8 Powerful Ecommerce Startups Launched by Girls

egardless of the fact that startups with female creators get just 2 percent of total venture capital investments, stubborn women are still achieving success in ecommerce. Many worked for other ecommerce companies or investment companies before heading out by themselves. Many attended prestigious graduate business schools in which they met their business partners and made valuable contacts.

Here’s a list of eight powerful ecommerce firms which were founded by women.

Away: Bags


Co-founders Steph Korey and Jen Rubio launched Off in February 2016 with one product, a $225 hard-shell carry-on bag that came in four colours and had a lifetime guarantee. Since that time the New York-based company has sold over half a million suitcases — largely online — and has shops in Austin, Los Angeles, London, Manhattan, Chicago’s O’Hare airport, and San Francisco. Off plans to open more shops in the U.S.. It’s achieved profitability and has 235 employees. Many celebrities have bought Away bag, which comes in many pastel colors.

Away received $2.5 million in seed financing in August 2015, $8.5 million in a Series A financing in 2016, $20 million in Series B financing in 2017 and another $50 million for growth in June of the year from International Founders Capital, Forerunner Ventures, and Comcast Ventures.

Both founders had worked for internet eyeglass purveyor Warby Parker — Jen Rubio as head of social networking and Steph Korey as head of distribution chain. Korey is a graduate of Columbia Business School.

Ellevest: Online Investment services for girls


The belief that traditional investment adviser services aren’t gender neutral inspired co-founder and C.E.O. Sallie Krawcheck to found Ellevest with technology entrepreneur Charlie Kroll in late 2014. Krawcheck obtained an M.B.A. from Columbia University and was previously C.E.O. of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Krawcheck states that since women live longer than men and might have taken some time off from work to raise children, their retirement requirements are different from those of men. Krawcheck is also seat of Ellevate Network, a group of professional women helping each other achieve their career objectives.

Ellevest raised a $10 million seed round in late 2015 followed with a $34.6 million Series A round in 2017 headed by Rethink Impact. Based in New York, Ellevest has over $140 million in funds under management and 81 workers.

Glossier: Beauty products


Launched in 2014 by Emily Weiss with only four goods, Glossier currently sells skincare, cosmetics, and fragrance products online to customers in the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The business has a showroom in New York, where it’s also headquartered. It’s over 300 employees across three nations.

Creator Weiss worked for many fashion magazines and then began a beauty site called”Into the Gloss” in 2010 that cultivated a sizable following. The idea for an ecommerce site evolved from the site. Having a degree in art from New York University as opposed to a business diploma, Weiss felt unprepared to raise capital. Eleven venture capital firms turned her down. The feminine founder of Forerunner Ventures, Kirsten Green, chose to bet on Weiss. Green spent $2 million in seed financing in September 2014. Two months later Glossier obtained a Series A round of $8.4 million from a different company. Since that time it has received two rounds of $24 million and $52 million for a total $86 million.

Glossier has captured a loyal millennial audience since Weiss shrewdly calculated before other brands that girls desired a shopping experience, not just products.

Guild Education: Career preparation and education

Guild Education

Co-founders Rachel Romer Carlson and Brittany Stich launched Guild Education, in Denver, to help working adults who don’t have a school or high school education to achieve degrees via their employers’ tuition benefit programs. Guild’s program involves a community of non-profit universities. Companies which participate –Walmart, Disney, Taco Bell, Lowe’s — increase worker retention and receive a substantial return on investment. Guild also provides an administrative and advantages platform for companies.

Carlson established Student Blueprint in 2014, an education technology company that provided academic and career preparation tools. In 2015 she co-founded Guild Education and abandoned Student Blueprint in 2016. Carlson has an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School. Stich also has an M.B.A. from Stanford in addition to a master’s degree in education. She was employed as a teacher for two decades.

Having an initial seed funding of $2 million in 2015, Guild went on to garner three venture capital rounds at the subsequent three decades. The most current in July of 2018 was for $40 million. In total, the business has obtained $71.5 million.

Lumi: Packing for ecommerce Businesses


At age 16 Jessee Genet began making t-shirts in her parents’ basement in Detroit. Genet Apparel was in business for three decades. Genet then moved to Los Angeles and obtained a B.S. in product design.

