“Women-owned businesses are growing more than 2.5 times faster than the national average”.
and here is a small glimpse of it in this blog.
Women are born leaders so it’s obvious to say they are better at it.
We at TCC, this international women’s day are embracing the women leaders in startups.
“I wasn’t aware of more than half of them but I hope this doesn’t happen with you, so cheers to empowering them by reading about them today”.
- 31 Queens Ruling the Startup World
- 1. Breaking taboos with comic books – Aditi Gupta, Menstrupedia
- 2. Bringing plus-size into the picture – Divya Goenka, The Pink Moon
- 3. E-commerce in rural areas – Ankur Dahiya, Rozana
- 4. Pleasure and consent go hand in hand – Aastha Vohra, Manzuri
- 5. Passionate for growth – Richa Kar, Zivame
- 6. Effortless Intimacy – Ana Mikaela Silva, Pleasy Play
- 7. AI to categorise clothes – Hasna Kourda, Save Your Wardrobe
- 8. Affordable Re(productivity) – Carly Leahy and Afton Vechery, Modern Fertility
- 9. A mission to give back – Nichole Nzegwu, Kare Granola
- 10. Overcoming global health challenges – Amèlie Quilichini, Kolibri
- 11. Agriculture focused – Anu Meena, Agrowave
- 12. Going vocal for local – Suchita Salwan, Little Black Book
- 13. Blessing Youths – Supriya Paul, Josh Talks
- 14. Broke the age barrier – Falguni Nayar, Nykaa
- 15. Engineer to Entrepreneur – Manasi Shah, The Clueless Company
- 16. Prioritised financial wellness – Ennie Lim, HoneyBee
- 17. Niched to women and non-binary – Alexia de Broglie, Margot de Broglie, Your Juno
- 18. Solving the global food problem – Anne-Cathrine Preißer, Mushlabs
- 19. Debunking myths around menopause – Arfa Rehman, Caria
- 20. United her talents – Diarra Boussou, Diarrablu
- 21. Found her Finance Goal – Gurleen Kaur Tikku, Hareepatti
- 22. Thinking out of the box – Radhika Bajoria, Radically Yours
- 23. Better stays away from home – Sneha Choudhry, ZoloStays
- 24. Easing the hardship – Jaya Jha, Pothi
- 25. Helping Healthcare Sector – Khushboo Jain, Impact Guru
- 26. Helping companies scale – Emma Sinclair, EnterpriseAlumni
- 27. Accurate use of virtual world – Rachel McCrickard, Motivo Health
- 28. Smart use of tech – Amira Cheniour, Seabex
- 29. Opening opportunities for women – Regina Honu, Soronko Academy
- 30. Early Recognition – Mariam Naficy, Minted
- 31. Normalizing the normal – Georgina Gooley, Billie
31 Queens Ruling the Startup World
1. Breaking taboos with comic books – Aditi Gupta, Menstrupedia
When 12-year-old Aditi got her periods for the first time, she was clueless.
Being passed on generational myths around periods by her mother shattered her self-confidence.
Later during her college days, researching this topic with one of her friends made her come across the truth behind those myths and how even educated people are unaware of them.
So, she came up with an engaging and fun way in which girls can self-educate themselves on such topics and break taboos in rural as well as urban areas.
She then started a comic book “Menstrupedia” in 2012 with 4 characters, 3 of whom are in different phases of their puberty and a lady doctor who answers all their questions around menstruation.
Till date Menstrupedia has:
- educated more than 50,000 girls
- trained around 10,000 educators
- received one lakh visitors every month
- around 10,000 schools in India use these comic books as a part of their curriculum
In 2022, they got funding to develop an app around information about menstruation to reach more women at their fingertips.
2. Bringing plus-size into the picture – Divya Goenka, The Pink Moon
Our fashion & clothing industry is huge, yet you struggle to find the perfect fit that complements your curves and hugs your body like it’s made for yours only.
Well, this is the problem Miss Divya, the founder of The Pink Moon is solving through her plus-size western wear startup.
Goenka says, “60% of Indian women buy ‘large and above’ sized- clothes. While so much else has changed, the stigma against being plus size has not.”
Where most of the brands limit to size XL. She decided to focus on the XXL-6XL space.
Her mission is to remove the stigma and let women allow themselves to feel confident about their bodies and proud of their curves.
3. E-commerce in rural areas – Ankur Dahiya, Rozana
A taekwondo player studied engineering. Later, she married AI and tech to develop entrepreneurship opportunities in the villages itself.
