Two years ago, the New England Venture Capital Association commissioned a study looking at the number of women founders and chief executives in venture-backed companies, and it found that Boston isn’t nearly as inclusive as it could be.
“Boston wants to be home to the best women in technology.”
“Boston has a crop of tremendously talented female entrepreneurs, and is doing no better or worse than any other major startup market as far as the ratio of venture-backed women to men founders,” C.A. Webb, former executive director of the NEVCA, said at the time. “… We are interested in propelling that conversation further and making explicit that Boston wants to be home to the best women in technology.”
Fast forward to today and we’re seeing that we’re still not quite there when it comes to better supporting women in entrepreneurship. A study commissioned by Babson College last year found that while the likelihood of women-led startups receiving venture funding has increased threefold over the past 15 years, men-led startups still lead the charge, landing six deals for every one that is made with a startup led by a women.
At the same time, the percentage of female partners at venture capital firms has decreased in the last 15 years, going from 10 percent to 6.
“We’re going the wrong way,” Jodi Goldstein, Evans Family Foundation Managing Director at Harvard Innovation Lab, said at a recent panel hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
When Webb, who is now working on raising a fund with ex-North Bridge Partner Michael Skok, wrote about the NEVCA’s findings two years ago, she wanted to show that, while progress still needs to be made, there are a lot of great startups in Boston that are led and founded by women. And she demonstrated that by posting a comprehensive list, which we have now updated and expanded beyond the venture-backed startups that were initially included.
So here it is, our comprehensive and ever-growing list of women-led startups in the Boston Area …
99Degress Custom: Brenna Nan Scheider is the founder and CEO of this startup, which provides a build-to-order manufacturing solution for so-called “me-commerce” retail brands, brands that focus on personalizing the shopping experience for individual customers.
Acción Systems: Natayla Brikner is the CEO and founder of this startup, which engineers high-quality, affordable propulsion systems that enables maneuverability in satellites and increases their lifetime.
Adelphic: This company provides a mobile and cross-channel programmatic advertising platform that lets brands connect to consumers and influence their behavior in real time. One of the company’s co-founders is Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Lum.
Agora: Founded and led by Elsa Sze, the startup is developing “an online town hall for local communities” that is currently in beta with a number of partner cities.
Allergy Amulet: Abigail Barnes is founder and CEO of the MassChallenge finalist, which is developing the synonymous Allergy Amulet, a portable, point-of-consumption allergen detection device that can be worn as a necklace, bracelet or carried in a pocket or purse.
ArtLifting: Liz Powers is the CEO and co-founder of this social enterprise, which uses an online marketplace to promote and sell artwork by homeless and disabled individuals. It recently sold 17 pieces of work to its first Fortune 500 company.
AutismSees:Danielle Feerst is the CEO and founder of the MassChallenge finalist, which has developed a patented iPad app that allows people “with social skills disorders like Austism Spectrum Disorders and social anxiety to practice presenting a speech or answering scripted interview questions to a virtual audience directly on their device.”
Barakat Bundle: Karima Ladhani is the CEO and founder of the social enterprise, which is working on a synonymous product that is a “curated package of evidence-based public health interventions paired with demand-inducing maternal and baby care items to support expectant mothers during pregnancy, delivery, and infant care.” With the bundle, the startup aims to reduce preventable infant and maternal mortality in south Asia.
Baroo: The startup, founded by Lindsay Hyde and Meghan Reiss, provides an on-demand pat care service by working directly with luxury property owners.
BeautyLynk: The startup, led and co-founded by Rica Elysee, launched an app this summer that lets users book on-demand, in-home beauty services.
Bevi: The startup makes a “smart water cooler” that lets people create their own flavored and sparkling drinks. One of the co-founders is Product Head Eliza Becton.
BoardOnTrack: This startup, founded and led by Marci Cornell-Feist, provides specialized management software for the boards and CEOs of public charter schools.
BookaLokal Inc.: Co-founded by and led by Evelyne White, the startup provides an online marketplace for local group dining experiences, letting patrons easily find, book and pay for group events while also helping restaurants fill private rooms and empty tables.
Bow & Drape: Led by Aubrie Pagana, this startup provides an online platform that lets shoppers design custom clothing, which is then manufactured in the U.S. and shipped to their doorsteps.
