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20 NYC’s Female Founded Startups

New York City's startup scene stands out for its flourishing and welcoming ecosystem, particularly for female entrepreneurs. NYC ranks among the top 5 ecosystems for female-founded ventures globally. Take a look at the list of 20 top female-led startups.
Two young female founders of startups looking at financial results on digital tablet in front of their team

In addition to being well known for its famous monuments and cultural diversity, New York City has a flourishing and welcoming startup ecosystem. NYC ranks as one of the top 5 ecosystems for female founded startups, outperforming global averages with an estimated 23% female founder share of local startups. The city’s strong startup output and success rate help to challenge the gender inequality frequently associated with the tech industry and have an impact on other prominent ecosystems.

Noteworthy Female-Led Startups

Two prominent examples of successful female founded firms in NYC are Class Pass, a marketplace for scheduling fitness classes, and By Chloe, a fast-casual vegan restaurant chain. While Class Pass obtained an outstanding $85 million in Series D fundraising, By Chloe was able to collect $31 million in funding. These accomplishments show how successful female entrepreneurs are in business and how they can succeed across a variety of sectors.

Support from Non-profit Resources

Through programs like Women.nyc, the NYC government actively encourages female founded enterprises. By providing women with the skills and resources they need for professional and commercial success, this government initiative reaffirms New York City’s position as the ideal city for female entrepreneurs. WE NYC, a collaboration between the City and Citigroup, offers assistance at different phases of company development through initiatives including WE Connect, WE Fund, WE Legal, and WE Master.

Membership Organizations for Women

There are several membership groups in NYC designed exclusively for female entrepreneurs. The New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2002 to support women who want to succeed financially by working for themselves and owning their businesses. Professionals from all backgrounds have access to chances for personal and professional growth thanks to the American Business Women’s Association branch in New York City. By providing financing programs, education, mentorship, and networking opportunities, the Tory Burch Foundation supports small companies run by women.

Access to Funding

Several investment funds give female entrepreneurs priority in an effort to close the financing gap. The Female Founders Fund concentrates on making early investments in female-founded software and internet firms throughout the globe. BBG Ventures supports women who use technology to solve everyday problems and alter routines. These initiatives offer vital financial assistance to female business owners in NYC and beyond.

Conferences & Events

To encourage and inspire female founders, NYC sponsors a variety of conferences, events, and contests. A multi-city effort called Project Entrepreneur gives women access to the resources, training, and networking opportunities they need to create successful businesses. A digital center, venture contests, and a 5-week accelerator program are all included in the plan. Additionally, NYC established the “Shop Women Owned NYC” campaign in collaboration with American Express to support and promote women-owned businesses throughout Women’s History Month and increase foot traffic to their establishments.

Inspiring women to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations and motivating others in their networks to do the same, these conferences, events, and projects have a significant ripple impact. The city of New York is leading the path for greater representation and sustained development of women-led enterprises by creating a welcoming culture and recognizing outstanding female entrepreneurs.

The startup scene in New York City welcomes and supports female founders, establishing it as a pioneer in diversity and inclusion. In NYC, there are many services, funding options, and events that are especially geared toward women, creating a favorable environment for successful entrepreneurship. Their impact and motivation will continue to change the future of entrepreneurship in NYC and abroad as more women thrive in startups and break down barriers.

Let’s now look at the top 20 female-led startups that are creating waves in the vibrant tech industry of New York City, highlighting the success and variety of female entrepreneurs in the city.

List of Female Founded Startups

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is transforming the way modern women get dressed and disrupting the $2.4 trillion fashion industry by pioneering dynamic ownership and enabling women to rent, subscribe to, and purchase secondhand clothing. Founded in 2009 with a vision to build the world’s first living closet, RTR believes that women everywhere will soon have a fashion subscription. By creating a new model of dynamic ownership rooted in sustainability, RTR has made apparel rental an indispensable utility while also powering women to feel their best every day.

RTR offers apparel, accessories, and home decor from over 700 designer partners and has built in-house proprietary technology and a one-of-a-kind reverse logistics operation. Under CEO and Co-Founder Jennifer Hyman’s leadership, Rent the Runway has been named to CNBC’s “Disruptor 50” five times in ten years, and has been placed on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list multiple times.

