Startups making the most of an ever-evolving digital world are popping up everywhere, but only the very best make it. Finding funding, however, appears to be more difficult for women - with venture capitalists investing just $1.46 billion in 2016 for female-founded startups. If that figure sounds like a lot, it isn't. Especially when compared to the $58.2 million invested in male-led startups.
However, there are many fantastic startups with female CEOs breaking through the boundaries. Below, we've listed some of the very best who are using tech to take over the world.
Maven - The World's First Digital Clinic
Healthcare works a little differently in the US, and Maven founder Katherine Ryder wanted to make access to trusted medical practitioners easy, immediate and affordable for women in America.
Dubbed the 'first ever digital health clinic for women', Ryder decided to create Maven. Online and available as an app, women can sign up and pay a small fee to have a private appointment with a practitioner via private message or video call. Completely confidential, Maven is built on a community of medical professionals - ranging from doctors, nurses and midwives to nutritionists, physical therapists and mental health specialists. Whether you need to ask a question, seek advice, require birth control or need a prescription, Maven can provide the answer.
In July 2017, Maven received a huge $10.8 million from investors, boosting the startup's total funding up to $15 million. With support from the likes of Spotify, Martha Stewart and the Female Founders Fund, it appears that Maven is starting to make a huge impact in the world of healthcare for women.
Hooked - The Awesome App To Get Kids Reading
Reading is important for any young adult, helping to improve their literacy skills and constantly fuelling the imagination. But as social media and the digital world become such a huge part of any teen's life, many worry that this love of stories is soon to die out.
This is where Hooked comes in. Redefining fiction for the smartphone generation, Hooked is an app that presents stories in the form of text messages. Simply tap to see the next message, and watch as the plot unfolds. Addictive and easy to digest, stories are short yet riveting and can easily be enjoyed on the way to school or work.
The idea struck Prerna Gupta one day, and by partnering with her husband Parag Chordia, the pair started to find funding. Today, Hooked has received over 20 million downloads and it's constantly topping the charts of the App Store.
Saying all of this, Hooked definitely isn't just for children. If you love fiction, and enjoy fast-paced stories, you'll instantly find yourself addicted to the app - from horror to romance to fanfiction, there's plenty to choose from.
Glossier: Cult Beauty Brand Dominating Social
Back in 2010, Vogue employee Emily Weiss launched Into The Gloss - a beauty blog that was to become unlike any other. With her celebrity interviews - known as 'The Top Shelf' - taking the reader into the homes of some of the biggest stars and the most respected names in the beauty world, she quickly became trusted by millions.
Weiss had the idea for her own beauty brand - Glossier - not long after she launched her blog. Born in 2014, Glossier connected with its key demographic in the most effective way - using the power of social media to turn followers into loyal customers.
With 51% of Millennials likely to make a purchase on social media, it was a wise move. Weiss launched on Instagram, making sure Glossier speaks to her target audience in the perfect way through smart language, brilliant marketing and clever branding. Selected consumers are even invited to weigh in on upcoming products to let the business know what they want, helping them to feel like friends of the Glossier crew and part of the brand.
Glossier's clever social strategy works, and in just four years Weiss collected the $2 million needed to launch her startup, created an eCommerce website that now ships beauty products across America, Canada and the UK, hired hundreds to work with her and raised a total of $34 million after three rounds of funding.
Canva - Daring Design Brand Worth Over $1 Billion
As recently as January 2018, Canva was awarded 'unicorn' status - a term associated with private companies that are worth over $1 billion. Founder Melanie Perkins, 30, is now one of the youngest female CEOs in the world to be leading a startup backed by such a huge sum of money, and this online design software company doesn't plan to slow down any time soon.
Way back in 2006 while studying at the University of Western Australia, Melanie realised that mastering professional design software like Photoshop can take years. She, herself, spent a semester studying the basics. Yet, so many people needed access to great graphic design - whether it was for work, creating their own business or even for making party invites or creative posts for social media. The idea for Canva was born, and by 2012 Melanie was on a plane to California to visit the prestigious Silicon Valley.
Today, Canva is an online platform that makes designing anything from posters to infographics easy. Packed with a huge collection of editable templates, Canva has made design simple and accessible to millions in 190 countries.
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