Founder Profile

Julia Hartz

Eventbrite

She's one of the few female founders in tech who's taken her company public.

Julia Hartz. Courtesy subject

Julia Hartz has had a rollercoaster ride of a year. In September 2018, the co-founder and CEO of ticketing platform Eventbrite took her company public in a wildly successful IPO that raised more than $240 million and valued her company at $1.75 billion. Last year, the company helped about 800,000 creators produce nearly four million events across 170 countries. Its market cap had soared to more than $2.4 billion when its momentum abruptly halted in March: Eventbrite missed Wall Street’s earnings estimate in its first quarterly report. “That’s a straightforward thing for the company to understand,” says a matter-of-fact Hartz. For her and her company, being public means getting back to basics. “We’ve almost rediscovered our founding DNA,” she says. “That’s been a great springboard for us.” --Guadalupe Gonzalez

Industry
Business Products & Services
Year Founded
2006
Location
San Francisco, California
Industry
The Platform Economy
Co-founders
Kevin Hartz, Renaud Visage
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

Julia Hartz has had a rollercoaster ride of a year. In September 2018, the co-founder and CEO of ticketing platform Eventbrite took her company public in a wildly successful IPO that raised more than $240 million and valued her company at $1.75 billion. Last year, the company helped about 800,000 creators produce nearly four million events across 170 countries. Its market cap had soared to more than $2.4 billion when its momentum abruptly halted in March: Eventbrite missed Wall Street’s earnings estimate in its first quarterly report. “That’s a straightforward thing for the company to understand,” says a matter-of-fact Hartz. For her and her company, being public means getting back to basics. “We’ve almost rediscovered our founding DNA,” she says. “That’s been a great springboard for us.” --Guadalupe Gonzalez

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Heather Hasson

Figs

For shaking up a staid industry.

Trendy direct-to-consumer apparel company Figs has racked up a lot of “firsts” since launching in 2013. It’s largely credited with branding what was previously a staid, unbranded industry: health care scrubs. In 2021, Figs became the first health care apparel company—and the first company with two female co-founders, Heather Hasson and Trina Spear—to go public. And Figs is the first company to offer IPO shares through the stock-trading app Robinhood—that was by design so that the health care workers who wear Figs scrubs could get in on the action.

Figs ended 2020 with $263 million in revenue, up 138 percent from the year prior, and profit of $58 million. Sixty percent of the company’s sales come from repeat buyers.

“The nature of any good business is to focus on your customer. You have to look deep and see what they want and what they need and how to cater to them across every single category,” says co-CEO Hasson. “We give health care professionals something they didn’t know they wanted, and I think they really appreciate that.”--Lindsay Blakely

Industry
Retail
Year Founded
2013
Location
Los Angeles, California
Industry
Fashion Forward
Co-founder
Trina Spear
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2021, 2019

Heather Hasson and co-founder Trina Spear correctly diagnosed the problem plaguing the medical scrubs industry: Options were limited to ill-fitting uniforms that were available for purchase only at inconvenient hours in uninspiring places (think medical supply stores also specializing in knee braces). Figs redesigned scrubs in high-tech fabrics and trendy silhouettes, and it brought in just over $23 million in revenue in 2017, and then over $100 million in 2018. The co-founders also decided to branch into brick-and-mortar retail with a pop-up shop in West Hollywood. “A bunch of our Instagram fans kept stopping by the office wanting to see the clothes. That’s when we decided we need a physical location,” Hasson says. This year, Figs became profitable and started expanding internationally (to Canada). More permanent outposts are planned for 2020.--Lindsay Blakely

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Whitney Wolfe Herd

Bumble

Her ladies-first dating app expanded into networking and now has more than 65 million users.

When Whitney Wolfe Herd launched Bumble in 2014, she aimed to invert social mores: her dating app requires women to start conversations with men. That platform has since swelled to more than 65 million users--including networking and friendship niches--with around $200 million in revenue and a reported $1 billion valuation. This year, Wolfe Herd convinced Serena Williams to join her venture arm, the Bumble Fund, as an investor and adviser; the tennis icon also starred in Bumble’s 2019 Super Bowl commercial. Wolfe Herd is trying not to be distracted by recent reports detailing sexual harassment at Bumble’s parent company, Badoo. “We assure you that we would never conduct business in a manner contradictory to our values,” she insists. In the spring, Wolfe Herd helped introduce a bill to the Texas state legislature criminalizing the transmission of sexually explicit photographs if the person receiving it has not given consent (it passed in May.) “This was an issue that many of the women on our team have dealt with firsthand,” the founder explains, “and seeing it go from concept to law [is] the moment I’m most proud of this year." --Zoë Henry

