12 for 12: Predictions for 2019 from Female Founders

Jenny Abramson & Heidi Patel
5 min readJan 7, 2019


From left to right, top to bottom: Anurati Mathur, CEO, Sempre Health; Deborah Kilpatrick, CEO, Evidation; April Koh, Co-Founder & CEO, Spring Health; Annie Dean and Anna Auerbach, Co-Founders & CEOs, Werk; Davida Herzl, CEO, Aclima; Sallie Krawcheck, Founder & CEO, Ellevest; Meena Sankaran, Founder & CEO, KETOS; Rachel Carlson, Founder & CEO, Guild Education; Sara Mauskopf, Co-Founder & CEO and Anne Halsall, Co-Founder & CPO, Winnie; Heidi Patel, Partner, Rethink Impact; Elli Kaplan, Co-Founder & CEO, Neurotrack; Jenny Abramson, Founder & Managing Partner, Rethink Impact

As partners in a female-led venture capital firm that invests in female leaders using technology to tackle the world’s biggest problems, we have some of the best jobs on Earth. Over the past year, we’ve connected with and learned from more than a thousand female entrepreneurs nationwide. These businesses not only have women in the C-Suite, but also are often on a mission to create positive impact at scale in the areas of health, education, environmental sustainability and economic empowerment.

As we kick off the New Year, we wanted to share 12 predictions for the 12 months of 2019 from some of the most impressive female founders in the country. From what education will look like in 2019, to how regulatory changes will impact climate change and the tech sector, to data privacy and the healthcare landscape, to just some fun thoughts on culture (yes, we all want to know what will replace avocado toast in 2019!), we received some great insights from women across our network. If you have a prediction to add, tweet us @rethinkimpact with the hashtag #2019femalefounderpredictions.

  1. Employees will demand diversity accountability. “After a cathartic 2018 in which #MeToo and #TimesUp made headlines, it became blindingly clear that the progress of diversity in the business has stalled. 2019 will be a year of renewed progress. Smart companies will throw out old initiatives that failed to spur progress and will instead adopt a “no excuses” approach that makes diversity as important as any other business goal.” — Sallie Krawcheck, Founder and CEO, Ellevest
  2. Women will be holding [more of] the purse strings. “Two-thirds* of wealth is going to be controlled by women by 2030, and there will be a massive intergenerational shift of wealth to millennials. More capital will be available and dedicated to investing in female entrepreneurs — especially ones that are tackling big problems.” — Jenny Abramson, Founder & Managing Partner, Rethink Impact
  3. Venture capital will be called upon to drive climate resilience. “Climate change is no longer an abstract threat. Increasingly, we are experiencing its tangible impacts, like choking air quality during this year’s historic wildfires in California. There is now real demand from consumers, companies, and investors for innovation to manage environmental shocks. Ultimately, the venture community will start to see the critical role of the technology sector in creating and scaling solutions for climate resilience, unlocking new markets that could help billions of people.” — Davida Herzl, CEO, Aclima
  4. Mission-driven, diverse companies will strengthen their edge with talent. “Top talent will prioritize working at companies with diverse leadership teams who are tackling big social and environmental problems. People are realizing that their efforts in the tech sector are key to finding lasting solutions to our most pressing global challenges.” — Heidi Patel, Partner, Rethink Impact
  5. Disruption by female founders is coming for the childcare industry. “Childcare has seen little innovation in the past decade, despite an increasing trend in parents looking for care. For this generation of millennial parents, the majority of households do not have a stay-at-home parent. Early education and childcare are industries ripe for disruption in 2019, and women-led companies will be at the forefront.” — Sara Mauskopf, Co-Founder & CEO and Anne Halsall, Co-Founder & CPO, Winnie
  6. Mental health care is coming to a workplace near you. 2018 was a pivotal year for mental health awareness. Though we grieve those we lost to suicide last year, these losses had a silver lining: high profile suicides sparked conversations nationwide and “disrupted” the stigma on mental illness. As millennials and younger generations open up about their personal mental health struggles both online and offline, I am optimistic that the stigma will continue to decline and lead to more action in 2019 [from employers and providers] to support those who are struggling.” — April Koh, Co-Founder and CEO, Spring Health
  7. The future of work is here and it’s flexible. “In 2019, work will no longer be a place you go, but rather a thing you do. Success at work will no longer be measured by hours clocked in a single location, but by results. Today’s one-size-fits-all workday will be replaced by something much more fluid and flexible, with time- and location-based modifications tailored to both the goals of a company and the needs of their employees.” — Annie Dean and Anna Auerbach, Co-Founders and CEOs, Werk
  8. Water will become…automated. Industrial automation is at an inflection point where the next decade will bring about a transformation in the adoption of new technologies as well as modernization of how several known processes have been implemented for the past several decades. At KETOS, we are keen to see all water-intensive sectors truly embed the next evolution of technologies that will enhance and empower everyone, from the commercial and industrial user to their end consumers in this process.” — Meena Sankaran, Founder and CEO, KETOS
  9. Digital Health will consolidate, while individual patients’ voices grow louder. “While experts predict the digital health market will surpass $220 billion by 2023, [the sector] is poised for consolidation in 2019, as later stage capital becomes constrained for companies that haven’t achieved product market fit alongside proven outcomes and/or cost-savings, and as larger and different types of players get more deeply entrenched in the category. We will see even greater demand for improvements in how care is delivered as well as better preventive solutions that will truly help patients achieve their long term health goals.” — Elli Kaplan, Co-Founder and CEO, Neurotrack
  10. Employers, not schools, may lead the way in creating the workforce of tomorrow. “While technology will continue to augment the work that lower wage and frontline workers do, we’re also seeing a growing skills gap as technology evolves. Frontline employees are rapidly seeing their jobs changed or replaced by the latest technological innovations, while employers are struggling to find employees with the skills they need. We anticipate companies taking a larger role [using technology] in the education of their employees, rather than relying exclusively on educational institutions to do so.” — Rachel Carlson, Founder and CEO, Guild Education
  11. Flexible control of personal data will become paramount. “In 2019, as we unlock more insights through personal data, protecting individual privacy will be more important than ever. Patients should have control of their data — not just ownership, but control. It is paramount that individuals are told up front how their data will be used and have the ability to re-consent or change their mind over time.” — Deborah Kilpatrick, CEO, Evidation
  12. Heightened regulatory pressure on pharma manufacturers. “This administration has been very vocal in regulating pharma in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019. Specifically, I would expect rebates to come under fire, which would fundamentally change how meds are paid for by every major player in healthcare.” — Anurati Mathur, CEO, Sempre Health

* Bonus Prediction. “Avocado toast will be replaced by — or at least supplemented by — dishes that make sounds, move or change color.” — Jenny Abramson and Heidi Patel, Rethink Impact

*Source: Prudential

Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are stagnant in time as of the date of this article and are subject to change. Rethink Impact is not obligated to update their views and information that could change overtime. This article is not a solicitation or offer of securities of any current or future funds.



Jenny Abramson & Heidi Patel

@rethinkimpact @abramsonjenny @heidipatelsf