Often the news about women in business can be pretty negative. That’s totally understandable considering we still have a long way to go before we’ve reached equity of opportunity and outcomes. Issues like access to funding and capital, respect, discrimination and harassment all continue to loom large for professional women and female entrepreneurs alike.
However, now and again it’s nice to focus on the positive stuff and celebrate the achievements of women who are creating opportunities for themselves and those around them.
These five companies are not household names, but each one is doing great work in its industry, and each has recently undertaken a successful capital raising. Along with that, these companies can count a woman as either its sole founder or co-founder.
Credit Karma was created to give people access to, and some control over, their credit scores. Founders Ken Lin, Ryan Graciano and Nichole Mustard have overseen the growth of the company since it started in 2007. Lin had the idea for the business and he was soon joined by Graciano and Mustard, who is the company’s chief revenue officer.
Around 80 million Americans regularly use Credit Karma to check and track their credit scores, with many of them also making use of the company’s other services. The service is especially popular among younger people looking to improve their credit rating ahead of seeking home loans.
Credit Karma just closed secondary market funding with investment firm Silver Lake to the tune of $US500 million ($667 million).
London-based Rosie Dallas is the chief operating officer and one of the co-founders of peer-to-peer rental marketplace Fat Lama.
Founded in 2016, Fat Lama allows users to rent almost anything they desire. Its business model is very much in line with other sharing economy-style marketplaces like Airbnb. It just completed a Series A funding round, raising $US10 million ($13.3 million).
Founded by Aditi Avaszthi in 2012, Embibe is an educational services provider that helps students develop through personalised feedback.
“Running my own business and being able to breathe life into my vision of disrupting the education system using data science and technology makes me more determined to achieve my goals,” she told the Economic Times.
“Patience, persistence and being able to multitask come naturally to me as well as most women so that is a big advantage when starting from scratch.”
Mumbai-based Embibe was recently acquired for $US180 million ($240 million) by Reliance Industries, one of India’s largest private companies.
Want to make fresh roti? Zimplistic has the robot for you. The Singapore-based startup founded by the husband and wife team of Rishi Israni and Pranoti Nagarkar has invented the Rotimatic, the world’s first kitchen robot that makes fresh, healthy, homemade roti with the touch of a button. That’s the company’s flagship product, but they are applying their artificial intelligence and robotics tech to a whole range of kitchen appliances.
Nagarkar is the technical brain behind these high-tech appliances. She got her start as a product design engineer and is now the chief technology officer of Zimplistic. The company is selling the Rotimatic into 12 countries, including Australia. Zimplistic recently secured $US30 million ($40 million) in Series C funding.
Founded by Shivani Siroya, Tala is a mobile fintech that provides a credit scoring and reporting platform to financial services institutions in emerging countries.
Using big data analytics, Tala gives people, including entrepreneurs, access to finance and real-time credit by recognising a range of financial metrics that go beyond conventional measurements.
Founded in 2011, the company says on its website that it’s “driven by a fundamental belief in people, and we work hard to prove their potential”.
“Every day, we challenge the limits of a system that has left 3 billion people behind. We call this way of doing things Radical Trust. We think trust will be the currency that drives a better financial system — one that sees, understands and serves more of the world’s people.”
In line with its focus on emerging markets, Tala has offices in Kenya, Tanzania, The Philippines, India, and Mexico, as well as its head office in Santa Monica, California. Tala just closed a Series C funding round for $US66 million.
Drawing on her experience with the United Nations Population Fund working on microcredit programs, Siroya says her idea was to focus on personal factors rather than conventional loan criteria. “Financial identity should look more like a person and less like a score,” she told Fairfax.