagnosis or prescription on the app.
What's more is Maven wants to create a safe space for women to talk about women's health issues. "Absurdly, issues affecting all women —menstruation, contraception, fertility — remain taboo," Maven's website noted. "Creating a more equal system means bringing women’s health out of the shadows."
5. Inspiration at Work
This one is brand new. Inspiration at Work was founded in the Silicon Beach area of Los Angeles in 2017 by two female teachers certified in mindfulness, neuroscience and emotional intelligence by the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute — Google's top leadership development program. Their new startup is focused on the art and science of creating mindful teams to make workplaces a better place to be.
Co-founders Amy Sandler and Ana Maria Dorrance believe that work doesn't always have to feel like work. Dorrance and Sandler tout that a self-aware employee leads to more engaged teams and better overall performance. "We don't just believe it — our decades of workplace experience and the research demonstrate it."
Inspiration at Work customizes mindfulness programs for businesses to help employees foster better relationships with themselves, and with each other.
6. The Hum
Founded by Rachael Pazdan, The Hum is a unique all-female music series with an emphasis on collaborations between musicians who have never played together before, according to The Hum's You Tube channel. With a goal of uniting and empowering solidarity between the eclectic community of women who make music in New York City and beyond, the Hum seeks to foster a larger audience for these artists by providing a platform that showcases their artistry in a new and exciting way.
Pazdan decided to begin producing the series after noticing the lack of women in the live music scene.
"I noticed a gap in live music and found myself asking where are all the women? Especially when it came to DJs, jazz musicians, improvised music, drummers, and more, women seemed totally underrepresented on stage," Pazdan told The Le Sigh. "I also love collaboration, and I was inspired to put something together where women could be seen working with other women throughout a full-length concert. I had never in my life seen an entire night of only women playing music, so it was very exciting to make that happen."
7. Outdoor Voices
Outdoor Voices, founded by Tyler Haney, is an active-wear company that focuses on recreation versus competition. "We're freeing fitness from performance," Haney recently told Business Insider. "How do we help people be active on an everyday basis without feeling pressure for it? It's really about making activity fun and social and participating together."
The company also features a section on its website called The Recreationalist, which offers notes and advice for different activities, like caring for a cactus. Outdoor Voices also promotes friends getting together IRL.
"If you like having fun, we’ll get along. We’re joggers, dog walkers, hikers, and dribble-dribblers — a community of Recreationalists who prefer a pickup game with friends to slashing seconds off a time," the company noted on its website. "We inspire doing things together by doing things together."
Hooked, an innovative new storytelling app, delivers bite-sized fiction for the Snapchat generation. Founded by Prerna Gupta and Parag Chordia, the app delivers six-minute horror stories told entirely via text message.
"Our goal was engagement, getting teenagers and millennials spend time in a narrative and complete that story and not get distracted," Gupta told CNBC. "Horror was the first thing that clicked."
If you want to get hooked on horror stories, this is a pretty genius way to do it, though it might make you scared of your phone. Gulp.
Take it from me, planning your wedding can be a nightmare. Shouldn't it be fun? Loverly thinks so. This startup, dubbed the Pinterest of weddings, was founded by Kellee Khalil, who believes that wedding planning should be an exciting experience versus one that makes you burst into tears.
Khalil founded Loverly after experiencing first-hand the frustrations of planning a wedding after she took on maid-of-honor duties for her sister's wedding. Khalil thought there had to be a better way, and since there wasn't, she created one.
"Maybe you want a rustic-chic wedding, with a charming mix of homespun and elegant accoutrements, or you fancy a white-tie wedding at the tippy-top of high taste — either way, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting married today, because a lot has changed over the years and we’ve been keeping up," the Loverly website advised.
After the last presidential election you know that voting is more important than ever, and this is why you need TurboVote. Co-founded by Kathryn Peters, TurboVote helps simplify the voting process by keeping track of all of your local and national elections for you. You have a lot to remember, and staying up to date on elections is vital to the future of democracy. Now you don't have to do it alone.
Feeling inspired yet? If you're looking to set the world on fire like the boss you are, here's where to get funding for your startup. Because, we need more women at the top.