Female entrepreneurs are continuing to change the world, becoming increasingly visible thanks to innovative ideas and successful companies. My list last year put Everly Well CEO and founder, Julia Taylor Cheek in the top spot. Cheek went on to pitch Shark Tank and increase her diagnostic startup’s fundraising total to $5 million. Turning to third on last year’s list, Techweek CEO Amanda Signorelli turned around her company’s reputation and returns on this year’s list at spot sixteen. On last year’s list at number eight, SheWorx cofounder Lisa Wang made repeated headlines in 2017 to highlight the funding gap between male and female founded startups.
2018 is sure to continue the trend, with these twenty female entrepreneurs helping to lead the charge. Here’s a closer look at CIO’s 20 female entrepreneurs you’ll want to keep an eye on in 2018:
1. Iman Oubou
With so many women making a mark with their entrepreneurial endeavors, shouldn’t there be a way to bring this community together? That’s exactly what Iman Oubou accomplishes with SWAAY, a digital media company designed to provide valuable content that showcases the amazing women disrupting the business world.
2. Kathryn Minshew
It’s one thing to search through online job listings — it’s quite another to discover a career path that will help you fulfill your aspirations. As Founder and CEO of The Muse, Kathryn Minshew has helped over 50 million people move forward in their careers with expert advice and personalized job recommendations. With the recent publication of her book “The New Rules of Work,” Minshew is going even further to take her knowledge to the masses.
3. Michelle McGrath
The right data can make all the difference in your ability to make smart business decisions. Michelle McGrath’s company DataTrue, now backed by the Australian government, gives companies confidence in their data with a comprehensive auditing and validation system. Ensuring the accuracy of analytic data ensures that executives are able to look at the big picture when making business decisions.
4. Payal Kadakia Pujji
Payal Kadakia Pujji turned her passion for fitness and exercise into ClassPass, an exercise program that has quickly spread across the country. With the help of a convenient app, users can quickly book from a selection of thousands of workouts. Group and video workouts allow those working on their fitness to become part of a larger community, building support and enthusiasm for reaching exercise goals.
5. Edith Harbaugh
The rollout of new software features can be quite risky, yet it is essential for businesses attempting to provide an optimal consumer experience. Fresh off of a $21 million Series B raise, Edith Harbaugh’s LaunchDarkly helps mitigate risk and streamline feature flag management, helping software developers deliver better continuous delivery results. LaunchDarkly’s clients include big-name brands like Microsoft and GoPro, and more will undoubtedly join the ranks soon.
6. Jenn Hyman
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to achieve a designer look — not with the help of Jenn Hyman’s Rent the Runway, that is. Renting fashionable clothing allows women to eliminate the stress of shopping for clothes, while also creating opportunities to try new styles. Best of all, it ensures that an overcrowded closet will never be a problem again.
7. Nicole Sanchez
When Nicole Sanchez founded Credit Hero, she knew that misconceptions surrounding credit kept many individuals from being able to achieve their financial goals. This service helps people better understand how to improve their credit score through meaningful chats and personalized recommendations. Now, as she also serves as an investment partner for XFactor Ventures, Sanchez expects to help new entrepreneurs take a similarly successful leap in 2018.
8. Morgan DeBaun
Morgan DeBaun recognized that the narratives surrounding black millennials needed to change, and to that end, she founded Blavity, a tech and media company that now reaches an audience of over seven million readers per month. With a growing network of sites and the introduction of millennial influencer conferences, Blavity will continue to make a difference by shaping conversations and bringing new insights to the black millennial community.
9. Ooshma Garg
It’s hard to enjoy a gourmet meal when you don’t have the time to prepare it — a common problem that Ooshma Garg, founder and CEO of Gobble, experienced firsthand when she first dove into startup life. Gobble subscribers are treated to a dinner delivery service that provides meals that can be prepared in a single pan in as little as ten minutes. Healthy, delicious meals that match a fast-paced lifestyle are sure to continue to gain traction with busy professionals.
10. Lisa Fetterman
Sous vide is another great culinary option for those with less time for meal prep, but achieving the right cooking temperature can be a challenge. Enter Nomiku, the brainchild of Lisa Fetterman. This immersion circulator simply clips onto a pot, allowing users to set the temperature, add water and the meal (inside a zip-seal bag), and walk away.
11. Shan-lyn Ma
Marriage has evolved quite a bit over the years — shouldn’t wedding registries keep up? That’s the exact problem Shan-lyn Ma set out to solve with Zola, a modern take on wedding registries. Free shipping, personalized registries, and customizable delivery scheduling have led to rapid growth for this popular (and free) service.
12. Stacey Ferreira
A changing workforce has made flexible scheduling more important than ever — and Forge gives companies and employees the tools to make that happen. Stacey Ferreira’s company has already made a big impact on employee scheduling and HR costs, and as more and more people work remotely, the needs for this valuable service will only continue to grow. Not lacking in ambition, she sold her first company–at the age of 20–to Reputation.com in 2013.
13. Danielle Sabrina
After becoming one of the youngest traders on Wall Street at the age of 19, Danielle Sabrina went on to found the media company What Vibes Your Tribe — which landed celebrities, athletes, fast-growing startups and Fortune 500 companies as clients. Most recently, she cofounded as COO the financial blockchain company Olympus Labs, which serves cryptocurrency investors.
14. Lisa Wang
Female entrepreneurs can make a huge difference in the business world — but barriers to access keep many from launching a high-growth startup. Lisa Wang and her company, SheWorx, seek to redefine what female leaders can accomplish, helping provide access to support systems, mentors, and quality knowledge. A growing network is sure to extend the impact of SheWorx in the coming year.
15. Miki Agrawal
Social entrepreneur Miki Agrawal has made a name for herself by founding several disruptive companies, including THINX, WILD, and Tushy. Agrawal’s passion for shaking up areas that are normally considered taboo (like going to the bathroom) has led to lots of media coverage and rapid growth for her startups. Expect her to continue to come up with big things in the future.
16. Amanda Signorelli
As CEO of Techweek, Amanda Signorelli has helped one of the tech industry’s top conferences scale to eight markets, creating new experiences and opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors alike. With the goal of supporting the next wave of innovative products and startups, Techweek will undoubtedly play a major role in the development of many exciting, new ventures.
17. Natasia Malaihollo
Natasia Malaihollo used her years of experience in front-end development to found Wyzerr, a smart survey system designed to increase consumer engagement and capture better data in real time. Playful, engaging survey forms greatly increase survey completion rates, creating fantastic opportunities for businesses big and small.
18. Regina Gwynn
In our busy, fast-paced world, finding time to schedule hair and beauty appointments is easier said than done. Regina Gwynn used her years of marketing experience to bring TresseNoire to life as its co-founder and CEO. This fast-growing beauty startup sends hair stylists to a customer’s home or office, better meeting the scheduling needs of multicultural female professionals.
19. Lauren Washington
Lauren Washington isn’t resting on her laurels after the success of KeepUp, an app that aggregates a user’s social media accounts in one easy-to-read feed. She recently helped co-found Black Women Talk Tech, a collective that seeks to help black women overcome their entrepreneurial challenges as they strive to build future billion-dollar businesses.
20. Julia Taylor Cheek
Taking control of your health can seem like an impossible challenge when you can’t even understand lab results. That’s why Julia Taylor Cheek founded EverlyWell, a medical testing company that gives clients at-home sample collection kits and lab results that can be understood without a medical degree. Within twelve months of her company’s launch, EverlyWell recorded annualized sales of $1 million.