Strong women in the tech world are powerful role models for young women entering the industry. However, most tech companies are still founded and led by men, with, at present, only about 5% of CEO positions being filled by women. Women are, however, blazing a trail with each year seeing an increasing number of female-founded tech startups. These success stories are fuelled by innovative ideas and market knowledge backed up with patience, diligence, inspiration, and a good grounding in the tech industry (such as provided by Ironhack courses). Hopefully, before long, women at the top of tech industries won't be newsworthy novelties.
1. Anne Boden: Starling Bank
Anne Boden shows enterprising women what's possible. Starling, her award-winning digital bank, was founded in 2014. Within five years, it had received $300 million in funding. Boden studied computer science and chemistry at Swansea University before starting her career at the UK's high-street bank Lloyds. While at Lloyds, she saw that digital technology could revolutionize the way individuals and small businesses banked. The resulting Starling Bank app allows customers to manage their finances in real-time.
2. Tania Boler: Elvie
Women's health expert Tania Boler founded Elviein 2013 and is now its CEO. Elvie improves women's lives with simple, innovative, and effective products. These include a Kegel pelvic floor trainer that has been recommended and prescribed by hundreds of healthcare professionals and a wearable breast pump that works silently while women go about their daily lives. At Elvie, Boler leads a team of female engineers, designers, and scientists.
3. Whitney Wolfe Herd: Bumble
Whitney Wolfe Herd helped make Tinder a success before creating a dating app of her own creation in 2014, Bumble. In many ways, it is a conventional dating app. Bumble's unique twist is that women are in control of the interactions. Although intelligent, savvy women were striding through the corridors of power, their dating lives were outmoded. Wolfe Herd believed they shouldn't have to wait for men to contact them. The first month saw 100k downloads, and today, there are over 100 million Bumble users. Even better, modern Bumble isn't just about dating. It's a powerful networking tool.
4. Limor Fried: Adafruit Industries
Limor "Ladyada" Fried (an MIT engineering graduate) founded her open-source hardware company, Adafruit Industries in 2005. Adafruit designs, manufactures, and markets electronics products and is so successful that in 2018 Fried was named by Forbes as one of "America's Top 50 Women in Tech." Determined and hard-working Fried is a wonderful role model for women starting in the tech business.
5. Leah Busque: TaskRabbit
Founded by Leah Busque in 2008, TaskRabbitis simple in concept but successful in action, matching people requiring odd jobs with taskers in their neighborhood. Needing someone to quickly pick up some dog food for her from a store when she was too busy to do it, Busque realized there was a gap in the market and TaskRabbit was born. Nearly 10 years later, IKEA matched the success of Busque's company with a demand for flat-pack assemblers and bought her out. Now, assembling IKEA furniture makes up 10% of TaskRabbit's business.
6. Gina Bianchini: Mighty Networks
Gina Bianchini has given Mark Zuckerberg a run for his money. Her platform Mighty Networks, launched in 2017, is often referred to as an 'alternative to Facebook'. It allows brands and content creators to build social networks and capture online traffic. Bianchini isn't new to the tech world, in 2004 she was co-founder of Ning, a content-creation platform. Within three years, Ning had attracted 100 million users and was bought by Glam Media in 2011.
7. Alicia Thomas: DIBS Technology
Getting the pricing right for surge-demand industries (such as Uber) is tricky, but Alicia Thomas does it with DIBS, an all-in-one bookings platform. Used by boutique gyms and fitness centers, DIBS' dynamic pricing technology adjusts prices according to demand, allowing for maximum revenue and customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are repeat customers. Three years of market research into consumer behavior went into the software's development.
8. Madeline Parra: Purple Dot
Stock control is an important part of retail success, and Purple Dot, launched by Madeline Parra in 2019, offers a seamless way of managing stock and customer demand. With eCommerce, converting searches into sales is vital, but very often this doesn't match up with stock on shelves, causing delivery delays. Alternatively, surplus stock can sit on shelves and end up being too heavily discounted or even destroyed. A serial entrepreneur, Parra designed a business that uses waitlists and smart analytics to move more stock and reduce waste, leading to a better profit margin.
9. Professor Sabine Bahn: Psyomics
As a professor of Neurotechnology and Neuropsychiatry, Sabine Bahn understands mental health but knows that accessing accurate diagnoses and care is often difficult. Her 2015 start-up, Psyomics, brought a powerful mental health assessment tool to the market. With Censeo, busy family practitioners can accurately assess the mental health needs of their patients. This leads to prompt and targeted care and improved long-term outlooks.
10. Professor Clare Grey: Nyobolt
While not involved directly in tech design, Professor Clare Grey is making an impact on how technology is powered. Devices depend on batteries but compromises have to be made between power, longevity, and sustainability. Founded in 2020, Nyobolt produces high-power ultra-fast-charging batteries using niobium tungsten oxide. Their extended life is ten times longer than the lithium-ion batteries traditionally used with modern tech devices. Grey is no stranger to eco-friendly tech. It was during her time at DuPont that her interest in the conflict between battery development and the environment started.