Industry
Consumer Services
Year Founded
2014
Location
Austin, Texas
Industry
The Platform Economy
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

When Whitney Wolfe Herd launched Bumble in 2014, she aimed to invert social mores: her dating app requires women to start conversations with men. That platform has since swelled to more than 65 million users--including networking and friendship niches--with around $200 million in revenue and a reported $1 billion valuation. This year, Wolfe Herd convinced Serena Williams to join her venture arm, the Bumble Fund, as an investor and adviser; the tennis icon also starred in Bumble’s 2019 Super Bowl commercial. Wolfe Herd is trying not to be distracted by recent reports detailing sexual harassment at Bumble’s parent company, Badoo. “We assure you that we would never conduct business in a manner contradictory to our values,” she insists. In the spring, Wolfe Herd helped introduce a bill to the Texas state legislature criminalizing the transmission of sexually explicit photographs if the person receiving it has not given consent (it passed in May.) “This was an issue that many of the women on our team have dealt with firsthand,” the founder explains, “and seeing it go from concept to law [is] the moment I’m most proud of this year." --Zoë Henry

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Christine Hunsicker

CaaStle

With her software, big brands can behave like hand-picked subscription services.

Christine Hunsicker. Courtesy subject

When Christine Hunsicker launched plus-size clothing rental service Gwynnie Bee in 2012, the goal was to prove to investors that consumers would actually rent clothing, thanks to the digital platform Hunsicker had created. It worked so well that, by 2017, a handful of clients, including New York & Co and Ann Taylor, were paying Hunsicker to manage logistics such as the shipping and cleaning for their own web orders. Today, Hunsicker’s "Clothing as a Service" company--rebranded as CaaStle (get it?)--employs more than 500 employees, who have shipped more than five million orders globally to date. With over $200 million in capital and a dozen retail partners, Hunsicker says she’s just getting started. “There are a lot of things we still have to build to maintain the position we’re in,” concedes Hunsicker, nodding to a pilot program that includes physical store locations. “The journey is a thousand of these little steps together.” --Zoë Henry

Industry
IT Services
Year Founded
2012
Location
New York, New York
Industry
Fashion Forward
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

When Christine Hunsicker launched plus-size clothing rental service Gwynnie Bee in 2012, the goal was to prove to investors that consumers would actually rent clothing, thanks to the digital platform Hunsicker had created. It worked so well that, by 2017, a handful of clients, including New York & Co and Ann Taylor, were paying Hunsicker to manage logistics such as the shipping and cleaning for their own web orders. Today, Hunsicker’s "Clothing as a Service" company--rebranded as CaaStle (get it?)--employs more than 500 employees, who have shipped more than five million orders globally to date. With over $200 million in capital and a dozen retail partners, Hunsicker says she’s just getting started. “There are a lot of things we still have to build to maintain the position we’re in,” concedes Hunsicker, nodding to a pilot program that includes physical store locations. “The journey is a thousand of these little steps together.” --Zoë Henry

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Nicole Hu

One Concern

She uses A.I. to predict the severity of disasters and help authorities respond.

“Our mission is saving lives and livelihoods,” Nicole Hu says. With natural disasters increasing in frequency and severity, Hu and her co-founders started One Concern to make homes, properties, and even entire geographic regions safer. Using data science and A.I., its earthquake platform--now being used by the governments of Seattle and two cities in California--can tell which buildings need to be reinforced, where to evacuate, and how much damage to expect block by block. This year the startup, which has raised a total of $22.6 million, plans to implement its flood platform in its first international location, Kumamoto City, Japan. --Emily Canal

Industry
Software
Year Founded
2015
Location
Menlo Park, California
Industry
Science Pioneers
Co-founders
Ahmed Wani, Timothy Frank
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

“Our mission is saving lives and livelihoods,” Nicole Hu says. With natural disasters increasing in frequency and severity, Hu and her co-founders started One Concern to make homes, properties, and even entire geographic regions safer. Using data science and A.I., its earthquake platform--now being used by the governments of Seattle and two cities in California--can tell which buildings need to be reinforced, where to evacuate, and how much damage to expect block by block. This year the startup, which has raised a total of $22.6 million, plans to implement its flood platform in its first international location, Kumamoto City, Japan. --Emily Canal

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