Brass: Founded by Katie Doyle and Jay Holstein, the startup is a women’s clothing brand that sells its own high-quality, affordable basics exclusively through its e-commerce website.
Burst: The startup provides mobile video and photo sharing app that lets users privately share recorded media with their smartphones. COO Tracy Deforge is a co-founder.
Cabbige: Founded by Jessica Angell, the startup has developed online tools that help farms “optimize their postharvest business, including price optimization and crop planning and gain entry to mainstream retail channels.”
CabinetM: Co-founded by Anita Brearton and Sheryl Schultz, the startup is developing an online discovering platform that connects marketers with marketing technology companies.
CAKE: The startup, co-founded and led by Suelin Chen, recently launched the beta version of its online service, which seeks to make it easier to think about end-of-life issues.
Campseekers: Founded by Shayne Gilbert, the company provides an online platform that lets families search and save summer camp sessions.
Care.com: Founded and led by Sheila Marcele, the online care website went public last year and touts a membership of 15.2 million across 16 countries, including the U.S. and parts of western Europe.
Careport Health: The startup, led and co-founded by Lissy Hu, helps hospitals, accountable care organizations and healthcare systems optimize post-acute outcomes and costs with an interactive, patient-centered online platform that tracks patients’ progress in real-time.
Changing Environments: Founded by Sandra Richter, Jutta Friedrichs and Nan Zhao, the startup develops smart hardware and software solutions for cities. Its first product is the Soofa, which combines a bench with solar power, sensors and Internet connectivity, enabling people to charge their mobile devices while they sit.
Cintell: The startup provides a cloud-based customer intelligence platform that “enables companies to better understand their buyers and operationalize customer insights to make customer-centric decisions.” Katie Martell is the startup’s CMO and co-founder.
ClearSky Data: The company, which unveiled its new approach to data storage in late August, was co-founded by CEO Ellen Rubin. She previously had been an executive at Netezza (acquired for $1.7 billion by IBM) and after that co-founded CloudSwitch, acquired by Verizon in 2011.
Clothbound: Co-founded by Kelly Daigle, the startup is starting out with a mobile platform that helps match restaurants with job candidates based on soft skills, interests and experience.
CoCoMama Foods: The startup, led and founded by Sara Gragnolati, makes on-the-go, gluten-free foods using ancient grains. Its first product is Quinoa Cereal.
confi: Founded and led by Tess Brooks, the startup provides an online community for women seeking advice on intimate health topics. It plans to eventually generate revenue through sponsorships and an e-commerce aspect.
coUrbanize: The startup is developing an “online platform for real estate developers and communities to build better cities together.” Karin Brandt is its founder and CEO.
Crimson Hexagon: The company, led by Stephanie Newby, provides social media analysis software for General Mills, Starbucks, Paramount Pictures, Microsoft and other large corporate clients. Using its patented technology and an internal data library, the software helps businesses answer questions using insights derived through social data.
CueThink: Founded and led by Sheela Sethuraman, the startup provides a peer-to-peer mobile learning platform that helps middle school and high school students improve their math skills.
CyPhy Works: Helen Greiner, co-founder and former president of iRobot, is the president and founder of this drone startup, which has been providing drones to the military and most recently raised money through a Kickstarter campaign for a consumer version.
Dashbell: Led and co-founded by Paige Brown, Dashbell is a SaaS platform for independent hotels that lets them manage reservations and availability, along with other hotel management features.
Delightfully: Gina Luciano is the CEO and co-founder of this digital gifting company that lets customers send “personalized, unwrapping experiences” through desktop and mobile devices.
Digaboom: The startup provides an online collaboration platform that connects digital marketers with each other and companies that need their expertises. One of the co-founders is Chief Creative Officer Tracey Greene.
Do Ink: Karen Miller is the president and co-founder of this startup, which develops “creation” apps for the education market. Its apps include “Animation & Drawing” and “Green Screen.”
DRINKmaple: Kate Weiler is the co-founder of this startup, which makes a premium, pure plant-based water that uses raw maple sap as a primary ingredient.
