52 mission-led, female-founded startups we love right now.

Erica Schlaikjer
Mar 18, 2019 · 8 min read

Why stop at Women’s History Month? Here’s a woman to celebrate every week for the next year.

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Brand identify from erotic audio story platform Dipsea

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve compiled a list of female-founded brands that exemplify what it means to disrupt the status quo of their industry with beautiful branding, user-centric design and mission-led business practices.

Today, women influence up to 80 percent of global buying decisions and control $20 trillion of global consumer spending. Yet women hold just 24 percent of senior roles globally.

Women also remain deeply underrepresented in venture capital. One U.S. analysis found that just 2% of venture capital finance went to start-ups founded by women. Statistics are even more disheartening among women of color, who receive less than 0.2% of venture capital funding.

The gender gap in the startup scene has “more to do with historical inequalities than it does with innate ability,” as philanthropist and Melinda Gates says.

Among these systemic reasons for the lack of gender parity:

  • Double standards: A report from Morgan Stanley found that investors see fewer pitches from women and minority entrepreneurs and, when they do, they hold those entrepreneurs to higher standards.
  • Prejudice and bias. A Harvard Business Review study showed that male VCs viewed young male entrepreneurs seeking funding as “promising” and young female founders as “inexperienced.”
  • Lack of decision-making power: Women make up only 9 percent of venture capital firm investment decision-makers.
  • Clueless men. Recounting her experience starting Daily Harvest, for example, entrepreneur Rachel Drori told The New York Times: “I would walk into these rooms of late-40s, early-50s dudes — potential investors — and they would just look at me blankly, like, ‘I do not get it.’”

Women entrepreneurs from all industries should be celebrated and honored all year round, so here’s a list of female founders you can support every week, for the next 52 weeks, listed by category, but in no particular order, except arbitrarily alphabetical:


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The founding team of The Lily, a product of The Washington Post


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Turmeric from Diaspora Co.
  • Brightland—extra virgin olive oil, crafted from a single-estate California farm, without fillers or artificial preservatives, founded by Aishwarya Iyer.
  • Daily Harvest—a subscription meal delivery service that provides customers with unprocessed, healthy “superfoods” in a convenient, frozen format, founded by Rachel Drori.
  • Diaspora—fair-trade turmeric brand, created by queer-identified, woman of color Sana Javeri Kadri, with a vision “to put money, equity and power into the hands of Indian farmers, and to disrupt, and decolonize an outdated commodity spice trading system.”
  • Goldmine —a line of adaptogenic herbs that started as a passion project between Rachael Gorjestani and Tina Hardison to “help you adapt to the stressors of modern day life.”
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams—an ice cream company devoted to bringing people together to help them connect, created by Jeni Britton Bauer.
  • Misfit Foods—what started out as cold-pressed juice made from “ugly” fruits and veggies to fight global food waste, re-branded into a platform of products made from supply chain inefficiencies, created by co-founders Ann Yang and Phil Wong.


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Lubricant, condoms and vibrators from Maude
  • 23andMe—a personal genomics and biotechnology company that helps people understand their health and ancestry, founded by Anne Wojcicki.
  • AskTia—a women’s cycle, health and wellness mobile app, and recently launched brick-and-mortar women’s health clinic, founded by Carolyn Witte and Felicity Yost.
  • The Flex Company — a body-safe menstrual cup to provide women with an alternative to tampons, founded by Lauren Wang.
  • Lioness Health —creator of the world’s first “smart” vibrator, with a mission to de-stigmatize women’s sexuality and empower women through knowledge of their own bodies, co-founded by Anna Lee and Liz Klinger.
  • Lola — feminine hygiene and sexual health products, including 100% organic cotton tampons, launched by co-founders Alexandra Friedman and Jordana Kier, who are committed to “building a diverse community based on open dialogue to drive education, engagement and advocacy for women.”
  • Not Pot—CBD-infused edible gummies, with a commitment to help combat mass incarceration by paying bail for one person in need every month, founded by Kati Holland.
  • Maude—a line of personal lubricants, condoms and vibrators, created by Eva Goicochea and Dina Epstein, with a mission to “make sex better for all people.”
  • Modern Fertility—an at-home fertility test company that empowers women with the knowledge to navigate important hormonal changes, founded by Afton Vechery and Carly Leahy.
  • Ritual—“clean” multi- and pre-natal vitamins with essential nutrients for women, created by Katerina Schneider.
  • Sustain—natural condoms, lube, tampons, wipes and other “vagina-friendly” products, created by father-daughter team Jeffrey (who founded Seventh Generation) and Meika Hollender.
  • Thinx—a feminine hygiene brand that pioneered “period-proof underwear,” dedicated to menstrual equity, founded by Miki Agrawal.

