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Unicorn status– an unrivaled title that the most notable private companies across the globe wear as a badge of honor. As companies newly valued at $1 billion or above continue to join the unicorn club, female-founded companies are pushing into the herd and making a name for themselves and their startups. Last year was a record-breaking year for women-led unicorns, with an applause-worthy increase from 18 new unicorn companies in 2020 to 83 in 2021, with at least one female founder paving a path for future change makers destined for unicorn status.
With half of 2022 behind us, we’re shining the spotlight on the momentum of this year’s unicorns with at least one female co-founder. Of the approximate 100 new unicorns of 2022, 10 are founded by women. While we recognize that there’s still more traction to claim a larger slice of the market, we’re celebrating the massive achievements these leaders have made in funding flows, with an impressive $54.6 billion raised last year by female-founded startups. Keep in mind, eight years prior, only $6.8 billion was invested in women-led startups.
As a fellow woman-founded company, our Bolt PR team is cheering on the growth, success and ultimate prestige that has been bestowed upon the latest women-founded unicorns. Join us in acknowledging this coveted club of change makers as we look at 20 women-led unicorns this past year.
With more than 10 years of experience in the real estate investment, development, management, and construction industries, Akiva’s leadership at Veev is unparalleled. Founded in partnership with Amit Haller and Ami Avrahami, Veev reimagines the way the home experience is designed, built and serviced to make exceptional living attainable. Through advanced technologies, every stage of the home experience is optimized, thus elevating Veev to unicorn status in early 2022.
With over 100 employees and two offices, Naama Alon and her co-founder, Oz Alon have tremendously grown HoneyBook since its inception in 2013. Earning unicorn status in 2021 and a valuation of $2.4 billion, HoneyBook helps businesses get organized through its leading client experience and financial management platform for independent business owners. Alon’s mission is to empower other creatives through technology and community.
Galina Antova is one of the world’s leading experts on operational technology (OT) cybersecurity, advising and leading growth strategies and digital transformations for Fortune 500 customers. Together with her co-founder, Benny Porat, she launched Claroty, a company that is paving the way in cyber defense software for OT networks. Reaching unicorn status in 2021, Claroty supports organizations to secure cyber-physical systems in industrial, healthcare and commercial environments.
As an expert on third-party and supply chain risk, Jennifer Bisceglie is an esteemed professional in leading the development of cutting-edge technologies that cultivate business intelligence. She brings 25 years of industry experience managing risk in the global economy and founded Interos as a supply chain and vendor risk consultancy. In 2019, as artificial intelligence and machine learning took the industry by storm, Bisceglie established Interos Platform, a sought-after asset in every tier of global supply chains. This unicorn startup now partners with clients like the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and an impressive list of Fortune 500 companies.
Launched in 2019, Chief is the only private membership network with a mission of connecting and supporting women in leadership. Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan set out to transform the typical look of leadership. Now, with 12,000 senior executive members connected to companies such as Zoom, L'Oréal, Universal and IBM, Chief has exploded to unicorn status and continues to rise. In fact, the network has a waitlist of over 60,000 women. Childers and Kaplan are pioneers in supporting women as they grow into executive leadership.
Under Hande Cilingir’s leadership, Insider has reached unicorn status as the platform that enables enterprise marketers to connect customer data across channels and systems, predict their future behavior with an AI intent engine, and orchestrate individualized experiences to customers. Alongside her five co-founders, Cilingir has cultivated a strong company culture, managed successful overseas growth and developed Insider’s advanced technology. Adding to her accomplishments, Cilingir was awarded the most successful woman entrepreneur of the year by Microsoft.
Empowering nursing facilities, such as SNFs, senior care and hospitals, to get the right nurse at the right place and time is Clipboard Health’s mission. This unicorn company is solving the challenge of the nationwide nursing shortage that is combined with new nursing graduates seeking positions. Founded by Wei Deng, Clipboard Health has locations across the country and an online marketplace to support one of the top most common jobs in the country, nursing.
Founded in 2015, Daily Harvest makes nourishing plant-based foods more accessible by eliminating common barriers such as access, cost and time. Rachel Drori took Daily Harvest nationwide in 2016 and it quickly became one of the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer brands. Hitting unicorn status in 2021, Daily Harvest offers chef-crafted ready-in-minute foods that are organic, nourishing and clean and are delivered straight to the consumer. Under Drori’s leadership, Daily Harvest was named one of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas.
Sunbit, the buy now, pay later brand that utilizes technology to allow people to pay-over-time for unexpected expenses was founded in partnership with Ornit Dweck-Maizel. She has been recognized as a top female entrepreneur by LA Tech Watch and several other outlets around the world. As CTO of Sunbit, Dweck-Maizel is a leading force in the brand’s presence in over 11,000 locations.