ENERGYbits: Founded and led by Catharine Arnston, the startup’s first products are tiny algae tablets called “bits” that are being sold under four different brands through its ecommerce site.
Energy Harvesters: The MassChallenge Finalist is developing a device to be included within footwear that serve as a personal electronics mobile power source called the “Walking Charger.” It will be used to charge smartphone batteries through a user’s walking motion. COO Sherry Handel is one of the startup’s two co-founders.
Evy Tea: The startup, named after founder Evy Chen, claims to be the world’s first premium, cold brew tea company, making a product that uses all natural ingredients.
Extend Biosciences: This biotech company is working on a drug delivery platform technology “that improves the pharmacokinetic properties of peptides and proteins,” which the company hopes will lead to letting pharmaceuticals develop them into long-acting therapeutics. One of the company’s co-founders is Chief Business Officer Laura Hales.
ezCater: The startup provides an online marketplace that connects users with caterers. One of the co-founders is CEO Stefania Nappi Mallett.
FamilyID: Founded and led by Rochelle Nemrow, the startup provides an online marketplace that connects families with programs and activities run by camps, school departments, museums and other groups.
Fashion Project: Co-founded by Anna Palmer and Christine Rizk, the Fashion Project sells donated clothing through an online marketplace to raise money for charities.
Fedwell: Founded by Emily Lagasse, the startup makes natural, shelf-stable dog food. It’s aiming to become the first dog food company to become non-GMO certified.
Finomial: Led by Meredith Moss, the startup provides services that improves the buy side of the investment process “by automating the manual hedge fund subscription process between investor, fund manager and administrator.”
Fit University: Founded by Sarah Gaines, Fit University is a website dedicated to providing content on healthy living and building all-inclusive fitness communities on college campuses.
Follain: Tara Foley is the CEO and founder of this beauty products e-commerce company that only sells products made in the U.S. It has two retail locations in Boston, one in Nantucket and another in Washington, D.C.
FORUM Pharmaceuticals: The biotech firm, led by CEO and President Deborah Dunshire, is developing medicines to help those with serious brain diseases, including schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.
Fuzzy Compass: Led by Sasha Hoffman, the startup’s SaaS platform helps travel bloggers and “influencers” monetize their audience by “providing 1-1 custom trip planning services for a fee,” of which the startup takes a 20 percent cut per transaction.
Gesto: The startup is working on a smartwatch technology that reads your muscle’s electrical signals to track motions and translate gestures and patterns into actions on a computer. Two of the co-founders are Andreia Carolina Dias and Dora Inacio.
Gigavation: Founded and led by Gita Srivastava, the startup “develops cybersecurity technologies” for consumers, corporations, and the public-sector.
GNS Healthcare: This big data analytics company develops software that helps healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies and foundations predict the effectiveness of interventions for each patient to reduce costs and improve a population’s overall health. One of the company’s co-founders is Executive Vice President Iya Khalil.
Gradeable: Parul Singh is the founder and CEO of this startup, which offers a mobile education assistant for teachers in grade 4 and up. The startup said its system, which helps enable best practices in the classroom, has led to increases in standardized test scores by up to 29 percent.
GRIT: This social enterprise, led by Tish Scolnik, makes a specialized wheelchair it calls a “mountain bike for your arms.”
Happier: Led and co-founded by Nataly Kogan, Happier aims to improve the emotional wellness of people with a mobile app, “innovative, bite-sized courses” developed by leading wellness experts and a supportive community. Happier was named one of the top 50 apps in 2013 by Time magazine.
HelpAroundTown: The online marketplace, founded and led by Reem Yared, connects individuals, businesses and nonprofits who need help with those who are seeking work.
Her Campus Media: Founded by Windsor Hanger Western, Stephanie Kaplan Lewis and Annie Wang, this college media platform has helped launched the careers for a number of female journalists, who have been offered jobs and internships with Vogue, Buzzfeed and other outlets.
HeyWire: Meredith Flynn-Ripley is the CEO and co-founder of the enterprise messaging company, which provides corporate customers with cloud texting services for office phone numbers and customer support 1-800 numbers.
Hydroswarm: Founded by and led by Sampriti Bhattacharyya, the startup is working on an “adaptable, smart drone platform” that communicate with underwater, data-collecting drones, according to TechCrunch. The drones can have a number of applications, including environmental monitoring and monitoring for the oil and gas industry.