Smartphones have reached the villages but sadly a lot of facilities do not. Ankur found out the gap in product availability and also the difference between the demand and supply of products.
Then, she and her team built a Rozana app that offers better products, pricing and access to new companies looking to scale in rural India.
It also aims to empower women entrepreneurs in the village through technology.
So far, Rozana raised $1.5 million from a German fund IEG – Investment Bank. It’s on the verge of closing another round, which will be announced soon.
When more women work, economies grow.
4. Pleasure and consent go hand in hand – Aastha Vohra, Manzuri
Schools missed it and even our parents. When it comes to sex education and knowledge about your body a lot of us go blank.
Aastha’s experience was no different but it was one incident and a deep talk about it with her best friend during her post-graduation which made both of them realise a major gap in society.
To help the youth and the coming generation be more open and understanding about their body, they bridged it using Manzuri, an adult toy and sex education platform.
They used different mediums to help people share their experiences and queries with the absence of judgement.
Further, they are planning to launch sex-ed courses to cater to the population in large numbers.
5. Passionate for growth – Richa Kar, Zivame
Richa Kar‘s involvement in a project related to Victoria’s Secret, brought her attention to the discomfort of Indian women while shopping for innerwear at physical retail stores.
Coming from a household where drying intimate wear in the open was seen as an act of shame, she dared to start a business of online lingerie store “Zivame“.
She gave women 5000 styles to choose, from the comfort of their homes. Bringing Zivame, 300% year-on-year growth in their revenues.
It has now become a household name among females—not just for its exhilarating range of clothing, but also for the quality and durability it guarantees.
6. Effortless Intimacy – Ana Mikaela Silva, Pleasy Play
Keeping the spark of your marriage the same even after years have passed is not a piece of cake.
But Mikaela and her partner are trying to make it easier than baking a cake through their venture “Pleasy Play“.
She feels just like physical and mental health, it is important to focus on sexual health as well to lead a happy and peaceful life.
Their aim is to help married couples get back their spark through healthy communication and other activities.
“Having surveyed our users, more than 75% of couples said that Pleasy had enhanced their sex lives, intimacy and communication, thereby strengthening their relationships”, says Ana.
7. AI to categorise clothes – Hasna Kourda, Save Your Wardrobe
Coming from a family where the concept of circular economy was practised.
When she moved to London, Hasna saw the difference in their lifestyle and realised how it is a threat to the environment.
With a little deeper research, she found out most of it lies in the fashion industry due to the lack of connection of people with their wardrobe.
With a motto to embed a zero-waste policy in the fashion industry, Hasna started “Save Your Wardrobe.
An app that uses AI to help you make full use of the clothes you own.
The business recently received £2.52 million ($3 million) in seed funding to expand into Europe.
8. Affordable Re(productivity) – Carly Leahy and Afton Vechery, Modern Fertility
“We have a way to track almost everything in our lives: steps, cholesterol, bank statements and family trees. Something, as formative as fertility shouldn’t be a mystery”, says Afton and Carly, co-founders of Modern Fertility.
After being diagnosed with PCOS, a cause of infertility that affects one in 10 women (at 27), Afton Vechery, realised that the fertility space is not only expensive but also unreachable to a lot of women.
She left her job to carry out her research by understanding the decision-making of ovary holders.
Later, “Modern Fertility” was born, a reproductive health company that allows women to test their own egg reserve and ovulation hormone levels at home.
Carly, with a background in working on creative strategy at Google and Uber, joined the company as a co-founder to humanize it.
To date, the company has received only one complaint related to issues concerning company services.
9. A mission to give back – Nichole Nzegwu, Kare Granola
Kare Granola is the first Black-owned granola business in Canada.
Nichole went to Trent University to study economics and lead a better life, but soon tables turned when her family was unable to support her due to the loss in their business.
This made her realise the importance of financial independence in women’s lives.
She started her bakery with a vision to put a smile on people’s faces and also lift other women like her.
Google and YouTube helped her in registering her business and now she offers her customers customised granolas.
Krave Granola is now a founding partner of The ShePreneur Project which supports women in difficult situations.
10. Overcoming global health challenges – Amèlie Quilichini, Kolibri
Amèlie’s LinkedIn says, “Bringing disruptive technologies where least expected has been the common theme of my career”.
Which turns out to be true.
Kolibri, a biotech company is making gene therapy promise a reality which is co-founded by Amèlie.
Restriction in terms of scalability and efficiency in current bioproduction techniques leads to high production costs and limited yield.