With more than 20 years of experience in product, engineering and marketing in both consumer and enterprise startups, Edith Harbaugh is the driving force behind the first scalable feature management platform, LaunchDarkly. Granting development teams the power to innovate faster through the transformation of how software is delivered to customers, this unicorn company is growing rapidly. Founded in 2014 in partnership with co-founder John Kodumal, LaunchDarkly has topped the Forbes Cloud 100 list, Enterprise Tech 30 list and InfoWorld’s 2021 Technology of the Year list.
Featured in Fortune 40 Under 40 in Finance and gracing the Inc. 2020 Female Founders 100 list, Adena Hefets has an impressive resume. With expertise in investment banking and private equity, she founded Divvy Homes to empower renters to become homeowners. Under Hefets’ leadership, Divvy Homes transforms the way Americans think about homeownership. This more affordable and flexible route to owning a home is made possible through Divvy’s method of collecting gradual down payments that eventually ends in a traditional mortgage.
Solving problems through transformation is Joanna Kochaniak’s mission, which is why she and her co-founders launched Upside. As a retail technology company that supports brick and mortar businesses in earning measurable profit, Upside recently reached unicorn status this year. With a focus on helping communities thrive and businesses profit, Upside is transforming brick and mortar commerce while focusing on benefiting the world at large through every transaction.
April Koh had an impressive start, founding her company at the age of 24 while studying at Yale, making her the youngest female CEO of a unicorn company. She had a laser-focused mission to eliminate every barrier to mental health, which propelled her to found Spring Health. Through this innovative service, employers are guided in modernizing their behavior health benefits with a comprehensive solution for employee well-being. With a personalized approach and the use of a proprietary assessment and machine-learning technology, Spring Health is the most effective behavioral health benefit for today’s employers.
A Stanford graduate, Ironman triathlete and software engineer– Julianna Lamb made our women-founded unicorn list for a number of reasons. With co-founder Reed McGinley-Stempel, Lamb founded Stytch to improve security and user experience with passwordless authentication solutions. Empowering businesses to focus on their products, Stytch’s APIs make it simple to seamlessly onboard, authenticate and engage users, making online passwords a thing of the past.
Earning unicorn status last year, Solo.io connects the world's applications with APIs and service mesh across any infrastructure. Founded in 2017, Idit Levine had a mission to create tools that help organizations adopt cloud-native technologies. With an extensive background in cloud, infrastructure and open source in both startup and large enterprise companies, Levine has held several prestigious technical leadership roles.
A Stanford-trained physician-scientist, Dr. Michelle Longmire has a mission to accelerate the development of new therapies for disease while delivering these therapies to patients faster. Through the inception of Medable in partnership with her co-founders, Tim Smith (Chief Technology Officer & Co-founder), Perry Robinson (Compliance Leader & Co-founder), James Sas (Chief Architect & Co-founder), she has enabled more efficient clinical research and more effective healthcare delivery. Medable was named on the CNBC 2022 Disruptor 50 list and has a valuation of $2.1 billion.
From managing financials to tracking sales data, this industry-leading payments technology provider has transformed the payments processing experience with their all-in-one Stax Platform that catapults businesses to scale. Since it was founded in 2014, Stax has processed over $9 billion in payments under Madhani’s lead. Not only is Madhani recognized as the Most Influential Women in Payments, according to PaymentSource, but she is dedicated to supporting minority women in SaaS startups and offers invaluable information on her esteemed CEO School podcast.
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, software developer, engineer, and author, Jessica McKellar is the leading force behind a company that reached unicorn status in 2021. Pilot delivers world-class bookkeeping, tax, and CFO services to growing businesses and startups with a focus on providing quality customer experience. McKellar and co-founders, Jeff Arnold and Waseem Daher, are behind two other successful businesses that have since been acquired by Oracle and Dropbox.
A true pioneer for women’s telemedicine and healthcare, Kate Ryder founded Maven in 2014. Under Ryder’s leadership, Maven continues as an industry leader, offering comprehensive, holistic care for women’s and family health. Additionally, Maven is the largest virtual clinic of its kind, and after raising $110 million in a Series D financing round, it is officially the first U.S. unicorn in the women’s and family health sector. Ryder is committed to advancing women’s health and harnessing top technology to deliver a high quality of care. Recognized as Fast Company’s #1 Most Innovative Health Company, it’s no surprise that Ryder is leading the support of more than 10 million women and families to date.
A true expert in retail supply chains, Johanna Småros has a wealth of knowledge and experience in many aspects of supply chain management. In 2005, in partnership with two fellow researchers, Småros founded RELEX Solutions, a leading provider of cutting-edge retail optimization software that’s built for the ever-evolving retail industry. Headquartered in Finland, RELEX is valued at $5.7 billion and reached unicorn status early this year.
On behalf of our entire Bolt PR team, we support, congratulate and are continually inspired by these leading women of unicorn companies. Visit our blog for more insight into the latest industry trends within digital marketing, content creation and PR.