In the first half of 2021, VC deal activity for US-based, female-founded companies was already on par with the annual totals for 2020 and 2019. During that time, US VC startups with female founders raised an impressive $2 billion. Indeed, female-founded companies in the United States are raising venture capital at higher levels than at any point in the past decade—a promising shift in representation.
But despite a standout year, that’s not the whole picture. Odds are still stacked against female founders, especially those without at least one male co-founder. COVID-19 has had a profound impact on female founders. A group of senior women VCs called for more capital to go to female-led vehicles in Europe this year—where despite a record amount of capital invested, female founders had only received 0.7% of the total funding. In late-2020, PitchBook reported that quarterly VC funding for female founders had dropped to a three-year low.
This list celebrates female entrepreneurship and innovation across the globe. We’ve included founders, entrepreneurs, VCs and angel investors, mentors, and others involved in bringing scalable ideas, products, and offerings to market. We’ve highlighted established industry pros with years, even decades, of experience. Also included are a number of relative newcomers—women who represent the next generation of founding and funding in solutions that will shape our communities and the world.
To learn more about the criteria for this list or how to submit a female founder or investor for a future update, scroll to the end of this article.
Female founders in femtech, fertility tech and healthtech
These founders are innovating across the healthtech space—the fastest growing vertical within healthcare. Femtech startups are developing technologies and products geared toward women’s health, while fertility tech—one of 138+ emerging spaces tracked by PitchBook—are tech-oriented medical solutions for people struggling to conceive. To dive deeper into healthtech, download PitchBook’s Q2 2021 Emerging Tech Research: Enterprise Healthtech report.
Co-founder and CEO of Toronto’s Bird&Be, the developer of prenatal vitamins and supplements, as well as pregnancy, ovulation, ovarian reserve and sperm concentration testing kits starting in late 2021.
Co-founder and CEO of New York-based Aavia with Aya Suzuki and Alexis Wong, an app that helps people with periods learn about their cycles and mental health trends, as well as a smart birth control pill case.
Founder and CEO of Kindbody a provider of fertility, gynecology and family-building services at its own private clinics and network of partner clinics. Bartasi is a seasoned entrepreneur and four-time CEO. She’s also the mom of twin boys conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF). She founded Kindbody in 2018 in response to the demand among employers to buy fertility benefits directly from healthcare providers. In June 2021, Kindbody raised $62 million of Series C funding in a deal led by Theresa Sexton at Claritas Capital. See how Kindbody uses PitchBook to raise capital and map the competitive landscape.
Co-founder of WOOM with Laurence Fontinoy, a Madrid-based reproductive health monitoring and management app created to help women maximize their chances of pregnancy.
COO and co-founder of Nairobi’s TIBU Health, a healthtech logistics company that connects Africa’s urban populations with high-quality healthcare services in real-time and at an affordable cost.
Co-founder and chief medical officer of Plume, a Denver-based provider of gender-affirming hormone therapy via telehealth. Along with co-founder and CEO Matthew Wetschler, Kirkley founded Plume to make the process of seeking and receiving gender-affirming care less daunting, confusing and exhausting. The startup aims to make provide simple, safe and convenient care and an environment where patients’ identities are always respected. Most recently, Plume raised $14 million of Series A-1 venture funding in a deal led by Craft Ventures in January 2021.
Founder and CEO of Happy Moonday and Henny Boo and Hae-eun Hae-eun, the top period-product subscription service in Korea—offering pads, tampons and a menstruation management app.
Founder and CEO of Israel’s Embryonics, the developer of a suite of AI solutions designed to revolutionize fertility treatments.
Founder of The Lowdown, a London-based digital platform that allows people to report and rate the contraceptive methods they’ve tried, as well as their effects, symptoms and side effects. Touted as the world’s first review platform for contraception, Pelton says the company’s mission is personal. It took her more than a decade to realize the impact that hormonal contraceptives had on her emotional and mental state. Her search for the right contraception caused even more confusion due to a lack of data available online. Most recently, The Lowdown raised $800,000 of Series 1 venture funding from Barcelona’s Nina Capital and Vienna’s Calm/Storm Ventures in July 2021.
Co-founder and CEO of Aldyn Health with Ivy Hughley and Marcus Westin, a person-centered menopause app based in Chicago that aims to empower women in midlife and beyond.
Co-founder of Mind Peers, a New Delhi-based self-care platform that offers tracking tools for mood and emotional patterns, as well as connects users to a range of mental health professionals.
Co-founder and CEO of Caia, a healthtech company for women and families that is building intelligent technologies to provide personalized assistance and connect users with the support they need.
Co-founder and COO at Veera Health with Shashwata Narain, a provider of healthcare services intended to help women with polycystic ovary syndrome in India.