Kolibri’s method consists of combining advanced techniques in acoustics and biology, thus making it possible to increase yield while reducing production costs.
The team sees itself moving towards a larger range of diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s through gene therapy.
11. Agriculture focused – Anu Meena, Agrowave
To focus on the backbone of the economy, Anu started Agrowave and began her journey of being an agri-preneurs.
She left her American logistics startup job as an operation analyst when a conversation with a truck driver got her flashbacks of her farmer grandfather’s struggles during her childhood.
Agrowave is improving the unorganised supply chain by being a mobile e-vendor of fruits and vegetables using technology to bridge the farmers directly to the businesses.
Her mantra of great leadership has helped her startup grow which is to have a clear vision, a passionate team of people and the power to execute your planning.
So far, they have connected and gained the trust of 5000 Indian farmers.
Recently, they have also launched an app to provide global news around agriculture “Agrishots“.
12. Going vocal for local – Suchita Salwan, Little Black Book
You are aware of that place which is 200 km away from your city that everyone wants to visit once.
But you hardly have any idea about the best bags, gifts or food shops in your own city.
Well, not anymore!
Suchita Salwan is a Delhi explorer who used to love documenting her city as a hobby on a Tumblr blog.
Later, with an increase in young urban audience’s attention to the same, she turned it into a website and app called “Little Black Book”.
A platform for best local discoveries across categories.
This economics graduate’s secret to success is her passion to deliver according to the changes in the millennial’s interest and her heed in marketing and brand building.
With a mission to turn local businesses into brands, LBB’s growth still today continues to be 80%-85% organically.
13. Blessing Youths – Supriya Paul, Josh Talks
You chose the college and degree that a majority of people suggested or something you are passionate about.
Done with college, didn’t get selected by your dream company, now what?
Thousands of students have no one to guide them after or even during college.
Supriya’s vision to start Josh Talks in her words—”To be an elder brother figure who creates that entire ecosystem for them, ”
They targeted students from Tier I and II cities who are under confident due to lack of some basic skills like speaking English which plays an important role in career growth.
Focused on creating content to educate them about career opportunities, today it is available in 10 regional languages.
The startup, Josh Talks claims to have over one million app installs and over 100K paid users on Josh Skill and provides career guidance to over 500K people per month under Josh Kosh. They recently raised $3.5M funding.
14. Broke the age barrier – Falguni Nayar, Nykaa
No one thinks of leaving their well-paying job a decade before retiring.
Okay, maybe I am wrong because Falguni Nayar did.
She decided to leave her 20-year job as an investment banker and launched Nykaa, an Indian Cosmetics marketplace, with her own savings.
Turns out, it was a well-planned decision as now she is among India’s 20 richest people.
Ultimately it was her love for make-up and her research that the Indian market needed an online cosmetics and wellness platform that drove her.
With Nykaa, she was able to bridge this gap and transformed the way women in India shop.
Nayar took Nykaa public in November 2021, becoming India’s richest self-made female entrepreneur in the process.
15. Engineer to Entrepreneur – Manasi Shah, The Clueless Company
In search of satisfaction and to improve her relationship with work, Manasi left her Marketing job.
Without a plan…
Despite everything being set for her, she joined one of her ex-colleagues’ startup, “The Clueless Company” as a co-founder, marketer and content writer.
A service-based business covering all crucial parts to run a company—sales, support and marketing.
Fulfilling the search of every company’s in finding an organisation that does it all.
The company aims to develop its own SaaS product in the future and expand in different countries.
16. Prioritised financial wellness – Ennie Lim, HoneyBee
According to Ennie Lim, financial wellness is a hard-to-reach goal that’s consumed and defined her entire life.
After hitting rock bottom twice due to a lack of financial knowledge, once after her father’s unexpected medical condition and the second was her divorce, she knew there’s nowhere to go but up from there.
Lim’s call to start something to do about it made her co-founder of HoneyBee.
A financial solution platform which offers 0% APR loans of up to a thousand dollars to employees in need and also personalised financial coaching.
70% of the users are women.
Ennie Lim has already raised several million dollars in equity, plus a $100M credit facility to help improve financial wellness in the workforce.
17. Niched to women and non-binary – Alexia de Broglie, Margot de Broglie, Your Juno
While we are on the topic of financial literacy, here’s another duo who bridged the gender gap in this field.
The idea of “Your Juno” was generated when they saw the difference in the finance conversation between their girlfriends and the guys.
