Founder Profile

Holly Whitaker

Tempest

She's brought a new inclusivity--and a raw candor--to addiction treatment.

Holly Whitaker. Courtesy subject

Holly Whitaker doesn’t pull punches, especially when discussing her struggles with addiction. “Most people carry these shameful secrets,” says the recovered bulimic, pot smoker, and alcohol abuser. “I think that part of my healing was almost embracing those parts.” Admitting you have a problem is one thing. Telling the suits who are wondering about cutting a check for your startup is another. But that’s what makes Whitaker’s rehab program, Tempest, revolutionary. Rather than treating those with addiction like they’re “sick and a liability,” or imposing a toxic framework “built for upper-class white men,” she combines elements that anyone can pick up and use. For some, that might look like Kundalini yoga and breathwork; for others, it could be tapping a cognitive behavioral therapist. “There are hundreds of things we provide people,” says Whitaker, who has helped 4,000 individuals since launching her eight-week program in 2015. “It’s really a symphony.” --Jill Krasny

Industry
Consumer Services
Year Founded
2014
Location
New York, New York
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

Holly Whitaker doesn’t pull punches, especially when discussing her struggles with addiction. “Most people carry these shameful secrets,” says the recovered bulimic, pot smoker, and alcohol abuser. “I think that part of my healing was almost embracing those parts.” Admitting you have a problem is one thing. Telling the suits who are wondering about cutting a check for your startup is another. But that’s what makes Whitaker’s rehab program, Tempest, revolutionary. Rather than treating those with addiction like they’re “sick and a liability,” or imposing a toxic framework “built for upper-class white men,” she combines elements that anyone can pick up and use. For some, that might look like Kundalini yoga and breathwork; for others, it could be tapping a cognitive behavioral therapist. “There are hundreds of things we provide people,” says Whitaker, who has helped 4,000 individuals since launching her eight-week program in 2015. “It’s really a symphony.” --Jill Krasny

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Sevetri Wilson

Resilia

She's bringing automated consulting services to U.S. non-profits

Sevetri Wilson’s first company, a consulting agency for nonprofits, faced a serious challenge: Plenty of nonprofits needed help, but not many could afford it. Her second company, New Orleans-based Resilia, is an attempt to solve that problem. It’s a software management platform that attempts to make nonprofit consulting faster, cheaper, and more reliable by automating it. Originally, Resilia focused largely on filing for incorporation and tax-exempt status: fill out the forms and Resilia would spit out the documents you needed, ready to file. In February, the company expanded to help existing nonprofits, private foundations, and city governments with services like budget tracking, training new hires, and grant management. Wilson estimates that the move will triple the company’s growth by the end of 2019, which will let her end the year with $5 million to $7 million in revenue. Resilia is also expanding geographically, opening a New York City office in October. And you might recognize the name of its biggest client, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. “We’re still here,” says Wilson, a solo founder operating outside of America’s startup hotspots. “So we must be doing something right.” --Cameron Albert-Deitch

Industry
Software
Year Founded
2015
Location
New Orleans, Louisiana
Industry
The Platform Economy
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

Sevetri Wilson’s first company, a consulting agency for nonprofits, faced a serious challenge: Plenty of nonprofits needed help, but not many could afford it. Her second company, New Orleans-based Resilia, is an attempt to solve that problem. It’s a software management platform that attempts to make nonprofit consulting faster, cheaper, and more reliable by automating it. Originally, Resilia focused largely on filing for incorporation and tax-exempt status: fill out the forms and Resilia would spit out the documents you needed, ready to file. In February, the company expanded to help existing nonprofits, private foundations, and city governments with services like budget tracking, training new hires, and grant management. Wilson estimates that the move will triple the company’s growth by the end of 2019, which will let her end the year with $5 million to $7 million in revenue. Resilia is also expanding geographically, opening a New York City office in October. And you might recognize the name of its biggest client, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. “We’re still here,” says Wilson, a solo founder operating outside of America’s startup hotspots. “So we must be doing something right.” --Cameron Albert-Deitch

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Serena Williams

S by Serena

The spoils of her $225 million tennis empire fund female CEOs.

Serena Williams. Getty Images

With 23 Grand Slam titles and an estimated $225 million fortune, Serena Williams has dominated the tennis world for some time. Lately, she’s been working on ways to parlay her brand--and her 30-odd million social media followers--into new wins. In 2018, she launched fashion line S by Serena and patented cosmetics brand Aneres. Perhaps most impressively, the sports icon has quietly scattered an estimated $6 million in investments across more than 30 startups over the past five years. Five of her investments are reportedly up at least five-fold, and the value of her portfolio has reportedly doubled to more than $10 million. In April, Williams and former JPMorgan asset manager Alison Rapaport announced the launch of her eponymous fund, Serena Ventures. The vision: to support (and generate returns from) startups run by women and people of color. Its portfolio includes women’s co-working space the Wing, sculptwear startup Honeylove, and kids clothing site Rockets of Awesome. --Zoë Henry