Fashion & Accessories

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Fitness apparel from Girlfriend Collective
  • EVERYBODY—a fashion line made from 100% recycled fabrics, championing fair wages and textile sustainability, founded by Iris Alonzo and Carolina Crespo.
  • For Days—a subscription-based service for buying recycled t-shirts, creating a new model of commerce to promote a zero-waste, closed-loop lifestyle, founded by Kristy Caylor.
  • Girlfriend Collective—fitness apparel made from recycled ocean plastic, founded by husband-and-wife duo Ellie and Quang Dinh.
  • Mattera textiles company committed to the sustainability of rural craft livelihood in Asia, founded by Renyung Ho and Yvonne Suner.
  • Merjuri—ethically sourced, fine-crafted jewelry, without the traditional retail markups, to make luxury more accessible to women, founded by Noura Sakkijha.
  • Nimble Made—custom-tailored apparel for slimmer body types, with a mission to bring more representation for Asian American Pacific Islanders, created by Wesley Kang and Tanya Zhang.
  • O M O N D I—a Kenyan fashion designer committed to promoting diversity in the fashion industry.
  • Pals Socks — a company that sells mismatched socks, created by designer Hannah Lavon, inspiring kids to promote inclusivity and acceptance.
  • Reformation—sustainable clothing line for women, created by Yael Aflalo.
  • ThirdLove — a line of bras designed for all body types, with a Fit Finder quiz and try-before-you-buy program to change how women shop for bras, started by husband-and-wife team David Spector and Heidi Zak.


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Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital

Beauty & Personal Care

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Uni-sex cosmetics from Noto

Home Goods

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  • Clare—simplifying the paint shopping process and helping people feel inspired in their own homes, while also offering ultra-premium paint certified for low chemical emissions, founded by interior designer Nicole Gibbons.
  • Brandless—everyday home and pantry essentials for only $3, started by Tina Sharkey and Ido Leffler.
  • The Sill—the first digitally native, direct-to-consumer plant brand, founded by Eliza Blank, to “make us happier, healthier, more efficient and boost our creativity.”


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Alyssa Ravasio, CEO of HipCamp
  • Eaton Workshop—a hospitality company with hotels in Washington, D.C. and Hong Kong, “at the intersection of culture, media, hospitality, wellness, and progressive social change,” founded by Katherine Lo.
  • Hipcampan online travel service designed to help people discover and book camping experiences, founded by Alyssa Ravasio.
  • Nextdoor—a social networking service for neighborhoods, co-founded by Sarah Leary, Nirav Tolia, Prakash Janakiraman and David Wiesen.
  • Werk—a people analytics platform to help companies create successfully flexible work programs, led by Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean.
  • The Wing—work and community spaces designed for women, started by co-founders Lauren Kassan and Audrey Gelman.

enso is a creative impact agency.
We work with innovative companies and organizations to create positive impact at scale through shared missions. Learn more at enso.co.


Culture, brands, and people at the intersection of…

Erica Schlaikjer

Written by

Creator / Connector / Hybrid / Explorer. My thoughts are my own.



Culture, brands, and people at the intersection of creativity x impact. Made by enso, a creative impact agency.

Erica Schlaikjer

Written by

Creator / Connector / Hybrid / Explorer. My thoughts are my own.



Culture, brands, and people at the intersection of creativity x impact. Made by enso, a creative impact agency.

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