A financial education platform is here to change that and make them confident about their finances too.
Since it launched its iOS app in October 2021, it’s now been downloaded by more than 12k women and non-binary people
In March 2022, Your Juno announced a $2.2m seed round led by InReach Ventures and supported by a series of high-profile Angel investors, 70% of whom were women.
If you are at a similar stage, a blog about stages of startup funding can come in handy.
18. Solving the global food problem – Anne-Cathrine Preißer, Mushlabs
Food wastage is a global problem which can result in food shortages.
Anne Cathrine is on a mission to solve this global food crisis.
She combined science and practice through her startup Mushlab.
And is tackling the power of biotechnology to develop a new generation of sustainable food.
Its unique cultivation process includes the growth of the mycelium (the root of the mushroom) through a process called fermentation which saves time and is highly efficient.
The vision of the company is to use the power of mushrooms and biotechnology to build a healthy and fair food system for the growing population.
The company has recently received eight-digit figure funds through the EU.
19. Debunking myths around menopause – Arfa Rehman, Caria
Education is important, and the rate of importance increases when it’s an overlooked segment in society.
One such topic is menopause.
After finding a gap in this form of learning, Arfa took an initiative through her startup Caria (formerly called Clio).
An app that holds your hand through ups and downs during the menopausal period. A combination of data and AI provides personalised guidance to help you understand menopausal changes and manage its symptoms.
It also lets you connect with other women, helping you have a healthier and easier journey.
Caria provides evidence-based approaches for managing menopause including cognitive therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, nutritional therapy, mindfulness, and fitness.
20. United her talents – Diarra Boussou, Diarrablu
Merging your interests and launching a startup.
This looks like a plan.
Diarra Boussou, a dreamer of being a mathematician, fashion designer, ballerina and artist.
After combining 3 of her dreams, she launched a sustainable and size-inclusive fashion and lifestyle brand Diarrablu.
She started out with a blog featuring her one-off designs but knew nothing about how the industry worked.
So, after some research “I started using mathematical code to create textile patterns. The programming takes time but once it’s done, I can come up with thousands of iterations just by changing a few numbers”, says Diarra.
That’s how she combined her fashion sense with maths.
Her tailors also retain ancient skills and ways of cutting based on circularity and zero waste.
Till date, she has built a community of 90K+ followers on Instagram.
21. Found her Finance Goal – Gurleen Kaur Tikku, Hareepatti
Gurleen, as a BFIA (Bachelor in Finance and investment analysis) student, didn’t take her education seriously as that was not what she wanted.
But 2 decades later in her life, after her father’s death that very same knowledge came in handy to carry forward his business.
She has always been good with numbers, after successfully managing her father’s business. She went on to offer financial advisory and started “Hareepatti“.
In the words of Gurleen, ‘Initially, I stepped into the business to maintain and retain the business’s goodwill but at a later stage I realized the need for the right financial advice is what is not easily available to the masses.”
She has been awarded as one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs from Delhi and has created a family of 70k+ on Instagram.
22. Thinking out of the box – Radhika Bajoria, Radically Yours
A 21 year old bright student who got rewarded with diverse work experience.
Radhika started her journey by writing on LinkedIn and when her startup news content gained traction among people that landed a pool of opportunities in her DMs.
People wanted to the point of write-ups and she was delivering it.
With her gain of interest in researching innovative startup stories, she started a platform “Radically Yours” to help such young companies gain traction and funding opportunities.
She says, “the problem is not of having lesser women in industries, the bigger problem is of not having enough visibility for so many women who are building great businesses and their careers.”
Radically Yours has recently launched W.I.P.E to foster women entrepreneurship.
23. Better stays away from home – Sneha Choudhry, ZoloStays
You wish to study in a college away from home!
You got a job in another city!
With an increase in the number of opportunities away from your hometown comes the task of finding hassle-free stays.
Sneha Choudhry is trying to solve this problem through ZoloStays, a platform which provides fully managed, long-term affordable stay options.
Not only this, but they also provide yummy food, free maintenance and assurance of safety and hygiene.
Zolo is currently available in 10+ cities with 45,000 live beds and 70,000+ customers.
24. Easing the hardship – Jaya Jha, Pothi
To make a task like publishing a book easy and affordable.
Jaya Jha came up with the idea of Pothi, a POD-backed open publishing platform
She herself is a reader, book-lover and an occasional writer. She has experience working with Google before starting her own venture.
