- Very few women founders have been able to scale and lead their startups to an IPO.
- Only about 4 accomplished this in 2020. Only about 20 have in recent history.
- These trailblazing women come from a range of industries, from biomedicine to retail. When Bumble goes public this week, Whitney Wolfe Herd will be the youngest at 31.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The odds are stacked against women in business. But they’re really stacked against women founders.
Women who do start companies aren’t able to scale their businesses to the same size as men. Only 28% of startups have a female founder, according to a 2019 Silicon Valley Bank report, and companies with all-women founding teams are given less than 3% of all US venture capital dollars.
Additionally, research by Insider and Nasdaq found that only about 20 companies currently trading had women founders who led them to an IPO. Four of those IPOs occurred in 2020, out of about 442 total in the US.
If that gap sounds bad, it’s much worse for BIPOC women. Since 2018, only .64% of venture dollars have gone to Black and Latinx women founders, according to ProjectDiane, a biennial research study that tracks investment in companies founded by minorities.
Meet the 21 trailblazing women who have scaled their companies to successful IPOs. Whitney Wolfe, founder and CEO of Bumble, is set to become the 22nd woman, and the youngest at 31, when Bumble goes public later this week.
(The women had to be both founders and CEO at the time their companies went public to be included in this list. Their companies also still needed to be publicly traded today. Know of anyone we missed? Please send them to [email protected] as we continue to track progress).
Muriel Siebert founded financial services firm Siebert Financial and took it public in 1967.
IPO Date: January 1967
Market Cap: $US253 million
Siebert made history when she became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1967, after her application was rejected nine times.
Siebert passed away in 2013. Since then, the financial services firm was acquired by Kennedy Cabot Acquisition in 2016 and expanded its offerings to include insurance services and portfolio management.
Cathy Hughes founded media company Urban One and took it public in 1999.
IPO Date: May 5, 1999
Market Cap: $US79 million
Hughes became the first Black woman to lead a publicly-traded corporation when media company Urban One went public in 1999. Today, the founder and chairperson leads the largest Black-owned and operated broadcast company in the US, operating 55 radio stations.
Diane Greene cofounded software giant VMWare in 1998. It was acquired by Dell EMC and then taken public in 2007 with Greene at the helm.
IPO Date: August 14, 2007
Market Cap: $US58 billion
Diane Greene was one of the cofounders of VMWare in 1998, and the company was sold to EMC (later Dell EMC) in 2004, and then went public with Greene at the helm. After she left VMWare in 2008, Greene went on to become CEO of Google Cloud from 2015-2019, and has served on the board for such companies as Intuit, Alphabet, and Stripe.
Currently Greene is a Chairman of the Corporation at one of her alma mater, the Massachusetts Instutute of Technology.
Pamela Marrone founded Marrone Bio Innovations and took it public in August 2013.
IPO Date: August 2, 2013
Market Cap: $US277 million
Founded in 2006, Marrone Bio Innovations is a pest management and plant health product company. The company employs over 100 workers.
Pamela Marrone retired as CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations in August 2020. Today, she advises startups and serves as executive chairperson and partner of bioagricultural companies Primary BioAg Innovations and Global BioAg Linkages. Marrone received the title of The Most Admired CEO, Distinguished Career Award by the Sacramento Business Journal in 2020.
Bonnie Anderson founded healthcare company Veracyte and took it public in October 2013.
IPO Date: October 30, 2013
Market Cap: $US3 billion
Founded in 2008 by Anderson and Douglas Dolginow, Veracyte is a healthcare company that provides genomic diagnostics for oncology patients. The San Fransisco-based company has more than 350 employees.
Before cofounding Veracyte, Anderson served as a strategic consultant for early-stage businesses.
Rachel King founded GlycoMimetics, a biotechnology company focused on oncology. She took it public in January 2014.
IPO Date: January 10, 2014
Market Cap: $US173 million
GlycoMimetics is a biotechnology company focused on oncology.
Before founding GlycoMimetics, King worked in leadership positions at Novartis and Genetic Therapy. She led Genetic Therapy’s IPO and eventual acquisition by Novartis. King holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and served as chair of the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board under former Governor Martin O’Malley.
King cofounded the company with John Magnani.
Sheila Lirio Marcelo launched Care.com, a resource for parents to find childcare help, and took it public in January 2014.
IPO Date: January 24, 2014
Valuation: $US500 million*
Marcelo founded Care.com in 2006 as a way to address a problem she herself had faced as a working mother: finding care for her children as she worked a full-time job.
The website offers services that connect families with caregivers. Care.com now has over 35 million members in over 20 countries. The company was acquired by holding company IAC in February 2020 for $US500 million.
*Care.com was a publicly-traded company when tracking for this list first began. Shortly after, it was acquired by IAC for $US500 million.
Lisa Conte founded pharmaceutical company Jaguar Animal Health and took it public in May 2015.
IPO Date: May 13, 2015
Market Cap: $US237 million
Jaguar Health is a pharmaceutical company that works to develop and commercialize plant-based prescription medicines.
Conte has worked in plant-based prescription medicine development for over 30 years, and holds an M.S. in physiology and pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego, and an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Dartmouth College.
Lynn Jurich cofounded Sunrun, home solar power company. She took it public in August 2015.
