15 Female Entrepreneurs You Should Know About (But Probably Don’t)
Do you know the women on this list?
By Zach Davis (Marketing Director, Tech Cocktail)
Although there are noteworthy entrepreneurs across all genders, races, ethnicity, geography, etc., this post is dedicated to shining a spotlight on female entrepreneurs, as we at Tech Cocktail are proud proponents of the Change the Ratio movement. And while it’s easy to applaud the Ariana Huffingtons, Marissa Mayers, Oprah Winfreys, Sara Blakelys, and Sheryl Sandbergs of the world, there are countless female entrepreneurs doing great things that you (likely) haven’t heard of.
This post hopes to familiarize you with just a few (well, 15 to be exact). They are below. Enjoy.
Bio: Erin Balogh is a mother of three, former ER nurse, and inventor of the Hot Iron Holster.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: I know it’s been said before but I will say it again: be persistent and don’t give up! One of the biggest compliments I have received since starting this adventure has been, “Good job! Way to follow through with your idea.” There are days I think coming up with the idea was easy compared with everything else that needs to be done to make it successful.
Entrepreneur I most admire: When I was little, we had a series of audio books for kids about important people in history. I remember listening over and over to the stories about Benjamin Franklin and Walt Disney and thinking I wanted to be like them someday. What kid doesn’t dream about building an amusement park or coming up with amazing inventions?
Proudest achievement to date: My proudest achievement to date has been my family. (As I sit here writing this, my two year old keeps climbing up on my lap and trying to type his own thoughts!) I love being a mom to my three kids. They help me keep things in perspective and keep me balanced. It is always nice in between phone calls and emails to hear my four year old daughter’s new knock-knock joke or admire her latest coloring masterpiece. Life, and work, would not be near as interesting and fun without them!
Bio: Anne Bezancon is the Founder and President of Placecast, leader in mobile location-based marketing at scale, with clients like The North Face, L’Oreal or Starbucks and partners such as AT&T and Telefonica. Previously, Anne held senior executive positions at JiWire, Productopia, BEAP and PCI, and pioneered the Minitel system in France. Anne is the author of several patents and a frequent speaker at industry events.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Solve a real problem that people will pay you for solving, and have persistence, focus and passion – this advice is unisex.
Entrepreneur I most admire: A fictional and explosive cocktail of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Coco Chanel. I am French after all.
Proudest achievement to date: Building a profitable company from the ground up, based on the idea that the future of computing will be mobile and location is the new dimension at the core of it. As unbelievable as it sounds today, a few years ago no VC would touch it, but one – who happens to be a woman.
Bio: Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin was just 6 months old when she went on her first adventure across the Atlantic Ocean from her hometown in India. Her love of travel has made her perpetually open to inspiration and new ideas. A natural and meticulous strategist, Reshma is the CEO of Muzio. She has worked across the globe, managing large teams and developing mobile and web applications for a number of prominent clients. Reshma also did a stint as book designer at HarperCollins Publishing in New York. Like Elizabeth, her current home town is St. Louis.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: If you truly believe you have a good idea. Don’t let any body tell you its not. Keep with it and work hard to realize your vision. As an entrepreneur you are often paving your own way; many people will give you a lot of advice but they may not have all the answers, so it is very important to hear opinions and facts but trust your gut and your instincts when making decisions.
Entrepreneur I most admire: Angela Jia Kim, the founder of Savor the Success and Om Aroma. She created an amazing organic skincare line, but did not stop there. She has now created an amazing movement and community of women entrepreneurs helping and motivating each other. She created a successful business, learned from it and is now helping other women through another successful business.
Proudest achievement to date: My proudest achievement to date has been the launch of Muzio. We self-funded Muzio and are really proud of the integrity, design and functionality of the product we put out into the market. We continue to innovate, improve and adapt Muzio. We are also really proud of the partnership and business we have built; based on trust, friendship, putting our consumer first and tireless determination.
Bio: Heddi is the Big Cheese of myTab.co travel gift card. She has over 20 years PR & Marketing experience, working with global travel and lifestyle brands. Heddi created myTab to generate a unique, seamless, life cycle approach towards funding and booking travel, and bringing back emotion to gift cards.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Be relentless and passionate about your start up and keep an eye on competitors, but always bang to the beat of your own drum. Pace yourself and take up an active team sport so you can break away from work, like I do with Krav Maga, punching people and bags! It’ll enable you to press your default reset button three times a week and build self esteem, energy levels and reinforce confidence.