Her inspiration comes from seeing publishing as an essentially human endeavour, an act of expression and communication
"This platform approach has ensured that instead of competing head-on with the traditional publishing, we fill a gap in the market", says Jaya.
Pothi has done over 120 books, most of which are available from their online store. Some others have been done for private circulation or for sale through the publisher’s direct channel. They are adding 15+ books per month.
25. Helping Healthcare Sector – Khushboo Jain, Impact Guru
With a mission to provide Indian small healthcare companies a platform to move forward.
Khushboo Jain founded Impact Guru, a crowdfunding company offering solutions globally.
She funded many small companies in India and helped them to rise.
Many times, the company also works as a non-profit to help the small companies.
Khushboo Jain has recently featured in the Fortune 40 under 40 lists in India.
The company is connected with over 1,500 hospitals across the country and has become India’s largest crowdfunding platform for medical expenses, personal causes and nonprofits.
“Running Impact Guru is a very fulfilling experience for me because I know that the work we do directly transforms the lives through the power of technology and the internet”, says Khusboo.
26. Helping companies scale – Emma Sinclair, EnterpriseAlumni
Emma is the youngest person in the world to have floated a company on the London Stock Exchange, doing so at 29.
A serial entrepreneur, she now co-leads the global software company EnterpriseAlumni.
An alumni management platform that helps large companies and enterprises preserve the relationship between employer and employee.
Their software helps drive recruitment, boomerang hires, increase business development, cut costs and much more.
Outside of her day job, she contributes to the media and is UNICEF’s Business Advisor. In 2016, was awarded an MBE by the Queen for Services to Entrepreneurship.
27. Accurate use of virtual world – Rachel McCrickard, Motivo Health
A path to becoming licensed therapists comes with a lot of roadblocks.
But it shouldn’t be that way.
At a time when our society needs quality mental health providers, it’s critical we leverage technology to remove unnecessary barriers in the licensure process,” said McCrickard.
So, a family and marriage therapist herself, Rachel built a foundation “Motivo Health” to anticipate her co-therapists’ needs.
A platform that connects therapists with clinical supervisors virtually.
Her aim with Motivo was not only to make clinical supervision accessible but affordable as well.
Last year they helped over 1,000 clinicians achieve licensure.
28. Smart use of tech – Amira Cheniour, Seabex
It’s crucial to bring technology and agriculture together to cope with environmental changes.
One such thing that Amira found the need for in Tunisian agriculture was the use of water to get better. For the benefit of both local farmers along with the country.
So, she built Seabex, an e-monitoring and automation system enabling smarter irrigation.
With the usage of AI, Seabex works in achieving better use of resources, water, fertilisers, energy and expected yield.
In 2023, they won the trophy for the category “startup that collaborates with chambers of agriculture.”
29. Opening opportunities for women – Regina Honu, Soronko Academy
One educated woman is enough to educate the next generation of women.
Well, that is what Regina, a software developer, is doing by teaching girls how to code to make sure that they get access to the same opportunities as her.
She turned down a job offer at Microsoft to pursue her dream, her startup, Soronko Solutions.
Later, she opened the Soronko Academy in Accra, the first coding and human-centered design school for children and young adults.
Till date, she has taught 20,000 girls and brought job opportunities to 5,000 of them.
30. Early Recognition – Mariam Naficy, Minted
With an aim to evolve the world of digital printing that is devoid of designers, Mariam founded Minted, a crowd-sourced design company that holds continuous design competitions.
She was early to recognise the potential of online creative communities and brought in the fresh objectives to change the design market.
The designers who sold their work did not compulsorily come from a background of art school, it could be self-taught but no one was aware about these things, the focus was purely on the quality of output.
This made Minted the most successful community-based e-commerce company in the world.
Till today the company has given employment to more than 16,000 independent artists from around the world.
31. Normalizing the normal – Georgina Gooley, Billie
We haven’t really seen body hairs in hair removing ads in the first place.
Making a taboo of such a normal thing.
Georgina is normalizing it with her venture Billie, a women’s razor brand.
By being the first to show body hair in the 100 years of shaving industry, Georgina also promotes the thought of what women do with her body hair is totally up to them.
They aim to provide premium products at affordable prices and not make women pay an arm and a leg to get rid of their body or facial hairs.
Her unique approach to the same old product made Billie viral and successful.
Glad you made it up to here and I hope you learned something.
Also filled with the feeling of pride to see our women leaping all hurdles and achieving their goals.
Most of them are self-made and a lot of them have been supported by the people around her.
We need to have more people like them for women to get the equity they deserve.