Increment Studios: Founded by Cynthia Poon and Maeve Jopson, the startup creates playthings for children with and without disabilities. Its first product is a large-scale sensory toy called “O-Rings.”
InCrowd: Pitching itself as “the only company providing healthcare focused real-time market research,” InCrowd was co-founded by its president, Diane Hays, and its CEO, Janet Kosloff.
InfoBionic: Nancy Briefs is the CEO of InfoBionic, which provides a patient monitoring platform that helps physicians accurately diagnose and treat patients with arrhythmia.
inStream Media: The International marketing services company, led by Ann Raider, uses proprietary software to deliver targeting marketing program through mobile, digital and point-of-sale platforms, the latter of which produces ad graphics on consumer receipts at major retailers.
Intelligent.ly: The leadership development startup provides a management development program. Sarah Hodges is one of its co-founders, and Abbie Weeks services as its executive director.
Jibo, Inc.: Founded by Cynthia Breazeal and Jeri Asher, the startup has developed the “First Family Robot,” a countertop robot that helps people send messages, take family photos, hold video chats and coordinate schedules.
Khethworks: Led and co-founded by Katie Taylor, the startup “builds reliable, solar-powered irrigation systems” that lets farmers in eastern India farm year-round when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Kind Eye: The startup helps customers find safe personal care products using its online discovery tool. Co-founded by CEO Rachel Murray and CTO Clare Parkinson.
Klio Health: The startup, co-founded and led by Jacqueline Thong, uses an online platform to help healthcare providers improve patient care through collaborative care plans, automated and personalized feedback and self-reporting.
Kyruus: This enterprise healthcare provider solutions company helps health systems “optimize their patient access, referral management and care coordination operations.” One of the co-founders is Chief Product Officer Julie Yoo.
LearnLux: Rebecca Liebman co-founded the startup, which uses online learning tools to teach millennials personal finance skills and connect them with financial institutions to let them take immediate action.
Listen Current: The edtech startup, led and founded by public radio veteran Monica Brady-Myerov, has an online subscription service that provides middle schools and high schools with public radio stories that cover a number of subjects, including science, English language arts and social studies.
Little Sparrows Technologies: The startup is co-founded and led by Donna Brezinkski, who is researching and developing a low-cost, portable therapy device for babies suffering from neonatal jaundice in developing countries.
LuminOva Inc.: Alexandra Dickson is the CEO of the startup, which is “developing an optical infertility device to assess egg and embryo quality to improve success rates of in vitro fertilization.” It won the Harvard Business School Association of Boston’s New Venture Program Final Four competition earlier this year.
Meetcaregivers: Florence Furaha is the founder and CEO of the startup, which provides a video-integrated online platform that lets families find and connect with qualified caregivers for their aging parents.
Meet Eugene: Founded by Brianna Stiklickas, the startup currently makes high-quality, natural food for hedgehogs and plans to expand to other healthy products for hedgehogs.
meQuilibrium: Using a SaaS platform, the company provides a suite of apps that offer a “personalized stress management solution that helps people cope with today’s daily pressures.” Jan Bruce is its CEO and co-founder.
MIFCOR Inc.: The startup, led by Nicola Bucala, is developing a biologic therapeutic that protects tissues from cell death during a heart attack.
Ministry of Supply: The menswear ecommerce startup uses a research-driven approach to designing clothing. One of the co-founders is Kit Hickey.
Moringa Connect: This social enterprise, co-founded by COO Emily Cunningham, produces and sells food and beauty products made with moringa seeds, which they buy from farmers in Africa.
mosaicHUB: Founded and led by Mary-Alice Miller, mosaicHUB is a business-to-business platform that lets businesses connect with a variety of service providers.
Nara Logics: Jana Eggers is the CEO of this startup, which has created an artificial intelligence platform that helps businesses parse large amounts of data and make better informed decisions.
Navitome LLC: The startup develops software that “helps you streamline and organize your processes into interactive, step-by-step walkthrough guides that you can share with your employees or customers.” The guides can be used for a number of activities, including product training and customer self-service. Two of the company’s co-founders are CEO Lalita Booth and COO Anne Punzak Marcus.