Entrepreneur I most admire: My dad and mum, who were young entrepreneurs in the furniture and interior design industry, building a thriving business while raising three young daughters. They guide me daily, encourage me continuously and we brainstorm on every level of the business from all devil’s advocate perspectives. My sister, Debra, is also a vital part of this entrepreneurial support.
Proudest achievement to date: Three spring to mind: myTab.co winning the StartUp Idol 2012 competition against over 80 competitors through a 6 week challenge. Two plus years after launching myTab, we have no direct competitors which speaks volumes about our IP protection and business. Having an outstanding team, advisors and mentors that I’m incredibly proud to be associated with.
Bio: Kelsey Falter is the CEO and founder of Poptip. Kelsey started Poptip out of the Techstars 2012 class in New York City under David Tisch, and previously attended the University of Notre Dame studying industrial and graphic design. Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Kelsey pursued the startup life after learning from internships at the Tribune Company as an interactive web contributor, the Coca-Cola Company in marketing and branding, Office Depot in B2B sales and marketing, and Saks Fifth Avenue in private brand. She was part of a Top 10 Node Knockout qualifying team in 2012 and was the recipient of the Loreal Women in Digital Award in 2013.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Believe that succeeding is part meritocracy, part hard work, and part luck. By focusing on the users or customers you serve, the products you launch, and the people you surround yourself with, you will be equipped with the right tools to move forward. Do not worry or focus on the fact that you’re a woman. Since the beginning of time there have been people who have done incredible things — and some of them have been women. Think of Amelia Earhart of the past or Meg Whitman of the present. Be one of those people who does impressive things.
Entrepreneur I most admire: The entrepreneur I most look up to is my mother — she raised four children and built a profitable technology business without having to take venture funding. However, I also value Larry Ellison’s business acumen, Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s dedication to the Google culture and thinking big, and people like Elon Musk and Richard Branson for always pushing the limits.
Proudest achievement to date: Seeing our product used daily on CNN is something that our entire team is very proud of. Having the opportunity to serve customers like ESPN and CNN within our first year as a company is one of our most valued achievements because it shows we are serving a need and we are helping to bring valuable information to millions of people every day.
Bio: Lisa Falzone is the CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, the award-winning leader in iPad point-of-sale (POS) systems for restaurant, retail and grocery. She leads the day-to-day business operations and spearheads new business growth, and has also been instrumental in securing more than $13M in venture capital funding to date and assisting in international expansion of the San Francisco-based startup. Revel Systems is currently in more than 1,200 enterprise locations including Goodwill, Belkin, Griffin, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and more. Lisa has been recognized as Forbes ’30 Under 30’, Business Insiders “30 Most Important Women Under 30 In Tech” and San Francisco Business Times ’40 Under 40.’
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Stop thinking about it and do it.
Entrepreneur I most admire:Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Henry Ford
Proudest achievement to date: Starting my own company has definitely been my proudest achievement to date. Through the success that we’ve seen with Revel Systems and our iPad point-of-sale solution, it’s been very fulfilling to be able to say that we have done something impactful to change the way that people conduct business for the better.
Bio: Heidi Ganahl is the Founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow, one of the largest and fastest growing brands in the pet industry, the largest pet care franchise in the world and a $65 million leader in the $53 billion United States pet sector. Outside of leading Camp Bow Wow, Heidi is on the board at the University of Colorado’s Leeds Business School, speaks professionally around the country and runs The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation – Camp Bow Wow’s 501c3 focused on lending a paw to animals in need.
Top advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: think big – dream big – don’t limit yourself. Don’t be afraid to give up your what you think is holding you back, and see that you have all the tools, and all the passion you need to be successful. As you take this important step in your life, never forget that. The second piece of advice I would give to aspiring female entrepreneurs is to always stay focused ON your business and don’t get stuck working in it. You’ve chosen to start your own business to be your own boss. If you can’t get out of the day to day tasks and focus on what you want your business to be 5-10 years from now, your business will run your life. My family is the most important thing to me, living this principle day in and day out is what allows me to have a wonderful work/life balance.
Entrepreneur I most admire: Sara Blakely of Spanx
Proudest achievement to date: Changing the way people care for their pets in this country and saving 10K rescue dogs over the past 5 years. I started this business because I am passionate about how our pets are cared for when we can’t. I started Camp Bow Wow to give pet parents peace of mind that their pets were safe and probably having as much (if not more) fun then they were. From Camp Bow Wow I started The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation as a means to extend that same passion for care to all animals, specifically the less fortunate. The successes of the adoption programs we’ve done through the foundation speak for themselves, but many don’t realize we do a lot more through the foundation. We also work to provide therapy dogs to communities in need such as Newtown, CT through our Scout’s Angels initiative. We also work with the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Research Center to raise money and awareness about animal cancer, and the great things they are doing over there. What’s really amazing about their work is that it’s not only a fight against animal cancer. Their research is used to help combat cancer in humans as well.
