Founder Profile

JJ Ramberg

Goodsearch, Goodpods

Because there are too many podcasts, and not enough time

JJ Ramberg was annoyed: The serial entrepreneur and former MSNBC host would throw on workout clothes, grab her phone, and have no idea what podcast to choose for her run. Apple’s podcast reviews were useless--she didn’t know whether the reviewers shared her taste--and individual recommendations from friends only got her so far.

Late last year, she took the complaint to her brother--and together, they came up with the idea for Goodpods, a podcast-centric social network that Ramberg defines as a mix between Goodreads and Instagram. The siblings initially planned to launch in late March, until Covid-19 presented an existential crisis: Is it appropriate to launch a company right now? After some soul-searching, Ramberg says, they decided the answer was “yes.”

The app had already been beta tested, so lieu of an in-person launch, Ramberg worked to garner attention by recruiting celebrities as users--leveraging her TV connections to enlist names such as Kim Kardashian West, Simon Sinek, Katie Couric and Malcolm Gladwell. “The most gratifying thing is seeing that it works,” Ramberg says. “When you have an idea for something, you think it’s great--but you never actually know if anyone’s going to use it until you really put it out there.” – Cameron Albert-Deitch

Company Information
Industry
Consumer Services
Year Founded
2018
Location
New York, New York
Industry
Software
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2020

JJ Ramberg was annoyed: The serial entrepreneur and former MSNBC host would throw on workout clothes, grab her phone, and have no idea what podcast to choose for her run. Apple’s podcast reviews were useless--she didn’t know whether the reviewers shared her taste--and individual recommendations from friends only got her so far.

Late last year, she took the complaint to her brother--and together, they came up with the idea for Goodpods, a podcast-centric social network that Ramberg defines as a mix between Goodreads and Instagram. The siblings initially planned to launch in late March, until Covid-19 presented an existential crisis: Is it appropriate to launch a company right now? After some soul-searching, Ramberg says, they decided the answer was “yes.”

The app had already been beta tested, so lieu of an in-person launch, Ramberg worked to garner attention by recruiting celebrities as users--leveraging her TV connections to enlist names such as Kim Kardashian West, Simon Sinek, Katie Couric and Malcolm Gladwell. “The most gratifying thing is seeing that it works,” Ramberg says. “When you have an idea for something, you think it’s great--but you never actually know if anyone’s going to use it until you really put it out there.” – Cameron Albert-Deitch

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Kristin Groos Richmond

Revolution Foods

Because during Covid, school kids aren't the only ones without healthy meals

Kristin Groos Richmond came to her passion for solving food insecurity by an unexpected path. After a stint on Wall Street, she helped start a school in Kenya, where “I saw firsthand what a difference good nutrition makes for students in and out of the classroom—how it affected their academic performance and energy and ability to succeed.” Back in the U.S., the company she co-founded in 2006, Revolution Foods, aimed to “completely transform the quality of meals offered to students” by reinventing school lunch.

In the intervening years, that mission has grown to include other vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, seniors, and the homebound, and the company now distributes several million meals per week in 170 cities across the country. This year, with schools closed amid the pandemic, Revolution’s mission became more important than ever, because many families rely on school lunch as one of their primary sources of food. The company pivoted in March to partner with cities to create new distribution models.

In order to serve diverse communities equitably, Revolution designs its meals to cater to different regions and backgrounds—and hires accordingly. “We are 66 percent female and 86 people of color across the company,” Richmond says. “Forty-four percent of management are leaders of color.” She sees that inclusiveness as a key to the company’s success—making sure that we are building in a way that supports the mission of listening to and responding to and designing for the communities we serve.” – Tom Foster

Company Information
Industry
Food & Beverage
Year Founded
2006
Location
Oakland, California
Industry
Food & Beverages
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2020

Kristin Groos Richmond came to her passion for solving food insecurity by an unexpected path. After a stint on Wall Street, she helped start a school in Kenya, where “I saw firsthand what a difference good nutrition makes for students in and out of the classroom—how it affected their academic performance and energy and ability to succeed.” Back in the U.S., the company she co-founded in 2006, Revolution Foods, aimed to “completely transform the quality of meals offered to students” by reinventing school lunch.