Founders: Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman

Where: New York

When: 2019

Contact here

TheSkimm

TheSkimm, a renowned digital media company, is dedicated to providing women with the concise information they need to make confident decisions, ultimately making it easier for them to live smarter. With a talented team of writers, editors, producers, designers, marketers, engineers, analysts, sellers, creatives, and strategists, theSkimm works collaboratively to achieve their goal. By breaking down news, trends, policies, and politics impacting women’s lives, theSkimm empowers its dedicated audience of millions to navigate their daily routines and future endeavors with confidence. Through reliable and non-partisan information, seamlessly integrated into their existing routines, theSkimm has become a trusted source, fundamentally changing how women consume news and make decisions.

TheSkimm ecosystem encompasses various platforms, including newsletters such as the Daily Skimm, the Daily Skimm: Weekend, Skimm Money, and Skimm Your Life, a podcast called “9 to 5ish with theSkimm,” a mobile app, Skimm Studios for innovative video and audio content, and their bestselling book, “How to Skimm Your Life.” Additionally, theSkimm is committed to making an impact through their purpose-driven platform, Skimm Impact, supporting get-out-the-vote efforts with Skimm Your Ballot and driving change for Paid Family Leave in the U.S. through their #ShowUsYourLeave movement, which has generated over one million voting-related actions in the last three election cycles.

Founders: Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg

Where: New York

When: 2012

Contact here

Policygenius

Policygenius is a transformative force in the insurance industry, revolutionizing the way consumers navigate the insurance journey. Through their one-stop platform, Policygenius empowers customers to compare options from top insurance companies, receive unbiased expert advice, purchase policies, and manage their insurance portfolio seamlessly and effortlessly. Since its establishment in 2014, Policygenius has provided valuable content, digital tools, and expert guidance to millions of individuals seeking insurance solutions, resulting in the sale of over $120 billion in coverage. Demonstrating their commitment to growth and innovation, Policygenius announced a Series D funding round of $100 million in early 2020, bringing their total funding to over $150 million.

Policygenius takes pride in fostering an inclusive work environment that encourages individuals to bring their authentic selves to the team. Despite their rapid expansion, they have successfully maintained a culture of humility, hard work, and humor. Policygenius actively seeks talented individuals who embody grit, collaborative attitudes, and creative problem-solving skills to join their ranks. With a track record of being voted one of Inc. Magazine’s “Best Workplaces” for four consecutive years, Policygenius offers an exceptional opportunity for professionals seeking a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Founders: Jennifer Fitzgerald | Cofounder, PolicyGenius

Where: New York

When: 2014

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Classpass

ClassPass is a trailblazer in the fitness and wellness industry, leading a revolution by offering a singular app that brings together the finest classes and experiences from around the world. Their mission is to inspire individuals to live vibrant and fulfilling lives by introducing them to a diverse range of soul-nurturing experiences and seamlessly connecting them to these opportunities. With ClassPass, prioritizing health and well-being is effortless, whether one chooses to attend a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class, indulge in a rejuvenating massage, stream a fitness class from the comfort of home, or rediscover the joy of playing tennis. ClassPass empowers individuals to easily incorporate health and wellness into their daily lives, motivating them to embrace a lifestyle of self-care and inspiration.

Founder: Payal Kadakia

Where: New York

When: 2012

Contact here

Girls who Code

Girls Who Code is an international non-profit organization that conducts programs to educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computing fields. Since Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code in 2012, the program has grown from one class of 20 girls to a national movement. The company has established strong partnerships throughout the tech industry in order to introduce young girls to computer science. The company recently announced that it will provide $1 million in scholarships so girls can attend the seven-week program and forego the cost of a summer job.

Founder: Reshma Saujani

Where: New York

When: 2012

Contact here

Zola

Zola is a visionary company that is revolutionizing the wedding planning and registry experience. From the moment of engagement to the wedding day and beyond, Zola accompanies couples on their journey, providing a comprehensive range of services that include a personalized wedding website, registry, checklist, guest list management, and more.

With a commitment to compassionate customer service, Zola combines the power of modern tools and technology to streamline the wedding planning process. Whether couples are seeking inspiration, organizing their registry, or managing the logistics of their big day, Zola offers a user-friendly platform that simplifies the entire experience. To explore the possibilities and take advantage of their innovative solutions, individuals can visit Zola.com and embark on a seamless and enjoyable wedding planning journey.

Founder: Shan-Lyn Ma

Where: New York

When: 2013

Contact here

Shoptiques

Shoptiques is driven by a mission to foster connections between independently owned fashion boutiques and customers seeking highly curated, unique merchandise. With Shoptiques, every order placed directly supports an independent boutique, ensuring that the impact of each purchase goes directly to these small businesses. The products offered on Shoptiques are sourced directly from these boutiques, guaranteeing an authentic shopping experience.