Female founders in sustainable cities and transportation
Founders working in sustainable city-building and transportation are tackling a variety of challenges and opportunities—from tracking and lessening urban pollution to making electric vehicles and bikes more accessible. To explore some of the topics covered in this section in more depth, download PitchBook’s Q2 2021 Emerging Tech Research: Mobility Tech report.
Co-founder of ChargerHelp! along with Kameale C. Terry, a Los Angeles-based startup that fixes and maintains electric vehicle charging stations and networks.
Co-founder of Quos, a Parisian startup whose apps provide parking, waste collection and green space management, as well as indoor air quality monitoring via mobile.
Co-founder and CEO of Aclima, the San Francisco-based leader in hyperlocal air quality and greenhouse gas measurement and analysis. Aclima translates billions of measurements from its network of stationary and roving sensors into block-by-block environmental intelligence on CO2, methane, and other pollutants, helping governments, communities, and enterprises take bold action to reduce emissions and protect public health.
Herzl was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in 2019, after Google Street View cars started carrying her company’s air-pollution-monitoring technology.
Co-founder and CEO of Everty, the developer of an electric vehicle charging network platform created to accelerate Australia’s transition to sustainable transportation.
Co-founder and chairman of Beryl, a developer of urban cycling products headquartered in London. Beryl’s offerings are designed to remove barriers and inspire people to ride bikes in cities.
Co-founder and CEO of StreetLight Data, the developer of a transportation data platform that provides on-demand metrics for cars, bikes and pedestrians. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company’s product leverages massive amounts of geospatial data being produced by mobile devices and creates insights on mobility patterns and transportation behaviors to inform transportation planning. In June 2020, StreetLight raised $15 million of Series C1 venture funding from Osage University Partners, Ajax Strategies and Activate Capital Partners.
Female founders in agriculture and the future of food
From insect-based foods and plant-based meats to soil science and food waste diversion, the founders highlighted here are developing products and services that impact what we cultivate, harvest, buy and eat. For additional insight on related topics, download PitchBook’s Q2 2021 Emerging Tech Research reports on agtech and foodtech—or grab the recent PitchBook Analyst Note: Reinventing Meat.
Co-founder and CEO of Air Protein, the developer of a meat alternative technology designed to create protein out of ordinary carbon dioxide. Dyson is also the co-founder and CEO of Kiverdi.
Founder of Mercaris, a market data service and online trading platform for organic, non-GMO and certified agricultural commodities.
Founder and CEO of Atlanta’s Goodr, a food waste management software that provides a secure ledger that tracks an organization’s surplus food from pick up to donation, delivering real-time social and environmental impact reporting analytics. The Goodr model aims to improve an organization’s bottom line through charitable tax donations, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions from landfills and getting its edible surplus food to local communities in need. Crowe has been honored at the NAACP Image Awards, given a TEDx talk and included on The Root’s “Root 100” list of most influential African Americans.
Founder and CEO of Re-Nuble, the developer of an agricultural technology that transforms unrecoverable food byproducts into organic fertilizer.
Founder of Spero Foods, the producer of plant-based dairy products created using seeds—a cheaper alternative to traditional dairy products.
Founder of Wanda Agriculture Group, a Nairobi-based provider that helps farmers and smallholders across Africa increase productivity and farm more sustainably.
Co-founder and CEO of FoodMesh, a Vancouver-based food recovery startup that matches surplus commercial food with businesses and charities to reduce food waste.
Co-founder and CPO at Soil Carbon Co., the Australian startup whose microbial carbon sequestration technology is designed to capture carbon from the atmosphere and return it to the soil. Increased carbon in the soil restores farmland and creates opportunities for farmers to trade a new commodity: sequestered carbon. Nock has a background in agricultural policy and communications, having worked with research groups, government entities and research organizations. Soil Carbon Co. raised $6.5 million of seed funding in a deal led by Horizons Ventures in June 2020.
Co-founder with her sister Geraldine Goffard of Aldento, a Belgian startup that produces handcrafted pasta with edible-insect flour.
Founder and CEO of Abbot’s Butcher, a California startup offering artisan, 100% plant-based vegan meat alternatives—including Spanish smoked “chorizo,” savory ground “beef” and slow-roasted chick’n.
|Karen Scofield Seal
CEO and co-founder of OCEANIUM, a startup that develops bio-packaging and food products from sustainably farmed seaweed. Based in Oban, Scotland and London, OCEANIUM supports seaweed farmers across Europe and the world and mitigate climate change through the creation of innovative, all-natural products made from seaweed. OCEANIUM received a grant from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) of over €2 million in September 2021. Prior to that, the company raised $2.78 million of seed funding in a deal led by Green Angel Syndicate and World Wildlife Fund in August 2021.