IPO Date: August 5, 2015
Market cap: $US14 billion
Sunrun is a San Fransisco-based home solar power company cofounded by Jurich and Ed Fenster. As CEO, Jurich has worked to install more than $US3 billion worth of solar systems across 22 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Jurich was named one of Forbes’ Women to Watch in 2015, and is also an angel investor.
Jennifer Doudna founded Editas Medicine, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, and took it public in February 2016.
IPO Date: February 2, 2016
Market Cap: $US4.5 billion
Editas Medicine is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on using genome editing to develop new medicines.
Doudna received a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2020 for discovering the genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas-9 in 2012 together with Emmanuelle Charpentier, a researcher and professor in microbiology, marking the first time two women have won a Nobel Prize in science.
Jill Milne created Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, and took it public in June 2016.
IPO Date: June 29, 2016
Market Cap: $US83 million
Catabasis Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2008 as a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focusing on therapeutic treatments for rare diseases.
Before cofounding Catabasis with Michael Jirousek, Milne led drug development at companies like Srtris Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer.
Therese Tucker founded enterprise software company BlackLine and took it public in October 2016.
IPO Date: October 27, 2016
Market Cap: $US8 billion
BlackLine is an enterprise software company developing cloud-based services for accounting and finance. The company has a market cap of over $US7 billion.
Tucker launched BlackLine in 2001. Before founding the company, she worked in financial accounting and technology development for more than 25 years.
Katrina Lake founded personal shopping company Stitch Fix and took it public in November 2017.
IPO Date: November 17, 2017
Market Cap: $US8.7 billion
Stitch Fix is a personal shopping company that provides algorithmic-supported styling options for its clients. In 2017, Lake, who worked at the intersection of fashion, retail, and technology, became the youngest female founder to take a company public at 34. She founded the company in 2011. Today the company is valued at over $US2 billion.
Julia Hartz cofounded event management and ticketing site Eventbrite and took it public in September 2018.
IPO Date: September 20, 2018
Market Cap: $US2 billion
Global event management and ticketing site Eventbrite made one of the biggest opening-day debuts when it went public in 2018, raising $US230 million.
The company has received praise for its positive office environment, and Hartz was named one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 business leaders in 2015. She cofounded the company with Renaud Visage and Kevin Hartz.
Emily Leproust cofounded synthetic DNA manufacturer Twist Bioscience and took it public in October 2018.
IPO Date: October 30, 2018
Market Cap: $US8 billion
Twist Bioscience manufactures synthetic DNA. Leproust cofounded the company with Bill Peck in 2013, and was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers in 2015 for her work accelerating DNA manufacturing and production.
Casey Lynch co-founded biopharmaceutical company Cortexyme and took it public in May 2019.
IPO Date: May 8, 2019
Market Cap: $US1 billion
Cortexyme works on creating therapeutic solutions for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases. Before cofounding Cortexyme, Lynch led various companies in the biotech space, including Aspira Biosystems and Neuronsights. She also sits on the board of directors of the California Life Science Association.
Julie Wainwright founded luxury consignment store The RealReal and took it public in June 2019.
IPO Date: June 28, 2019
Market Cap: $US2 billion
TheRealReal founder and CEO Julia Wainright founded the luxury consignment store in 2011 out of her home after working with various start ups and leading online video site Reel.com and serving as CEO of Pets.com.
Today, the company has 20 million members and eight retail stores across the country.
Maria L. MacCecchini founded biotech company Annovis Bio and took it public in January 2020.
IPO Date: January 29, 2020
Market Cap: $US68 million
Drug platform company Annovis Bio develops drugs for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Macchecchini founded the company in 2008. She also served as partner and director of RobinHood Ventures and MidAtlantic Angel Group.
Roni Mamluk founded oncology company Ayala Pharmaceuticals and took it public in May 2020.
IPO Date: May 8, 2020
Market Cap: $US10 billion
Ayala Pharmaceutircals is a clinical-stage oncology company developing therapeutics for patients living with rare cancers around the world. The company is based in Israel.
Mamluk has worked in drug development for 16 years and completed a Post Doc at Harvard Medical School.
Leen Kawas founded pharmaceutical company Athira Pharma and took it public in September 2020.
IPO Date: September 18, 2020
Market Cap: $US774 million
Kawas was the first woman to guide a company through an IPO in Washington State in more than 20 years. Her pharmaceutical company, Athira, develops therapeutics to treat Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Athira raised $US204 million in its initial IPO.
Ann Marie Sastry founded artificial intelligence software company Amesite and took it public in September 2020.
IPO Date: September 25, 2020
Market Cap: $US110 million
Amesite is a Michigan-based artificial intelligence software company that works to improve learning outcomes. In 2020, Amesite received a Business Innovation Intelligence Group award for generating new ideas.
Sastry founded the company in 2017 after cofounding battery company Sakti3, which was acquired by Dyson for $US90 million in 2015.
BONUS: Whitney Wolfe Herd plans to take her female-focused dating app Bumble public in mid-February.
Expected IPO Date: February 11, 2021
Valuation: $US6 billion
On January 15, female-centered dating app Bumble filed for an IPO. The company plans to go public in mid-February. Bumble, which was created in 2014, was born out of Herd’s idea to create a social network designed around women, which eventually grew into a dating app where women had the power to make the first move on matches.
The idea took off. As of September 2020, Bumble has more than 42 million active users. The majority of Bumble’s board is composed of women, and Wolfe Herd, 31, will be the youngest female CEO to take her company public when the IPO is complete.