Nightingale Apps: Founded by Tiffany Kelley, the health IT startup develops mobile apps for nurses working in hospitals. Its first app, Know My Patient, provides nurses with information they need for daily care of their patients.
Nu3Kidz: Founded by Giuliana Lobo, the startup makes organic pancake mix products using ingredients like beets, quinoa, carrots and spinach.
OvaScience: Michelle Dipp is the CEO and co-founder of this global life sciences company, which is developing and commercializing new fertility treatments for women using its proprietary technology.
PanTher Therapeutics: Laura Indolfi is the CEO and co-founder of this biotech startup, which develops technologies for “revolutionizing the treatment of inoperable locally advanced tumors.”
Paradigm4: Led and co-founded by Marilyn Matz, the company provides a computation database that mins insights from genomics, clinical, trading and other kinds of data for companies working in the life sciences, precision medicine, trading e-commerce and the Internet of Things.
Peach Inc.: Led and founded by Janet Kraus, this social commerce companies provides lingerie and basic clothing products for women through personal stylists who work individually with customers and build their own businesses in doing so.
Pixability: Founded and led by Bettina Hein, this startup provides an ad buying and video marketing platform that lets agencies, brands and marketers connect to targeted audiences on YouTube.
Playrific: Beth Marcus is the CEO of this startup, which has developed web and mobile apps that provide children with interactive experiences based on their own likes and interests.
PMS Bites: Founded by Tania Green, the startup makes chocolaty and healthy snacks that are specifically designed for women “when we need it most” and only have “50 calories a pop” for guilt-free eating.
PopUp Childcare: Kimberly Thompson, the startup’s CEO, founded PopUp Childcare to provide “professional drop-in care onsite at movie theaters, restaurants, sporting events and more.”
Rest Devices: Led and co-founded by Dulcia Madden, the connected devices company has released its first product, MiMo, a onesie for babies that doubles as a smart wearable baby monitor that tracks respiration, body position and other metrics and sends that data to a parent’s smartphone in real time.
Revision Ventures: The social enterprise, led and founded by Cecilia Foxworthy, works to “narrow the economic opportunity gap for young people and entrepreneurs/small businesses in under resourced urban communities.”
Rifiniti: The startup provides a web-based software platform that helps companies “optimize their office space and workflow.” One of its co-founders is Irina Mladenova, executive vice president of product strategy.
Roomzilla: Co-founded and led by Michelle Darby, Roomzilla develops cloud-based software that helps users manage conference room reservations with real-time data.
Seeding Labs: Led and co-founded by Nina Dudnik, the nonprofit helps research scientists in developing countries by providing them lab equipment, training and opportunities to work with others who are experts in their field.
Silverside Detectors: The startup is developing a neutron detection technology that “enables governments to deploy networks of detectors at nuclear material storage sites, in transit routes, and throughout cities.” COO Sarah Haig is one of its co-founders.
Sitting Around: Founded and led by Erica Zidel, the company provides a website that lets parents network and start babysitting co-ops and also lets them trade free childcare in their communities.
Six Foods: Co-founded by Laura D’Asaro, Meryl Natow and Rose Wang, the startup makes a line of chips made with crickets, appropriately called “Chirps.”
Smart Lunches: The company provides an online ordering service that delivers “nutritious, high-quality meals” directly to kids at schools, daycare centers and camps. The company also operates Smart Snax vending machines. Emily Green is the company’s CEO and “chief lunch lady.”
Sonation: Ann Chao is the CEO and co-founder of this music tech startup, which has released its first app, Cadenza, which lets musicians practice with a virtual orchestra that listens and responds to their style of playing.
Spoiler Alert: The startup is developing software that helps businesses manage their surplus food and organic waste. One of the co-founders is Chief Product Officer Emily Malina.
Strohl Medical: Heather Keith is the CEO and founder of this biotech company, which is developing a simulation device that speeds the diagnosis process for patients with neurophysiological conditions.
SuperHealos: Led by Yuanyuan Yin, the startup aims to relieve stress for children undergoing medical treatment with storybooks, capes, shirts and other products, all developed with the help of medical experts.
