For a thorough list of technical women founding companies (CTOs, CEOs, VPs of engineering and more), check out this list.
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
Of the five finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine’s ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR award, there is a female founder – Limor Fried.
The MIT-educated electrical engineer (pictured) started electronics hobbyist company Adafruit Industries to distribute DIY electronics toys like littleBits and Arduino items. Vote for her for “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the eponymous magazine – go on, go do it!
So how do you qualify a technical female founder? Women with computer science degrees and write code have been grasping CEO titles as of late for their tech startups – take Mint.com’s employee #2 engineer Poornima Vijayashanker who is now CEO of her startup BizeeBee. Or former CTO of One Laptop Per Child Mary Lou Jepsen who now runs PixelQi as CEO.
Many women who have technical chops charge ahead as CEO instead of CTO. There are also many Harvard Business School women who apply technology and new processes to reinvigorate an industry – we have the successful NYC-based female founders at Gilt Groupe to thank for leading that pack.
And while we are thrilled to find a female founders who also hold the CTO title, we are always fast to remark useful bits of information like “did you know DailyWorth Founder and CEO Amanda Steinberg used to be a web engineer?”
And for anyone who asks, here are some founders of startups that are both a woman and CTO:
Cathy Edwards (Co-Founder & CTO, Chomp)
CTO Cathy Edwards developed Chomp‘s proprietary algorithm to help you find the apps you want. She provided her technical co-founder perspective at PITCH 2012 (talk available here). Apple acquired Chomp for a rumored $50M in February 2012. Follow her on Twitter at @cathye.
Jenny Chen (Co-Founder & CTO, Wanderable)
After graduating from Stanford with a computer science degree and working at Amazon Web Services for over five years, Jenny Chen co-founded Wanderable to make wedding registries more fun for travel lovers. Follow her on Twitter at @phethyr.
Julia Grace (Co-Founder & CTO, WeddingLovely)
After earning two degrees in computer science, Julia Grace spent 4 years at IBM Research, ran product at a startup then co-founded WeddingLovely with self-taught Django developer and CEO Tracy Osborn. Follow her on Twitter at @jewelia.
Sandy Jen (Co-Founder & CTO, Meebo)
Sarah Allen (Co-Founder & CTO, Mightyverse)
Mobile developer Sarah Allen co-founded Railsbridge to increase diversity in engineering, leads the mobile development shop Blazing Cloud, and co-founded Mightyverse where she also serves as CTO. Follow her on Twitter at @ultrasaurus.
Shilpa Dalmia (Co-Founder & CTO, ActivityHero)
With 15 years of software development experience primarily at startups, Shipla Dalmia co-founded ActivityHero to help parents select activities for their kids. She founded ActivityHero to solve her own problems – she has two kids. Follow her on Twitter at @shilpa_dalmia.
Own your technical prowess! We hope to see more women emerging as CTOs of high-tech, high-growth startups in the coming years. Women in these positions are especially inspiring to the next generation of technical women leaders.
A diverse list of technical women founding companies (CTOs, CEOs, VPs of engineering and more) exists here.
We’re always looking for more names to add to these lists. Let us know if we’re missing anyone by leaving a helpful comment below – thanks!
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.