Female founders in mentorship and coaching, student success and career-readiness
The founders highlighted here play an important role in facilitating learning and growth opportunities—both personal and professional. From supporting students’ unmet transportation needs to providing guidance, job training, business support and network-building, founders working in these spaces cultivate curiosity, passion and professionalism that’ll last into the future.
Co-founder and CEO of HopSkipDrive a Los Angeles-based startup that supports youth transportation needs for schools, government agencies, families and others.
Co-founder, partner and head of business development at 100Mentors an online education platform that connects students and young professionals with mentors.
Co-founder of Oakland’s Boost, along with Veronica Head, an all-in-one tool that helps Gen Z side-hustlers run their businesses and manage their finances in one place. Prior to Boost, Jarbo was the director of development for Envision Education, founder of Goodbets Group and the expert-in-residence at Catalyst:Ed. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s in education, both from UC Berkeley. In January 2021, Boost raised an undisclosed amount of early-stage VC funding from Precursor Ventures.
Co-founder and CEO of The Mentor Method a mentor matching platform based in Austin that connects tech leaders with change-making mentors.
Founder of Rosecrans Ventures, a Los Angeles-based company providing professional and developmental support for Gen Z students of color through internship matches, professional coaching and more.
Founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a co-learning and -working community that economically empowers LGBTQ+ people and allies with practical, career-ready skills.
Female founders in skincare, wellness and makeup
The founders in this section are creating goods and services to support peoples’ wellness and self-care journeys. From skincare and shaving products to fitness programs, these founders are empowering their users and clients to feel their best.
Co-founder and CEO of Blume a Vancouver-based startup offering self-care, skincare and personal-hygiene products—including for first-time period-havers.
Co-founder and COO of Toronto’s Gwella a producer of functional and psychedelic mushroom products—including novel compounds and plant-based medicines with adaptogenic properties.
Founder and CEO of the direct-to-consumer shaving and bodycare brand OUI the People, based in Brooklyn. OUI the People’s product offerings include razors, shaving oils and high-quality blades for a smoother shave. The startup most recently joined Andreessen Horowitz as part of its Talent x Opportunity Program’s first cohort in October 2020. OUI the People also received $100,000 in funding in the form of SAFE Notes.
Co-founder of JUNO & Me, a German skincare, self-care and personal hygiene startup whose product lines are 100% vegan and animal-friendly.
Co-founder and CEO of 305 Fitness, a chain of fitness centers headquartered in New York City that offers cardio workouts combining dance moves, sports drills and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Founder and chief creative officer of ILIA Beauty, a cosmetic brand created with nourishing organic ingredients to enhance users’ features naturally.
When female investors and VCs have a seat at the table, more female-founded startups get the funding support they need to grow and build thriving businesses. When it comes to shining a light on underrepresented groups across the private markets, these investors—as well as Black investors and LGBTA+ investors—play a pivotal role in brining innovative new solutions to market.
Founding partner of Female Founders Fund, an early-stage VC fund that invests in female-founded technology companies—especially those in the digital health, education and climate change.
Co-founding partner at 1315 Capital, a private investment firm providing healthcare companies with expansion and growth capital. Olivia has led deals with miraDry and Colorescience, among others.
Managing director of Cleo Capital, a Santa Monica-based VC firm founded in 2018. The firm’s investment portfolio includes Cameo, MasterClass, BlockPower and Love Wellness among others. In addition to her role at Cleo Capital, Kunst is a contributing editor at Marie Claire and an investor board member at Venture for America—a program for talented grads with their sights on becoming entrepreneurs.
Managing partner at Canada’s Real Ventures, a VC firm that invests in and supports the development of early-stage, visionary founders building impactful tech companies.
Founder and managing partner at Click Ventures, an early-stage VC fund based in Hong Kong, the US and Singapore that invests in tech startups. Chan is also a board member at Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide.
Co-founder of #ANGELS, a San Francisco-based investment collective founded in 2015. Sladden advises startups and invests in early-stage companies, seeking out teams and products that can have a disproportionate impact. #ANGELS backs ambitious founders and their portfolio of 100+ includes Gusto, Coinbase, Carrot, Airtable and more. Sladden is also a board member at PL+US, a nonprofit that assists employees with paid family leaves, and the co-founder of Honeycomb Labs, a consumer software service that empowers families to share the logistics of parenting across dense, trusted communities.
Partner at Luxembourg’s Mojo.Capital, a VC firm that invests in late-stage digital companies across Europe. Her specialties include financial due diligence, valuations and more.