Supplet: Led and co-founded by Jessica Munroe, the startup provides a service for pregnant and new mothers that delivers them monthly boxes full of healthy niche products, ranging from cookies and organic, pasteurized juice to massage oil for stretch marks.
Sustainable Minds: Founded and led by Terry Swack, Sustainable Minds develops on-demand, web-based software that helps manufacturers, educational institutions and product consultancies track the lifecycle of a product’s environmental performance to promote more sustainable practices and increase revenue.
SybilSecurity: The data privacy startup has developed an algorithm that allows enterprises “to share data more privately, more richly, faster” and enable automatic privacy audits. One of the co-founders is Rebekah Emanuel.
Teaching Garage: The edtech startup has developed a digital curriculum for teachers covering science, technology, engineering and math. It was founded by CEO Janice Chong and VP of Business Development Edwina Tom.
The Faster Times: Founded and led by Samara Gordon, the news media startup provides a platform for journalists to make crowd-sourced, verifiable predictions about tomorrow’s news, which users, in turn, vote on whether they will be right or wrong.
The Grommet: Jules Pieri is the CEO and co-founder of this startup, which provides an online product launch platform that helps companies introduce new products for business-to-business and business-to-consumer audiences.
Tread: Amber Milos is the CEO and a co-founder of the startup, which is developing a social lifestyle app that emphasizes sharing your favorite experiences and places with your friend.
Trill: The startup runs a website and mobile app that recommends local entertainment events in Boston and plans to expand to other cities. It was co-founded by CEO Kathleen Stetson and Head of Product and Design Katy Harris.
Unshrinkit: Co-founded and led by Desiree Stolar, The startup’s patent-pending product reverses shrinking in wool sweaters by interacting with the wool’s proteins and relaxing their bonds, allowing you to straighten out the sweater’s fibers and bring them back into their original place.
Upward Labs: The company develops software that helps brands create and manage brand ambassador programs, making it easier for them to engage their most dedicated fans and analyze their impact . Two of the company’s co-founders are VP of Marketing and Product Management Ali Robbins Hyatt and VP of Sales Molly McCarthy.
Vaxess Technologies: This biotech company is developing a silk-based protein that stabilizes the temperature of vaccines so they can be stored and shipped without the need for refrigeration. One of the company’s co-founders is VP of Research and Development Kathryn Kosuda.
ViralGains: The company provides a video ad engagement platform, which lets brands and agencies distribute video across the “open web” and gives them actionable insights based on viewer behavior. One of the company’s co-founders is Chief Relationship Officer Kate Willett.
Vivoom: Katherine Hays is the founder of this startup, which provides “the industry’s first participatory mobile advertising platform,” enabling brands to leverage audience participation for every ad campaign using its patented CoCreate Technology.
VocalID: The startup, led and founded by Rupal Patel, uses a specialized technology that helps people who can’t speak by providing them a computerized voice that combines their “samples of their residual vocalization with a comprehensive speech database recorded by a matched donor.”
Voxel8: Founded by Jennifer Lewis, the hardware startup makes a 3D printer that lets you print materials for electronic devices.
Wanderu: Polina Raygorodskaya is the CEO of this startup, which provides an online platform and smartphone app that lets users book bus and train trips with large providers like Amtrak, Greyhound, BoltBus, Peter Pan Bus Lines and Megabus.
Wellist: Founded and led by Ashley Reid, the early-public benefit corporation has developed a “personalized, online patient navigation tool” that aims to to reduce stress for patients and family caregivers by giving them access to more than 3,500 healthy living services across over more than two dozen categories, including transportation, child care and home care.
WeSpire: The company provides an employee engagement platform that helps companies develop their employees with hundreds of action-based programs. Susan Hunt Stevens is the company’s founder and CEO.
ZappRX: Zoe Barry is the CEO of the digital health services company, which has developed a secure and collaborative online platform that aims to “improve patients’ access to treatment and deliver medicine faster” by letting them work together with physicians and pharmacists.
Zoomtilt: Anna Callahan is the CEO and CTO of the branded content video production and analytics company, which “helps brands, agencies and media companies create entertaining video with predictive A/B testing built into the production process.”
Did we miss anyone? Feel free to let us know!