20 Young Women Entrepreneurs and Their Rising Companies

by / ⠀Startup Advice / May 1, 2012

Today, we are looking at some of the amazing women who are taking the startup world by storm. These women have raised millions in funding, have millions of users and are making money. Their companies range from one that creates a soccer ball that doubles as an Eco-friendly generator, to a 16 year old with a fashion accessory line backed by investors like Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec. Check out the full list of these women and the great companies they are building…

Jennifer Carter Fleiss

Company: Rent the Runway

Age: 27

The numbers: $30 million funding with over 2 million members

Rent the Runway is a membership-based website that rents high-end designer apparel and accessories on a 4- or 8-day basis. The company was founded by two Harvard Business School graduates, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss. Launched in November 2009, the website now offers over 25,000 dresses and accessories from over 165 designers such as Badgley Mischka, Vera Wang and Calvin Klein. The company is also on 150 campuses through their Runway Rep college ambassador program.

Alexa von Tobel

Alexa-Von-TobelCompany: LearnVest

Age: 27

The numbers: $24.5 million in funding

Alexa started her career at Morgan Stanley, left the job and invested $75,000 into her company LearnVest. LearnVest quickly recruited advisors like the former CEO of the Huffington Post and former COO of DailyCandy. After securing $1.1 million in funding in 2009 the site launched and has signed up over 100,000 members.

LearnVest focuses on helping young women develop good financial habits early on in life. Today, the company has raised over $24.5 million in funding and with an experienced team behind it they are poised for growth.

Juliette Brindak

Company: MissOandFriends.com

Age: 22

The numbers: $15 million valuation

Meet Juliette who released her first book at the age of 16 which has gone on to sell over 100,000 copies. Juliette came up with the idea for Miss O and Friends at the age of 10 and by 19 the company was worth over $15 million.

The company focuses on the “tween” market and prides itself on being for girls built by girls. Juliette prides the company on helping build self-esteem in young girls and developing who they are.

Clara Shih

Company: Hearsay Social

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Age: 29

The numbers: $21 million in funding

Hearsay Social provides the first comprehensive social media SaaS offering for brands with local branches and representatives. Hearsay Social helps these “corporate/local” organizations centrally measure, manage, and deploy content, compliance, monitoring, and analytics across corporate and local social media presences including Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Maddie Bradshaw

Maddie BradshawCompany: M3 Girl Designs

Age: 16

The numbers: $5 million+ in sales

Maddie Bradshaw is the founder of the $5 million a year company, M3 Girl Designs. What started as simple locker decorations has turned into a thriving company for young girls.  The companies necklaces and designs are sold throughout the U.S. and they sell over 50,000 necklaces a month.

Maddie has plans to expand the company into other accessories beyond just necklaces in the near future. You may recognize her from the show Shark Tank where she landed $300K from Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec.

Hayley Barna & Katia Beauchamp

Company:  Birchbox

Age: 27, 28

The numbers: $11.9 million in funding

BirchBox is a monthly subscription service that delivers beauty product samples to users on a monthly basis. The site offers relevant editorial content and a e-commerce site. With $11.9 million in funding and over 45,000 users and launched in Sept. 2010.  Birchbox is invested in by Lerer Ventures and Sam Lessin who was featured on last year’s Most Influential Young Entrepreneur list.

Susan Gregg Koger

Company: Modcloth

Age: 26

The numbers: $19.8 million in funding

Founded by high school sweethearts, Eric Koger and Susan Gregg Koger, ModCloth.com is an online clothing, accessories, and decor retailer with a focus on independent and vintage-inspired fashion. Modcloth does alright for itself with $15 million+ in revenue in 2009 and a reported 138 employees.

Alexa Hirschfeld

Alexa HirschfeldCompany: Paperless post

Age: 27

The numbers: $6 million in funding

Paperless Post was founded in 2009 by Alexa and her brother on the idea that people would use the internet to send wedding invites. So far that hunch has been a solid one as they have secured the company $6.3 million in funding and brought it to profitability in 2010.

Today, the company is continuing to grow as they bring the formal and personalized feel of offline communication to people with the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the online world.

