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Female Founders To Watch: This Week’s Successful Fund-Raisers

We celebrated a flurry of venture funding announcements for women-founded startups this week.

By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

We celebrate women securing investment for business ventures because raising a round of venture capital is a public, measurable milestone for a startup.

When an early-stage company receives investment, either VC or angel, we know (1) the company has both a vision and plan to go big and (2) investors see a long-term ROI for the company. The startup receiving investment gains runway to find the inflection point for your business model to really take off. You can hire additional staff, stock more inventory, enter new markets…

This week, we celebrate a flurry of funding announcements. These ambitious women entrepreneurs are ones to watch as they grow their online businesses, powered by outside investment:

Desiree Vargas Wrigley (Co-Founder & CEO, GiveForward)
Civic-minded Desiree Vargas Wrigley started GiveForward to help people raise money for a friend or family member in need (ie. medical crisis). GiveForward raised $2M Series A led by Founder Collective and First Round Capital. Follow her on Twitter at @DesireeGF.

Kirsten Green (Founder, Forerunner Ventures)
Kirsten Green launched early-stage VC firm Forerunner Ventures in 2003. This week, Forerunner Ventures announced closing $40M in institutional funding to invest in mobile, social and e-commerce startups. Follow her on Twitter at @kirstenagreen.

Kirsten Spoljaric (Co-Founder & VP of Human Resources, Mashery)
After running HR for Feedster and Spear Technologies, Kirsten Spoljaric was recruited into the founding team of Mashery. Mashery announced raising an additional $10M in venure funding on Monday. Follow her on Twitter at @kspoljaric.

Leah Busque (Founder & CEO, TaskRabbit)
To outsource errands, the efficiency-minded Leah Busque coded the first version of labor marketplace TaskRabbit in 2008. TaskRabbit announced raising $13M Series C in funding led by Founders Fund for international expansion. Follow her on Twitter at @labusque.

Priya Haji (Co-Founder & President, SaveUp)
After selling her last startup (World of Good) to eBay, serial entrepreneur Priya Haji launched consumer finance startup SaveUp to reward people for saving money, not spending. SaveUp closed $4M in venture funding this week. Follow her on Twitter at @priyahaji.

Keep in mind that not all women entrepreneurs need to raise venture capital to succeed in business. Online software training website Lynda, co-founded by Lynda Weinman, was heralded on TechCrunch for hitting $70M in revenue without raising venture capital.

Serial entrepreneur Alicia Morga spoke at Founder Friday San Francisco earlier this month, stating “Building a business doesn’t mean getting venture capital – it means finding customers and making money.”

While venture capital is one way to benchmark an internet company’s success, what other ways can we benchmark an early-stage startup’s success?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1″ for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.