Jessica Alba’s company valued at $US1 billion: The other women behind $1 billion companies

The name Jessica Alba is usually best associated with Hollywood films like Honey, Fantastic Four and Sin City. But behind the scenes she’s hitting some other pretty big goals, namely as the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing startups.

The organic and environmentally friendly baby care startup she co-founded in 2012, The Honest Co, recently closed on a $70 million fundraising round, which reportedly brings the value of her company to just under $1 billion dollars as it prepares to go public.

Since launching two years ago with a line of non-toxic baby products, the company now employs 275 people and, according to the Wall Street Journal, its annual revenue has reached over $150 million this year, three times what it brought In last year.

Eighty percent of the revenue comes from online sales through customers who subscribe to its monthly delivery services. And while it currently only ships to the US and Canada, Honest is eyeing opportunities to enter other countries, including Australia and the UK, while preparing for an IPO.

So how’d the company manage to grow so exponentially in such a short time? Well, the celebrity name behind the brand certainly hasn’t hindered marketing efforts for a start.

Alba joins a small (but growing) number of women who have founded billion dollar companies.

There’s entrepreneur Sara Blakely, founder of shapewear brand Spanx, and also the youngest woman to join the elite club of self-made female billionaires (there are just 31 others on that list).

There’s also Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to own a billion dollar company, with her company Act-1 Group, the largest minority female owned employment agency in the US.

And for those keen on getting in on the Silicon Valley startup boom, there are a number of women, like Alba, making their mark. While the number of women founding start ups is still tiny – sitting at just 3% in 2013, and with just 7% of those start ups run by women receiving VC funding according to research from MIT, the tide might slowly be shifting.

Jennifer Hyman, who co-founded Rent the Runway, recently spoke to Forbes about her early venture funding days in which she faced patronising VCs and blatant sexism. These days her company is set to hit the billion-dollar valuation mark.

Gilt Groupe, which started as a flash sale site for discounted high-end fashion,was last valued at around $1 billion in 2011. The company was founded by best friends Alexandra Wilson and Alexis Maybank and also has a female CEO, Michelle Peluso.

Eventbrite, co-founded by husband and wife team Kevin and Julia Hartx, also recently joined the $1 billion club earlier this year. The company, which was founded in 2006, raised $60 million in March.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Agenda.


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