Industry
DEI Advocacy
Year Founded
2014
Industry
Fashion Forward
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

With 23 Grand Slam titles and an estimated $225 million fortune, Serena Williams has dominated the tennis world for some time. Lately, she’s been working on ways to parlay her brand--and her 30-odd million social media followers--into new wins. In 2018, she launched fashion line S by Serena and patented cosmetics brand Aneres. Perhaps most impressively, the sports icon has quietly scattered an estimated $6 million in investments across more than 30 startups over the past five years. Five of her investments are reportedly up at least five-fold, and the value of her portfolio has reportedly doubled to more than $10 million. In April, Williams and former JPMorgan asset manager Alison Rapaport announced the launch of her eponymous fund, Serena Ventures. The vision: to support (and generate returns from) startups run by women and people of color. Its portfolio includes women’s co-working space the Wing, sculptwear startup Honeylove, and kids clothing site Rockets of Awesome. --Zoë Henry

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Melonee Wise

Fetch Robotics

She’s making robots to tackle the tedious warehouse jobs that humans don’t want to do.

From manufacturing to delivering a product to a shopper’s doorstep, the race for ever more efficiency is fierce. Melonee Wise’s autonomous, mobile robots make it easier to find, track, and move items in warehouses and factories. When they’re hauling things, the robots also gather useful data about everything around them. “We use that data to tell people about the inside of their facilities,” Wise explains. Understanding where there’s congestion, for instance, is powerful information for a warehouse manager. A mechanical-engineering PhD and founder of a previous robotics company, Wise has led San Jose, California-based Fetch Robotics since shortly after its founding in 2014. In July, Fetch raised $46 million in venture capital, bringing its total funding to $94 million. This year, it also landed a major new client, Universal Logistics, which uses Fetch-designed robots and cloud-based software to move car parts around the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, the largest auto factory in North America. Fetch has several hundred robots deployed in 11 countries, and Wise says she's looking to expand in Europe. --Brit Morse

Industry
Logistics & Transportation
Year Founded
2014
Location
San Jose, California
Industry
Science Pioneers
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

From manufacturing to delivering a product to a shopper’s doorstep, the race for ever more efficiency is fierce. Melonee Wise’s autonomous, mobile robots make it easier to find, track, and move items in warehouses and factories. When they’re hauling things, the robots also gather useful data about everything around them. “We use that data to tell people about the inside of their facilities,” Wise explains. Understanding where there’s congestion, for instance, is powerful information for a warehouse manager. A mechanical-engineering PhD and founder of a previous robotics company, Wise has led San Jose, California-based Fetch Robotics since shortly after its founding in 2014. In July, Fetch raised $46 million in venture capital, bringing its total funding to $94 million. This year, it also landed a major new client, Universal Logistics, which uses Fetch-designed robots and cloud-based software to move car parts around the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, the largest auto factory in North America. Fetch has several hundred robots deployed in 11 countries, and Wise says she's looking to expand in Europe. --Brit Morse

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Trinity Mouzon Wofford

Golde

Her line of organic masks and superfood powders is poised for national distribution.

If the Instagram-fueled wellness boom made of “Moon Juice” dusts and diet teas feels like outer space, Trinity Mouzon Wofford is trying to bring things back down to earth. In 2016, the Millennial-minded founder began formulating superfood-boosted powders with powerful anti-inflammatory turmeric that could be mixed with any liquid. A year later, New York City stores began selling her Original Golde Tonic for $29. Soon, Goop, Urban Outfitters, and Sephora.com were calling. Today, Golde’s five powders and facemasks are sold by about 100 stores nationwide, and the company is poised for broader distribution. It’s a strong start for the tiny, bootstrapped operation, which consists of Wofford, her boyfriend, Issey Kobori, and just one part-time employee working out of the couple’s Brooklyn, New York, home. --Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

Industry
Health Products
Year Founded
2017
Location
New York, New York
Industry
All Things Consumer
Co-founder
Issey Kobori
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

If the Instagram-fueled wellness boom made of “Moon Juice” dusts and diet teas feels like outer space, Trinity Mouzon Wofford is trying to bring things back down to earth. In 2016, the Millennial-minded founder began formulating superfood-boosted powders with powerful anti-inflammatory turmeric that could be mixed with any liquid. A year later, New York City stores began selling her Original Golde Tonic for $29. Soon, Goop, Urban Outfitters, and Sephora.com were calling. Today, Golde’s five powders and facemasks are sold by about 100 stores nationwide, and the company is poised for broader distribution. It’s a strong start for the tiny, bootstrapped operation, which consists of Wofford, her boyfriend, Issey Kobori, and just one part-time employee working out of the couple’s Brooklyn, New York, home. --Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

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