Naturally Gifted Female Founders to Watch In Tech


By Elissa Rose (Assistant Editor, Women 2.0)

This week at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, there was a panel titled “What if you could create a startup?” The panel was made up of women, one of which was a Partner at the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. She said, as paraphrased by Forbes, “she thinks that women should work on things they are naturally gifted at, and she believes shopping is one of them.”

Here at Women 2.0, we believe the best response is to give some notable counter-examples to her assertion. The following are naturally gifted female founders doing what they’re best at and making money doing it — and none are limited to the pink ghetto.

Annie Chang (Co-Founder & Head of Products, Lolapps)
A former product manager and engineer, Annie co-founded Lolapps, now part of 6waves Lolapps, is a leading social games developer and publisher of social and mobile games. Follow her on Twitter at @lolapps.

Cher WangCher Wang (Founder & Chairman, HTC)
The New York Times calls this Cal grad “one of the most powerful female executives in technology whom you have never heard of”. She built HTC’s relationship with Google for the first Android-based cell phone, and the rest is history. Follow her company at @htc.

Jenn GarciaJenn Garcia (Co-Founder & CEO, Metamoki)
Jenn is the co-founder and CEO at Metamoki, a social gaming startup. Their first mobile title, Wildlings, which was recently featured by Apple and is currently in the top 25 Free games in the appstore. Follow her startup at @metamoki.

Leah BusqueLeah Busque (Founder & Chief Product Officer, TaskRabbit
Former software engineer Leah is the founder of TaskRabbit, the service that makes anyone your minion for a fee you both agree on. Leah is an efficiency fiend with math and CS degree. TaskRabbit has raised $5M Series A. Follow her on Twitter at @labusque.

Mary Lou Jepsen (Founding CTO, One Laptop Per Child)
Mary Lou Jepsen founded Pixel Qi in 2008 to bring One Laptop Per Child‘s display and power management innovations to the commercial market. Previously, she co-founded MicroDisplay and served as its CTO for 8 years. Follow her startup on Twitter at @pixelqi.

Michelle ZatlynMichelle Zatlyn (Co-Founder & Head of User Experience, CloudFlare)
Michelle Zatlyn is the co-founder and Head of User Experience at CloudFlare. Prior to CloudFlare, she worked at Google and Toshiba, and launched two successful startups. Follow her on Twitter at @zatlyn.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

About the guest blogger: Elissa Rose is Assistant Editor of Women 2.0. She co-founded Quillpill in 2008, a mobile story-writing platform that was written up in TechCrunch, Communication Arts and The New Yorker. She has worked as a content creator for virtual worlds, and as an Art Director for mobile gaming. She is the mother of an inquisitive six-year-old boy and lives in Oakland, CA. Elissa studied Philosophy and Physics at the University of Alabama. Follow her on Twitter at @elissarose.

  • Zsa Zsa

    It’s always very inspiring to read about women who are making it big and making a difference, especially in the tech industry! Thanks for sharing about these women to watch :)

  • Cora Robertson

    “she thinks that women should work on things they are naturally gifted at, and she believes shopping is one of them.”

    Does she also think black people should work on things they are ‘naturally gifted’ at, and that people with harelips should work on things they are ‘naturally gifted’ at?

    And what are her bigoted stereotypes for *thews* groups, hmmm?

  • Lauren Moore

    Using language like “naturally gifted” to describe success in such an emerging area is very dangerous. No one is born with an innate ability to hit a golfball 300 yards, code in Python, conduct a symphony, market a product, or run a startup. These women have worked hard and may have had some luck along the way, but designating them as the “gifted” alienates hardworking people that may give up if they’re told they don’t have “natural” ability.