Bio: Catherine is currently President of SumAll.com a new SaaS, venture backed start up, with the mission of making big data accessible to all. Prior to that, she was Vice President, Corporate Development at iStockphoto. She also led Getty Images’ joint venture with Time Inc to launch LIFE.com, and served as a board member and CFO. Previously, she was the Vice President of Audiobooks for Barnes & Noble/ BN.com. Catherine started her career as a broadcast journalist working for the BBC and Reuters Television. She holds an MBA degree from London Business School and Columbia Business School.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Go for it! It may sound crass but believe in yourself and what you can do. Don’t let a fear of failure dissuade you from taking calculated risks.
Entrepreneur I most admire: That’s such a hard question to answer as there are so many who you would name for different reasons. But if I look at entrepreneur who has had the biggest impact on my life then it’s Jeff Bezos….. Amazon has literally changed the way we live, if I can’t buy it on Amazon more often than not I simply don’t buy the item. It is an unbelievable vision executed in an unprecedented manner.
Proudest achievement to date: If I measure this on how I will look back and evaluate success in my life, then my answer can only be my children and the people they are and will become.
Bio: Nezha Hayat is Chairperson and CEO of Société Générale de Leasing (SOGELEASE) Maroc, and a Member of the Board of Executives of Société Générale Maroc. She lives and works in Casablanca, Morocco.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Besides confidence, know exactly what you want. have a vision, be creative and be apdaptable. Never think that entrepreneurship is easier for a man than for a woman, it is just as hard for a man as it is for a woman, in terms of building the project, getting people to finance it, etc. For Morocco, the future entrepreneurs are those who will create the jobs that will be needed, and young entrepreneurs in the new fields and technology will probably build the future economy
Entrepreneur I most admire: I don’t have one in particular. I admire all people who left comfortable situations within a corporation, to realize their dreams, to pursue their dream of creating a company and developing it. I think the entrepreneurs to admire are not necessarily those on the covers of magazines but instead the everyday entrepreneurs who have taken great risks and who are building the future economy.
Proudest achievement to date: My son. What I’m proud of is that he has his own values, many models and examples inspire him, but what I like in him is that he makes sure that he does what he really wants.
Bio: Sonia Kapadia is the Founder & CEO of Taste Savant, a one-stop-shop for savvy diners. The food space is familiar territory for Sonia, who spent five years at PepsiCo in the U.S. and the U.K. before joining the London CPG startup Gu Chocolate Desserts as Head of Marketing and New Product Development. Gu sold one year later, after which Sonia returned to the U.S. to lead Marketing Partnerships at Rent the Runway. Sonia holds a B.A. from UPenn and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Don’t plan for too long. Women are planners. We like to have every i dotted and every t crossed. We like to have a clear roadmap for every journey. Entrepreneurship, however, doesn’t work like this. Entrepreneurship requires one to go out there and get things done with limited resources. In this kind of world you can’t plan for too long or things will slip by you, so just go for it.
Entrepreneur I most admire: Wendy Kopp, the Founder of Teach For America is an incredible entrepreneur and I look up to her greatly. She founded TFA right out of undergrad as a young twenty something and has grown it into an amazing organization that is directly making a difference in people’s lives. I’m impressed that she has maintained the drive and passion to continue on this journey for so long and has delivered strong results along the way.
Proudest achievement to date: Launching Taste Savant with my team! I’m most proud of getting TS off the ground and continuing to grow the business with a fantastic team. My teammates are the lifeline of this business and working with them side by side to launch TS and move it forward has been wonderful.
Bio: Anastasia Leng is the cofounder of Hatch, a creative online marketplace that lets you customize any product from their curated community of artisans . She spent five years at Google, working in New Business Development and Product Marketing. She led entrepreneurship efforts in Europe and was responsible for early-stage partnerships for Google Voice, Chrome, and Wallet.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Much of your success in the early days boils down to your ability to empathize with people. Leave your ego at the door. Surround yourself with the most brilliant people you know and be unabashed about recognizing great ideas no matter where they come from, as most times they simply won’t come from you.
Entrepreneur I most admire: Dick Costolo
Proudest achievement to date: Building the foundation of a house that’s still standing in Bangalore, India.
