The Top 14 Women Led Startups in NYC

The number of women that are joining the world of entrepreneurship in New York is trending in the right direction. New York policies are friendlier to women entrepreneurs than many of the other cities around the country. Unfortunately, even in New York, women have to overcome many more challenges than their male counterparts have to.  

One of the biggest headaches that entrepreneurs face is a lack of funding. Luckily, there are now less expensive methods of funding for startups. For most startups, venture capital funding provides one of the best sources of capital, especially for high-risk investments. Such investments, despite having high risk also have the high returns that investors are looking for. 

Venture capitalists in New York tend to fund male founders on potential and women on progress. This means that most women do not receive as much funding for startups that are at the seed stage. VCs traditionally fund women that are creating companies in industries such as fashion, home improvement, and parenting products.

For the most part industries such as tech and heavy-duty equipment have been reserved for men. This partially explains a lag in high capital investments in women founders, especially in tech. 

On the positive side, there is a growing number of female-founded startups that are receiving a higher percentage of venture capital funding than men in major cities around the country. For the third quarter of ‘15, 17% of companies in New York City that received venture capital were founded by a woman compared with 12% in San Francisco and 15% in Boston. 

In the recent past, female entrepreneurs were clustered in sectors such as digital media, eCommerce, and fashion. Women are also beginning to break into biotechnology, virtual reality, and Artificial Intelligence. According to Endeavor Insight, a New York City-based research firm, the number of female-led technology companies has moved from around 42 in 2003 (10%) to 457 by 2013 (15%).

Both male and female entrepreneurs are being encouraged to diversify their management boards to include both sexes. Companies that include both sexes tend to be more successful than those with only men or women. 

Men and women approach things differently when it comes to management and putting together their business plans. Women are more realistic when it comes to balancing profitability with growth and risk assessment. On the other hand, men are usually more focused on growth.

Unfortunately, investors value growth over risk, which can work against women-led startup teams. Slowly but surely things are moving in the right direction and we are moving closer to a goal of 50% invested in women-led startups. In the meantime, these are the most successful startups led by women that overcame the odds and are winning the uphill battle that female-led startups are currently facing.  

#14 thejibslife

Their perforated shoe goodness reigns from tropical Brazil where the JIBS style is a huge hit with the females. Their casual shoes are ageless, genderless and nearly size-less. With an array of colors, you'll find your endless summering match made in heaven.

With great love and laughter, JIBS are handcrafted in the beautiful backdrop of Três Coroas on the southern tip of Brasil. In an intimate family run factory where your shoes are not only built with care but also all earnings that the factory receives are incredibly impactful during this time of economic hardship in their community.

#13 Gleem & Co.

A luxury eCommerce marketplace with a mission to elevate the world of pre-owned fine jewelry - bringing transparency and fashion savvy to an industry shrouded in smoke screens and old world obsolescence.

They believe that all women deserve a better way to discover (and invest!) in their own one-of-a-kind finds. Gleem & Co provides access to a curated collection of jewels, spanning premier brands, and private collections from around the world.

#12 KidPass

KidPass is a new way to discover and book amazing kids activities. With one monthly membership, you can get access to over 10,000 activities and classes across over 400 partner locations. KidPass is currently in beta in New York City and will be expanding to additional cities later this year.

tools available at stacklist

#11 Stacklist

Startups choose their business tools based on the recommendations of entrepreneurs and operators they trust. 

Stacklist is curating the best business tools for startups based on hundreds of interviews with the smartest entrepreneurs. 

#10 StyleSage

StyleSage is a strategic analytics web platform that helps fashion retailers and brands with critical in-and-next season decisions in local and global markets.

Their platform analyzes over 1000 retailers, 23,000 brands, and 31M products across 17 countries. They deconstruct their pricing, assortment, and promotions strategies as well as identify trending styles.

#9 AptDeco

AptDeco is an online marketplace dedicated to buying and selling quality pre-owned furniture. They offer a complete end-to-end process to bring back the joy of discovering amazing furniture finds for the home again. Their customers benefit from a trusted and verified community of buyers and sellers, pre-arranged pick up and delivery and a secure electronic payment process.

model posing for vive

#8 Vive

Vive is the modern beauty concierge for the modern woman. Vive gets you a convenient, top salon appointment in just two taps. Gone are the days of searching, Yelping, and calling for an appointment. Vive members can enjoy unlimited blowouts to use at salons in the Vive network. 

#7 WayUp

WayUp is the leading digital solution for employers to reach, engage, and recruit students and recent grads for internships and jobs. 

Employers use WayUp to streamline and amplify their current college recruiting strategy through their truly integrated approach, which includes: diversity outreach, employer branding solutions, targeted job postings, and much more.

#6 Alfred

The smart way to take care of weekly errands without actually doing them yourself. Alfred pairs busy individuals with organized, knowledgeable, intuitive people who handle all of life’s necessities: from groceries and dry cleaning to tailoring and sending packages. Hello Alfred is an automatic, hands-off service that hums along quietly in the background of your life – so you can be free to live yours.

#5 GoTenna

GoTenna Uses Smart Protocols + Radio Waves To Send Messages Off-Grid. Pair goTenna to your smartphone via Bluetooth and use the goTenna app to communicate with other goTennas up to several miles or kilometers away. In less than a minute, you can create a smart, people-powered network, anywhere. No towers, routers or satellites required.

#4 theSkimm

theSkimm is a company that makes it easier to be smarter. Co-founder by Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg from their couch in 2012, theSkimm is reimagining the idea of morning television and changing the way female millennials receive news and information.

Its inaugural product -- The Daily Skimm -- is the fastest growing email newsletter on the market, with an engaged community of well over 4 million active subscribers and an industry-crushing open rate. 

#3 Rent The Runway

dresses available for rent at rent the runway

Rent the Runway is revolutionizing fashion by allowing women to rent thousands of designer dresses and accessories. They focus on convenience and a top-notch customer experience on all their platforms, including online, mobile, and retail locations in New York City, Washington DC, Chicago and Las Vegas.

With styles from more than 270 top designers, Rent the Runway introduces women to new brands and gives them the opportunity to have an endless closet. Their fun, dynamic team is filled with passionate go-getters who dream big, execute their ideas, and deliver an incredible experience to their customers.

#2 The Muse

The Muse helps people navigate their entire career journey. They offer expert advice alongside a job search experience that’s engaging and doesn’t suck. 

They help companies recruit top talent from a diverse pool of qualified candidates by showing their millions of readers what it’s like to work there before they even apply.

#1 Bustle is a new force in media: a news, entertainment, lifestyle, and fashion site for young women driven by a diverse and energetic collection of contributors. What Bustle has in common with their readers is that they're insatiably curious about the world.

They care about what's working and what isn't, about fashion, politics, technology, diversity, books, celebrities, health, beauty, work, friendship, and how to make amazing food on a budget. These are the stories they deliver every day in a format that are always getting better, quicker, and more engaging.

The Farm SoHo

indoor living space at the farm soho new york

The Farm SoHo will wow you and your guests with its rustic charm and inviting environment. New York City's most engaged community of startup teams, developers, remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. They have converged to share ideas, innovate and learn in a collaborative and nurturing environment. Their story began in Missouri where they found a gorgeous barn that needed a second chance. They dismantled the barn and brought it to NYC and rebuilt in in their loft in SoHo. 

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