In the intervening years, that mission has grown to include other vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, seniors, and the homebound, and the company now distributes several million meals per week in 170 cities across the country. This year, with schools closed amid the pandemic, Revolution’s mission became more important than ever, because many families rely on school lunch as one of their primary sources of food. The company pivoted in March to partner with cities to create new distribution models.

In order to serve diverse communities equitably, Revolution designs its meals to cater to different regions and backgrounds—and hires accordingly. “We are 66 percent female and 86 people of color across the company,” Richmond says. “Forty-four percent of management are leaders of color.” She sees that inclusiveness as a key to the company’s success—making sure that we are building in a way that supports the mission of listening to and responding to and designing for the communities we serve.” – Tom Foster

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Allison Robinson

The Mom Project

A networking platform connecting companies with talented professional mothers.

Company Information
Industry
Human Resources
Year Founded
2016
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Leadership
Allison Robinson
Industry
Human Resources
Inc. Honors
Inc. Best Workplaces
2021
At the Mom Project, we lead with compassion, empathy, and respect. We offer our team flexibility, generous benefits, and unique perks that are important to them. We schedule daily work breaks — called sanity checks — on everyone's calendars, promote no-meeting days, and encourage our team to take time to take care of themselves and one another.
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Inc. Female Founders
2020

Carolyn Rodz

Hello Alice

A free multi-channel platform sourcing funding, networks and services for entrepreneurs while tracking data and trends to increase success rates.

Carolyn Rodz is no stranger to entrepreneurship: She’s started two digital marketing businesses (one successful, one less so) and ran a luxury retail copmany. More recently, she launched a virtual accelerator aimed at women and people of color, then teamed up with fellow entrepreneur Elizabeth Gore to evolve that program into Hello Alice, a learning platform for under-represented founders. The platform has partners including eBay and PepsiCo and is free to entrepreneurs.

The partnership between Rodz and Gore has been key to the success of Hello Alice: Rodz and her family moved in with Gore and her family in the Bay Area – so four kids total -- to get Hello Alice off the ground. When Rodz’ dad died right before Hello Alice launched, Gore jumped in, and Rodz took over when Gore’s mom was diagnosed with cancer. And when possible, they’re looking out for their larger community of entrepreneurs. When Hello Alice raised its most recent round of funding, it designed legal language to make it easier to get rid of investors who turn out to be harassers or assaulters – and is making that language available to other founders, too. –Gabrielle Bienasz

Company Information
Industry
Software
Year Founded
2017
Location
Santa Rosa, California
Leadership
Carolyn Rodz, Elizabeth Gore
Industry
IT Services
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2020

Carolyn Rodz is no stranger to entrepreneurship: She’s started two digital marketing businesses (one successful, one less so) and ran a luxury retail copmany. More recently, she launched a virtual accelerator aimed at women and people of color, then teamed up with fellow entrepreneur Elizabeth Gore to evolve that program into Hello Alice, a learning platform for under-represented founders. The platform has partners including eBay and PepsiCo and is free to entrepreneurs.

The partnership between Rodz and Gore has been key to the success of Hello Alice: Rodz and her family moved in with Gore and her family in the Bay Area – so four kids total -- to get Hello Alice off the ground. When Rodz’ dad died right before Hello Alice launched, Gore jumped in, and Rodz took over when Gore’s mom was diagnosed with cancer. And when possible, they’re looking out for their larger community of entrepreneurs. When Hello Alice raised its most recent round of funding, it designed legal language to make it easier to get rid of investors who turn out to be harassers or assaulters – and is making that language available to other founders, too. –Gabrielle Bienasz

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Inc. 5000
No. 1323 (2021)

Meaghan Rose

Rocksbox

Because jewelry rental just makes a ton of sense

Company Information
Industry
Retail
Year Founded
2012
Location
San Francisco, California
Industry
Consumer Products & Services
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2020