Unlike mass-market retailers with large-scale warehouses, Shoptiques operates by having orders packed and shipped directly from the boutiques themselves to the customers’ doorsteps. By shopping with Shoptiques, customers not only find exceptional fashion pieces but also contribute to the growth and support of local communities and businesses.

Founders: Olga Vidisheva | Founder and CEO, Shoptiques

Where: New York

When: 2011

Contact here

Spoon University

Spoon University is a dynamic food site that caters to the next generation of food enthusiasts. With a mission to promote intelligent eating and provide a comprehensive culinary resource, Spoon University covers a wide range of topics. From highlighting new menu items and reviewing dining halls to offering tips on hosting dinner parties and staying up-to-date with the latest food trends and pop culture moments, Spoon University is a go-to destination for food-related content. What sets Spoon apart is its network of over 3,000 student contributors from over 100 campuses across the United States. These passionate and knowledgeable students power the site, sharing their unique perspectives and experiences to create a vibrant community for food lovers everywhere.

Founders: Sarah Adler and Mackenzie Barth | Cofounders, Spoon University

Where: New York

When: 2013

Contact here

AptDeco

AptDeco is an innovative online marketplace dedicated to facilitating the buying and selling of high-quality preowned furniture. Their platform offers a seamless end-to-end process that aims to rekindle the joy of discovering extraordinary furniture pieces. AptDeco boasts a trusted and verified community of buyers and sellers, ensuring a secure and reliable transaction experience. With pre-arranged pick-up and delivery services and a secure payment process, AptDeco takes care of the logistics, allowing users to sit back, relax, and fully enjoy their newfound furniture treasures. Through their user-friendly platform, AptDeco strives to redefine the way people buy and sell pre-owned furniture, making it a convenient and delightful experience for all involved.

Founders: Reham Fagiri | Founder, AptDeco

Where: New York

When: 2014

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Hopscotch

Jocelyn Leavitt and Samantha John are the cofounders of Hopscotch, a mobile-first platform that makes computer programming fun and accessible to children. 

Founders: Reham Fagiri | Founder, AptDeco

Where: New York

When: 2011

Contact here

Talkspace

Talkspace stands at the forefront of the online therapy industry, holding the title of the world’s leading online therapy company. With an impressive track record, Talkspace has been utilized by over one million individuals, boasting a network of 2000+ dedicated therapists on their platform. Their overarching mission is to revolutionize mental healthcare by making quality and accessible therapy available to all. Through its innovative and user-friendly platform, Talkspace is committed to breaking down barriers and ensuring that individuals from all walks of life can access the support they need to improve their mental well-being. With a strong emphasis on accessibility and convenience, Talkspace is reshaping the landscape of mental health support, transforming the way people seek therapy and find professional help.

Founder: Roni Frank

Where: New York

When: 2012

Contact here

ALULA

Alula is a transformative and radically honest resource that strives to alleviate the isolation often felt by those affected by cancer. With a primary focus on centralizing crucial information for both patients and caregivers, Alula brings together valuable knowledge typically shared among individuals with firsthand experience of cancer and dispersed across various corners of the internet. By translating the lived experiences of others into an unparalleled platform, Alula provides an invaluable source of guidance and support.

The heart of Alula’s offerings lies in its thoughtfully curated marketplace of recovery products, selected by cancer patients themselves and informed by the expertise of the company’s advisory board of medical professionals. This ensures that patients have access to relevant and effective resources tailored to their unique needs. Additionally, Alula supplies essential communication tools, empowering patients and their loved ones to navigate difficult conversations with greater ease and empathy.

Founder: Liya Shuster-Bier

Where: New York

When: 2020

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REALM

Founded in 2019 by real estate entrepreneur Liz Young, Realm is a pioneering and unbiased centralized data hub dedicated to empowering American homeowners. As the first of its kind, Realm serves as a comprehensive resource, providing accessible and actionable advice to homeowners facing a multitude of decisions, from renovation projects to increasing their home value. With homeownership being a significant investment, accounting for 62% of the average American homeowners’ total assets, and ongoing spending on home improvements, Realm recognizes the importance of guiding individuals through the complexities of homeownership.

Leveraging data-backed insights, Realm equips modern American homeowners with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed choices, maximizing the potential of their most valuable asset. Whether it’s advice on when to undertake a bathroom renovation or when to refinance, Realm’s platform is designed to empower homeowners, offering clarity and confidence in their decision-making process.

