18 *More* Female Founders Who’ve Had A Very Good 2015

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18 *More* Female Founders Who’ve Had A Very Good 2015

Last week, we wrote of 18 female founders about whom the TechCrunch staff happened to find ourselves discussing recently.

When we ran that list of rising stars, we asked you for your own ideas about women whose companies have taken off in 2015, and you quickly reminded us of many more people we might have featured in that original list. Herewith (and with thanks to many of you), a new batch of 18 other fascinating founders with great ideas and companies that appear to be on the right path.


Nina Tandon

Nina Tandon is the founder and CEO of Epibone, a Brooklyn-based company that helps you grow bones from your own stem cells.

The two-year-old company — which has raised $350,000 from Breakout Labs; a separate round of $4.2 million that quietly closed; and another $1.15 million from the SBIR  — has a three-step process. It creates a 3D model of an anatomical defect from a patient’s CT scan, while extracting adult stem cells from that person. It then designs a specific graft for the individual, and once the stem cells have been fully remodeled into the shape of the graft, they’re ready for implantation.

Epibone, currently in preclinical trials, is the first startup for Tandon. The former McKinsey consultant spent much of her earlier career in academia, working as an adjunct professor after nabbing both a bioengineering Ph.D and an MBA from Columbia University.


Leura Fine

Leura Fine is a professional interior designer who grew frustrated by the “archaic” business model of the interior design world and set out to change it. Indeed, her now two-year-old, L.A.-based company, Laurel & Wolf,  matches homeowners with designers who offer recommendations entirely through the service. Customers pay a flat fee for the recommendations (of up to $499 per room), and Laurel & Wolf takes a 20 percent cut.

Investors plainly think Fine has a flair for business. In September, Benchmark reportedly led the company’s Series B round of between $20 million and $30 million in a competitive financing. Laurel & Wolf had previously raised $5.5 million.


Kieran Snyder

Kieran Snyder is the cofounder and CEO of 16-month-old Textio, a web-based text analysis startup that can suss out gender bias, among other things. Paste in the text of a classified ad, for example, and poof, Textio tells you what about the wording is likely to attract more male versus female candidates.

Synder, a longtime program manager at Microsoft, formed the Seattle-based company with former Microsoft colleague Jensen Harris after a piece that Snyder wrote about hidden biases in performance reviews attracted attention. (It also attracted potential customers, who called her for help with their own companies.)

Investors have also come calling. Just two weeks ago, the Seattle-based company announced $8 million in funding led by Emergence Capital.


Mada Seghete

When Mada Seghete and former Stanford classmates Alex Austin and Mike Moline built an app in 2013 that lets users print and ship photo books from their phones, it took off. But the trio struggled to make the app content sharable between users, leading them to the idea of creating deep links that work no matter where they come from.

Smart pivot. Today, their deep linking company, Branch Metrics, has grown from 8 to 50 employees; 5,000 companies are now using its deep links in their own applications, including Pinterest and HotelTonight; and the company has raised roughly $18 million in funding, including a $15 million round closed back in February.


Shivani Siroya

Four years ago, Shivani Siroya founded InVenture, a mobile tech and data science company that provides credit scoring and accounting tools for emerging markets, including Tanzania and Kenya. The idea: to enable the unbanked to easily access micro loans.

Siroya — a former investment banking analyst who went on to spend numerous years as a financial consultant with Health Net, Citigroup, and the United Nations Population Fund — has convinced investors of her vision, too. In September, InVenture raised $10 million in Series A funding to expand into West Africa. The round was led by Collaborative Fund, with Google Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Mesa Ventures, and others participating.


Richa Kar

Earlier in her career, Richa Kar was a software analyst, then a retail marketing manager, then an SAP consultant who focused on retail business processes. Put another way, Kar seemed almost destined to found her company, Zivame, a now four-year-old startup that’s looking to revolutionize the way that women in India buy their lingerie.

Investors seem to think she’s the right person for the job. In September, Zivame raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Zodius Technology Fund and Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a fund belonging to the Malaysian government.


Yuanyuan Li

Yuanyuan Li, a trained computer software engineer, spent several years as a senior product manager at MicroStrategy in Washington, D.C. before cofounding three-year-old Mobvoi, a Beijing-based artificial intelligence startup that says it’s the only company in China that’s equipped with its own Chinese voice recognition, semantic analytics, and search technologies. (It has a speech recognition and search app, a smartwatch operating system, and a smartwatch called Ticwatch.)

Clearly, the company is doing something right. In October, Google took a minority stake in Mobvoi for an undisclosed amount that brought the company’s total funding to $75 million. A month earlier, Google had also partnered with Mobvoi to make it the voice search provider on Android Wear.


Jess Lee

While not one of the original founders of the fashion site Polyvore, Jess Lee — a former product manager at Google — was anointed a cofounder as Polyvore’s fourth employee in 2008 owing to her many contributions to its growth and direction. (Fortune has the backstory here.)

Lee was so pivotal, in fact, that by 2012, she became the company’s CEO, cutting features, expanding its geographic reach, and otherwise getting the company into the kind of shape that would eventually make it an attractive takeover target for Yahoo, which reportedly paid $200 million in cash for the eight-year-old company in August.  (Lee counts Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, herself a former Googler, as a mentor.)


Toni Ko

Toni Ko says she learned everything she knows from her family’s own beauty supply business, where she was expected to work from a young age.