Bio: Lynn Perkins is CEO and co-founder ofUrbanSitter.com, a service that enables parents and babysitters to connect online through Facebook and their existing networks. A startup veteran, Lynn offers more than 15 years of experience marketing and selling to Gen X and Gen Y. Prior to founding to UrbanSitter, Lynn served as founder and CEO of Xuny.com and VP of Business Development at Bridgepath.com. At companies like Gap Inc., LaSalle Partners and Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Lynn gained extensive business and transaction experience. Lynn is also the proud mom of three children and a graduate of Stanford University.
Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: Starting a business takes time, even when you have the “best” idea. You need endurance to get through the highs and lows, so it’s incredibly important to pace yourself. What’s more, as a female entrepreneur I believe that you can break through any preconceived notions of the glass ceiling.
Entrepreneur I most admire: Currently I’m interested in transportation and what it will be like in the future. So right now I’m closely watching Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial work in transportation.
Proudest achievement to date: I’d have to say that my most fulfilling professional achievement is building UrbanSitter to where it is today. I’m proud of the service and traction we’ve built and I’m thrilled that we are addressing a real need in the market. In particular, I take tremendous pride in the team we’ve built and feel fortunate to work with smart, determined people.
Bio: A noted expert in Aging, Nicole Sanchez is on a mission to revolutionize senior care. As Founder ofTenderCaring, named one of the 5 Hottest Startups in America, Nicole works with her team everyday to to push the verge of aging innovation. An alum of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Nicole is an accomplished speaker and has presented to the United Nations on the intersection of technology and aging.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Don’t feel the need to ask someone’s permission. Too often we as women, discount our experience and miss the opportunity to develop a great company. I’m guilty of this, I went to fancy schools and worked at fancy companies and I still didn’t think I was qualified enough to start a company. At some point, you have to realize that it’s about building a company not a resume and that ultimately, the best way to become an entrepreneur, is to make it happen. So don’t fret about it, claim it and do it. Let your results speak for themselves.
Entrepreneur I most admire: Is it cheesy if I say Oprah? Here’s what I love about Oprah, not only does she have this rags to riches story, but it feels that she maintained her authenticity throughout the experience. She’s also developed a great team and has continued to expand into new territories. It takes a lot of gumption to risk failure, when you’ve achieved at such a high level and for that I admire her.My favorite young entrepreneur is Kathryn Minshew of The Daily Muse. Not only is Kathryn a great founder, but she’s also a great person. She helped me before I was anybody, and before I had anything to offer her. When I think about young entrepreneurs who are really committed to developing the NYC ecosystem, Kathryn is at the top of the list and her company is great. Check it out!
Proudest achievement to date: Serving customers! The beauty of our business is that we provide a real service that improves the lives of older adults and their families and provides meaningful work for quality caregivers. We make people’s lives better every day and that excites me.
Bio: Maria Seidman is an NY based entrepreneur and mom and is the CEO & Co-Founder of Yapp – the easiest way to create a mobile application. Previously, she ran mobile for Warner Bros. and held positions at MGM, ETF Group, and Goldman Sachs.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Make sure you have a deep passion for the problem you want to solve or the mission you want to follow when pursuing a new venture. You need this light and this compass when times get tough (and they will!).
Entrepreneur I most admire: My husband, Dov Seidman, CEO & Founder of LRN. He found a way to pursue profit from principles and to make a profound difference. Plus, he is the best salesman I’ve ever met!
Proudest achievement to date: Building an amazing team.
Bio: Alexis Wolfer graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and earned her Master’s Degree from Columbia University. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheBeautyBean.com, an online women’s magazine founded in January of 2010 to bring women their beauty, fashion, fitness and wellness fix in a way designed to make them feel better about themselves. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
Advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: Create a mastermind. A lot of entrepreneurs think starting your own business has to be harder and far more solitary than it does. Or, they think the key is in finding mentors. I can’t emphasize enough though the importance of your peer group. Find other entrepreneurs and help each other out, bounce ideas around and get advice. Schedule a call or coffee meeting once a week. You’ll learn from each other’s mistakes and have a peer group to help with the personal and professional things that come up. Added bonus: they’ll likely become dear friends too!
Entrepreneur I most admire: Jenn Groover. She’s not only constantly innovating and influencing but also so authentically lives her brand. Moreover, she’s exceptionally kind, generous and admirable.
Proudest achievement to date: Being named “the DIY queen” and one of the 6 best beauty bloggers by People StyleWatch – although being named to Forbes’ Top 10 Lifestyle Websites for Women only 2 years in was pretty amazing too!
About the blogger: When Zach Davis isn’t getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling as Tech Cocktail’s Marketing Director from Boulder, CO. He is the author of Appalachian Trials,, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.