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Cathy Edwards

Company: Chomp

Age: 29

The numbers: $2.67 million in funding

Founded in 2009 by Ben Keighran and Cathy Edwards, Chomp, Inc. is the only company to enable app search based on what an app actually does. One billion apps are being downloaded every month. As the number of apps explodes, it’s become difficult for users to find the perfect app for what they want to do. Chomp’s patent-pending algorithm is able to understand what an app does and what a user wants and then makes the best match.

Danielle Snyder and Jodie Snyder

Danielle Snyder and Jodie SnyderCompany: Dannijo

Age: 26 & 29

The numbers: $1 million+ revenue

These two sisters have always had a thing for fashion and designing jewelery. Even in high school friends took note of their creativity which led them to open their first store in Jacksonville, FL.  Even though they ended up closing that store as they went off to college the two reunited in NYC a few years later to revisit their passion.

They launched Dannijo in 2008 and it quickly grew as their jewelry was worn by celebrities like Beyonce and has been seen at New York’s fashion week, in shows like Gossip Girl and the Today Show. Today, the company boasts over $1 million in revenue and has been seen on numerous celebrities and fashion magazines.

Alexa Andrzejewski

Company: Foodspotting

Age: 27

The numbers: $3.75 million in funding

Alexa Andrzejewski is the co-founder and CEO of Foodspotting, a website and mobile app that lets you find and recommend dishes instead of just restaurants. Foodspotting was named a “Hot Trend of 2010” by iTunes and one of Time Magazine’s “50 Best Websites of 2010,” and Alexa has been featured in Inc Magazine’s “30 Under 30” and Gourmet Live’s “50 Women Game-Changers” in food.

Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman

Company: Uncharted Play

Age: 23, 23

The numbers: $2 million+ in revenue

In May of 2011, Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman founded Uncharted Play–a new kind of social enterprise that would show the world that doing good and doing good business need not be mutually exclusive. The Uncharted Play dream began in 2008 when Matthews and Silverman met during their junior year at Harvard College. Both studying to be social scientists with no experience in engineering, they nonetheless worked together on a class project to invent the SOCCKET–a soccer ball that doubles as an eco-friendly portable generator.

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Ooshma Garg

Company: Gobble

Age: 24

The numbers: $1.2 million in funding

Gobble is an online marketplace for home-cooked food. Local chefs may build a personal online storefront, and offer their meals to nearby families and companies. Currently in alpha mode, Gobble processes over 500 orders a month in the Bay Area. Founded in 2010, Gobble is based in Palo Alto, CA.

Jessica Scorpio

Company: Getaround

Age: 24

The numbers: $5.13 million in funding

Getaround provides a peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace that enables car owners to rent their cars – from Priuses to Teslas – to a community of trusted drivers by hour, day, or week using just their smartphones.

Car owners invest huge amounts of time and money into an asset they barely use. The average car is idle 92% of the time, while potential drivers walk past blocks of underutilized cars. “We are here to connect the dots… to help people get around.”

Shama Kabani

Company: The Marketing Zen Group

Age: 27

The numbers: Revenue in the millions

In 2009, at 24, Kabani founded The Marketing Zen Group, a social media marketing firm in Dallas. The company, which she launched with $1,500 of her own money, specializes in all aspects of web marketing for clients–from Facebook and Twitter to blogs and video.

Shama hosts a web TV show about technology. Her 2010 book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz and Increase Revenue, is the No. 4 seller about web marketing on Amazon.com.

Desiree Vargas Wrigley

Company: Giveforward

Age: 29

The numbers: $500k in funding

GiveForward pages empower friends and family to send love and financial support to patients as they navigate a medical crisis. Create a page today to spread hope and contribute to a loved one’s out-of-pocket medical expenses.


Caren Maio

Company: Nestio

Age: 28

The numbers: $823k in funding

Looking for a new place to live is frustrating, stressful and time-consuming. Listings are scattered, false advertisements are everywhere, and dead-ends are common.

Nestio is the easiest way for consumers to make the best and most informed decision on their next home.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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