That formative experience was very instructive, apparently. Last summer, Ko sold her own company, NYX Cosmetics, a maker of affordable makeup, to L’Oreal for a reported $400 million.

She’s not finished with entrepreneurship, either. Ko — who immigrated to L.A. from Korea when she was 13 (and didn’t speak of word of English at the time) — recently talked about NYX’s acquisition with the magazine Marie Claire, saying that “since the sale, I really miss those roll-up-your-sleeve, early stages of the business. My goal is to sell three businesses in my career. One down, two to go!”


Michelle Crosby

Michelle Crosby knew the current divorce system was broken when at age nine, she was asked, in a courtroom, which of her parents she would choose to live with if she were stranded on a desert island.

Since then, Crosby has gone to law school, created a career in family law, and launched Wevorce, a three-year-old, Bothell, Wa.-based community of 550 trained attorneys, counselors, and other experts who work to help couples divorce amicably.

Some reasons to think it’s working: the company says that 98 percent of Wevorce families settle their divorce out of court; Wevorce takes less than 90 days, compared to the national average of one year; and $45 million of marital assets have already been divided using the platform.

Investors seem to like the idea, too. The company, which counts Y Combinator and Foundation Capital among its backers, has raised $3 million to date.


Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is the founder and CEO of Joyus, a four-year-old startup that produces online videos that feature fashion, beauty and health products that viewers can purchase.

Cassidy is something of a powerhouse in her own right. Before Joyus, she spent a year as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Accel Partners, and before that, logged 5.5 years as president of Asia Pacific and Latin America operations at Google. Cassidy was also an executives at the now publicly traded company Yodlee, and, before that, a biz dev manager at Amazon.

Either way, VCs like what Joyus is showing them. In June, it raised $24 million in new funding from the Steamboat Ventures and Marker LLC. Altogether, it has raised roughly $43 million to date.


Ida Tin

Ida Tin is the co-founder and CEO of Berlin-based Clue, a two-year-old period tracking and fertility app that she developed with her partner, serial entrepreneur Hans Raffauf.

So far, the company has raised $10 million from investors, including a $7 million Series A round from Union Square Ventures and Mosaic Ventures that closed back in October.

Tin also has one of the more diverse backgrounds of our bunch of entrepreneurs. Among other things she did before Clue, Tin led motorcycle tours around the world, writing a book about her travel adventures called “Direktøs” that went on to become a Danish bestseller.


Marcela Sapone

Marcela Sapone and her cofounder Jessica Beck met at Harvard Business School, where they quickly discovered a shared feeling of dread over the many everyday distractions like laundry for which their busy lives didn’t leave much time.

Thus was born Hello Alfred, a now two-year-old, New York-based startup that hires full-time employees to tackle weekly errands like grocery shopping, mail sorting, laundry, and more for $99 a month. Sapone is CEO; Beck is COO.

Something is clicking. Despite plenty of other startups vying to run errands on customers’ behalf, Alfred — which won TechCrunch Disrupt 2014 in San Francisco — has gone on to raise $12.5 million in funding, including a $10.5 million in Series A funding that closed in April and was led by New Enterprise Associates and earlier backer Spark Capital.


Tracy Sun

After getting her MBA at Dartmouth College, Tracy Sun co-founded a site that allowed young girls to design their own fashions before moving on to Poshmark, an iPhone app that let’s users browse, buy, and sell clothing and accessories. (Sun, who is today Poshmark’s VP of merchandising, cofounded the company with Kaboodle co-founders Manish Chandra and Chetan Pungaliya.)

The decision to shift gears looks smart in retrospect. Five-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based Poshmark is on track to record $200 million in annual sales this year. It has millions of registered users. And in April, it announced $25 million in Series C funding from investors that include Mayfield, Menlo Ventures, and Inventus Capital. Altogether, the company has raised $47.2 million so far.


Kathryn Minshew, Alex Cavoulacos, Melissa McCreery

Back in May of this year, The Muse — a career startup that offers job opportunities, advice, skill-building courses, and more — raised $10 million in Series A funding from Aspect Ventures and others.

Co-founder and CEO Kathryn Minshew said the site, which is largely used by millennials — could easily have raised $20 million, too. Such is the power of the now four-year-old New York-based platform, which was formed when Minshew came together with Alex Cavoulacos and Melissa McCreery, all of whom were working at McKinsey during the financial crisis of 2008 and who together spied an opportunity in all the upheaval it created.

“Even though McKinsey was a great educational experience, I realized I didn’t want to be a consultant,” Minshew told this reporter earlier this year. “The three of us kept talking about what it would be like if you could get advice on your career and see inside companies before applying and we finally thought: maybe we should just start [our own career site].”


Alice Bentinck

Four years ago, Alice Bentinck and cofounder Matt Clifford founded London-based Entrepreneur First, a pre-seed investment program that doesn’t back nascent teams or ideas but instead sources and invests in top technical talent in Europe — even before an idea is afoot.

That might sound crazy to some, but certainly not to Bentinck, a former McKinsey consultant turned blogger turned founder. It must not sound too crazy to investors like Encore Capital, Singapore’s Infocomm Investments, and various angel investors (including Robin Klein, formerly of Index Ventures), either. Earlier this year, they provided Entrepreneur First with £8.5 million ($12.6 million) in funding so it can scale up its program, which involves mentoring roughly 200 people each year.