Founder: Liz Young

Where: New York

When: 2019

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STUF

Stuf, co-founded and led by CEO Katharine Lau, is a visionary company revolutionizing storage solutions for the modern user. With a forward-thinking approach, Stuf reimagines underutilized spaces in commercial buildings such as basements and garages, bringing storage closer to where people live and work. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and adopting a hospitality-driven approach, Stuf ensures that its members, including individuals and small businesses, receive exceptional care and seamless, one-click access to their belongings. With a focus on convenience and efficiency, Stuf is transforming the storage experience, providing an innovative and user-friendly solution for today’s storage needs.

Founder: Katharine Lau

Where: New York

When: 2020

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PRAXIS LABS

Praxis Labs, co-founded by Heather Shen, is a pioneering company that is reshaping diversity and inclusion training for organizations. By leveraging immersive learning experiences in virtual reality and offering actionable insights through their learning platform, Praxis Labs is revolutionizing the way organizations approach training and measuring diversity and inclusion efforts. Committed to making a meaningful impact, Praxis Labs has formed partnerships with leading companies such as Uber, Google, Target, and eBay to drive positive change in workplaces and society as a whole, fostering greater equity and inclusivity. With the upcoming launch of their flagship Pivotal Experiences training, Praxis Labs extends an invitation to companies seeking to advance inclusion and equity to connect and join their transformative journey.

Founders: Heather Shen, Elise Smith

Where: New York

When: 2020

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WERK

Werk is a job search platform founded on the belief that flexibility is the highest-impact, lowest-cost tool to recruit, advance, and retain women. The company sources and curates highly flexible jobs from top companies like HBO, Deloitte, and Samsung. “Annie Dean and Anna Auerbach started this company as 2 McKinsey alums who realized they couldn’t continue working if they grew their families, so they are solving this problem for everyone else. They run a flexible to full-time job marketplace catering to some of the largest corporations and they also offer tech products that hold the corporations accountable when it comes to supporting flexible work options and thus families.” — Jesse Draper, Halogen Ventures

Founders: Annie Dean and Anna Auerbach

Where: New York

When: 2016

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Maven Clinic

Maven connects working women with doctors, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, and mental health providers on demand. With appointments starting at $18, Maven aims to provide specialized, affordable care for less than the price of a copay. Prior to starting Maven, founder and CEO Kate Ryder worked at Index Ventures as an early-stage investor. Since launching in 2015, the company has served nearly 100,000 patients.

Founder: Kate Ryder

Where: New York

When: 2014

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AAVIA

The company is a developer of a healthcare platform and connected hardware device tailored to empower women in managing and understanding hormonal changes. Their innovative platform and device are specifically designed to assist women in adhering to their birth control pill schedules and tracking their hormone cycles effectively. By doing so, the platform helps women avoid potential healthcare crises and maintain better control over their reproductive health in a user-friendly manner. With a focus on enhancing women’s well-being, the company’s solutions play a pivotal role in promoting proactive healthcare management and providing women with the tools they need for a healthier and more informed life.

Founder: Aagya Mathur

Where: New York

When: 2017

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Oui the People

Upon launching OUI (the People), the founder set forth on a mission to challenge the conventional beauty industry’s messaging and revolutionize the notion of beauty. Reflecting on personal experiences and the impact of beauty magazines, the founder recognized the harmful effects of language that perpetuates unattainable standards and creates feelings of inadequacy. Delving into historical and modern shaving ads, which shared a similar language, the founder questioned the persisting use of antiquated and unrealistic ideals in beauty product marketing. This revelation inspired a commitment to “watch their language” and prioritize the well-being and self-acceptance of individuals.

Through the reConstitution of Beauty, the brand is dedicated to creating efficacious products thoughtfully designed to help customers feel confident and comfortable in their own skin. The decision to change the name to OUI the People signifies a strong desire to foster inclusivity and ensure that all customers, including the non-binary community, feel seen and valued in their beauty experiences.

Founder: Karen Young

Where: New York

When: 2014

Contact here

NIVELO

The company is a developer of cutting-edge adaptive threat detection technology, specifically designed to address credit and debit payment risk in real time. Leveraging advanced machine learning techniques, the company’s technology possesses the unique capability to swiftly identify potential cybercriminal threats and processing errors. By doing so, it empowers organizations to proactively mitigate risks associated with account takeover, synthetic identity fraud, admin errors, and business email compromise.

With a focus on real-time monitoring and analysis, the technology ensures that organizations can respond swiftly to emerging threats, safeguarding sensitive payment data and protecting their operations from financial losses and reputational damage. Through its innovative approach, the company offers a comprehensive solution for managing and staying ahead of payment-related risks in the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.

Founder: Eli Polanco

Where: New York

When: 2020

Contact here

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