Co-founder, innovation director and executive board member at EIT InnoEnergy, an impact investing firm specializing in early-stage investments in climate tech and energy sector startups across Europe—like Germany’s Pionierkraft and Skeleton Technologies. Based in the Netherlands and with offices throughout the continent, EIT InnoEnergy recently released an impact report that quantifies the volume of CO2 emissions its portfolio companies could save by 2030. Bou is also an associate professor at ESADE Business & Law School in Barcelona, where her specialties include organizational and operational management and qualitative research.
Co-founder of Stockholm’s Qalora Capital, a tech-focused investment bank that helps entrepreneurs with financing, fundraising and M&A.
|Ijeoma E. Okoli
Founding member of London’s Impact X Capital Partners, a VC firm that supports underrepresented entrepreneurs across Europe—particularly the Afro-Caribbean diaspora.
CEO and founding partner of 500 Startups, a global early-stage VC firm with a mission to uplift people and economies through entrepreneurship. Since 2010, she has led the growth of 500 Startups to include more than $650 in committed capital and investments in 2,500 companies across 77 countries. With her expertise in development and APIs, marketing, social and video, Tsai takes on a mentorship role with 500 Startups’ portfolio companies. Recently, the firm has invested in the seed rounds of San Francisco’s Blueboard and Utah’s ProSky.
Managing director at Insight Partners, a global private and growth equity firm investing in software and internet companies.
Founder and CEO of Female Founders Alliance, an accelerator based in Seattle that’s dedicated to accelerating highly scalable companies founded by women and non-binary individuals.
Co-founder of VCFamilia along with Af Hernandez, a community of 200+ Latinx investors supporting current and emerging VCs and founders. Launched in January 2021 to address a lack of Hispanic and Latino representation in venture capital, VCFamilia has quickly become the industry’s largest Latinx VC affinity group. In addition to her work at VCFamilia, Campos is the head of venture growth and partnerships at Republic, a private investing platform, and an investment partner at The Community Fund, a $5 million early-stage fund that invests in community-driven companies.
Angel investor and founding partner of the Fearless Fund, a fund that invests in women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed-level or Series A financing.
Angel investor and general partner at Startupfon, an Istanbul-based VC fund and investment platform that facilitates opportunities for investors to co-invest in early-stage tech startups.
Principal at FORBION, one of the top Dutch VC firms by assets under management (as of August 2021). Karpova is responsible for deal orientation, due diligence, valuation assessments and deal execution. She also focuses on implementation of value strategies with the firm’s portfolio companies. Previously, Karpova was a senior equity research analyst at Kempen, one of Europe’s top investment banks focused on life sciences. At Kempen, her research covered 25 European life sciences companies over six years.
Partner at LongJump, a first-check venture fund in Chicago, and co-founder and CEO of Paladin, a platform that helps legal teams run more efficient pro bono programs.
Co-founder at WellTech Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Tel Aviv that invests exclusively in the wellness space.
Sun is a venture capitalist and co-founding partner at SoGal, one of the world’s largest communities of diverse entrepreneurs and investors with 40+ chapters worldwide.
General partner at KFund, a venture capital firm based in Madrid that invests in seed, pre-Series A and later-stage startups across B2B and B2C.
About PitchBook’s female founders and investors list
For the people included on this list, we considered:
Whether their company could be categorized in one of the five broad industry vertical or emerging space buckets included in this list and tracked by PitchBook (additional verticals and spaces will be added in the future) Their visibility in digital spaces, including on topics related to entrepreneurship, investing, women in tech and/or advocacy for women and underrepresented groups in investing
- Their geography
Suggest an addition
To suggest a female founder or investor for a future update of this list, please email [email protected]
The links in this list
Most links included in this article, with the exception of the social media links, will take you to a PitchBook profile preview. Our profile previews provide a cursory sense of the types of robust data PitchBook clients can access with their subscription.
More on female founders
Check out trends in VC funding for female-founded companies in the US
Explore: PitchBook’s US VC Female Founders Dashboard
See trends in VC funding for European female-founded startups
Explore: PitchBook’s European VC Female Founders Dashboard
Female founders are setting records in 2021, but the stats don’t paint a full picture
Read our news article: Female founders are having a standout year—that’s not the whole story
Female founders and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Download this in-depth report: All In: Female Founders and CEOs in the US VC Ecosystem
More on diversity in venture capital
Quantifying LGBTQ+ impact and unrealized potential
Read customer story: How StartOut uses PitchBook to help quantify the unrealized potential of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs
LGBTQ+ founders and investors
Read our blog post: 33 LGBTQ+ founders, entrepreneurs and VCs you should know
Black founders and investors
Read our blog post: 53 Black founders and investors to watch in 2021
From talk to action: Investors weigh in on ways to increase diversity in VC
Watch this panel discussion: The investor’s role in addressing inequality and diversity
Learn more about PitchBook’s data coverage
Don’t forget PitchBook tracks investors, professionals, companies, and deals across the private market ecosystem.
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