In 2010 she began a new firm, Inkodye, which manufactured a sunlight-activated cloth dye. Genet introduced the product to market through two Kickstarter campaigns that raised over $270,000. She attained profitability, selling the item in over 1,500 global retail shops for five decades.

Lumi, Genet’s most recent venture, is an internet platform that helps U.S.-based ecommerce businesses handle their packaging supply chain. In 2015 after a failed attempt on the tv series Shark Tank for Lumi financed, Genet engaged in incubator Y Combinator and altered Lumi’s business model. The Lumi Dashboard enables ecommerce companies to locate and procure packaging created by Lumi’s global network of factories. Lumi’s customers must send more than 1,000 orders per month. Based in Los Angeles, the business has 63 employees.

Minted: Layout goods


Mariam Naficy was already an expert online entrepreneur when she co-founded Minted in 2007. Her first firm, Eve.com, established in the late 1990s, was a leading online retailer of accessories, cosmetics, and jewelry. She offered it to Idealab for $110 million in 2000. After that, she conducted the ecommerce division at Bath & Body Works. Before starting Eve.com, she worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs.

Naficy’s co-founder in Minted, Melissa Kim, was the director of corporate strategy at eBay. The two Naficy and Kim have M.B.A.s from Stanford Business School.

Based in San Francisco, Minted is an art-oriented online market that competes with Etsy — selling stationery, artwork, and home décor. But, unlike Etsy, Minted does all of the shipping and manufacturing itself. To decide on the merchandise, Minted crowdsources the best designs out of a community of amateurs, who vote for their favorites. Then the winning designs become things which are sold through the site. The designers get a percentage of every sale.

Naficy grew up in the Middle East and Africa. She saw interesting art and design, much of which would never be available to customers in the developed world. The internet provided a means to bring the artwork to a worldwide audience. Minted’s community of independent designers and artists can be found in all 50 states and 96 nations.

Minted increased $2.5 million in seed financing in July 2008 followed two weeks later by a Series A round of $2.1 million. Three subsequent rounds of venture capital funding followed the last one in 2014 for $38 million for a total of $89 million.

Stitch Repair: Online fashion purveyor and personal shopping service

Stitch Fix

Katrina Lake and Erin Flynn based San Francisco-based Stitch Repair in 2011 and went public in 2017 with an initial public offering that raised $120 million. Before the IPO, the company raised about $40 million in seed financing and three venture capital rounds. As of August 2018, the business was valued at $2.8 billion and had over 6,300 workers including 3,400 stylists. Flynn left the business in 2012.

Stitch Repair offers clothing for men, women, and kids. Users fill out a profile for a personal stylist, who can then choose clothes. Customers become chosen clothing delivered with no subscription needed. They can buy what they like and send back the remainder. There’s a $20 styling fee which may be applied to any purchase. Shipping is free both ways. Clients can select automatic deliveries at selected intervals should they prefer.

Lake has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Before that, she worked for a retail consultant group and for a venture capital company.

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23andMe: Personalized ancestry and genetic health hazard reports


Founded in 2006 by Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey, 23andMe sells saliva collection kits online to customers. The kits are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Consumers can buy an ancestry file, a wellness file, and a hereditary health hazard report. Clients send the kit back to the company, where the DNA in the saliva is examined from the provider’s labs and the results are delivered to the client.

Both founders have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Avey left the business in 2009 and went on to found another health care startup. Wojcicki worked as a medical care investment analyst for four decades before starting 23andMe. Entrepreneurship runs in her family. She had been married to Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, during the first years of 23andMe. Her sister Susan is C.E.O. of YouTube. Google was an early investor in the business.

It took years for the company to get F.D.A. approval for the DNA testing kit. The F.D.A. initially forbade the company from selling the genetic kits. However, this had little impact on the business’s ability to raise capital. Today the kits are offered on Amazon in addition to the provider’s website.

Based in the Silicon Valley, 23andMe has increased $786 million in 12 funding rounds through the years. The latest happened in 2018 with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline for $330 million. The business is valued at $2.5 billion and has over 230 employees.

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