Founder Profile

Michelle Larivee

WTHN

She's brought acupuncture to a new audience: wellness-obsessed Millennials.

Michelle Larivee, co-founder of health and wellness company WTHN, turned to acupuncture for a couple reasons: to ease her back pain following a ski accident, and to help her get pregnant. "I always say I have two babies at the same time, my acupuncture baby, and my son, Sam," says Larivee. "I mean, this for me was just truly transformative." The former investment banker and consultant opened an acupuncture studio in New York City in 2018 that became profitable after just three months. This year the company, which has raised $2.5 million, launched a selection of blended herbs with names such as Dream On for sleep, and Can't Touch This for an immune system boost. Larivee says the company should hit $2 million in revenue this year. She’s planning more studios in New York and is looking to expand to cities such as Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. --Brit Morse

Industry
Consumer Services
Location
New York, New York
Industry
Fitness Nation
Co-founder
Dr. Shari Auth
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

Michelle Larivee, co-founder of health and wellness company WTHN, turned to acupuncture for a couple reasons: to ease her back pain following a ski accident, and to help her get pregnant. "I always say I have two babies at the same time, my acupuncture baby, and my son, Sam," says Larivee. "I mean, this for me was just truly transformative." The former investment banker and consultant opened an acupuncture studio in New York City in 2018 that became profitable after just three months. This year the company, which has raised $2.5 million, launched a selection of blended herbs with names such as Dream On for sleep, and Can't Touch This for an immune system boost. Larivee says the company should hit $2 million in revenue this year. She’s planning more studios in New York and is looking to expand to cities such as Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. --Brit Morse

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Ennie Lim

HoneyBee

She took on the payday lending industry, bringing affordable credit to those who need it most.

Ennie Lim. Courtesy subject.

Ennie Lim knows full well how important--and precarious--one’s credit score can be. After her divorce, the so-called age on her credit score suddenly sank to zero--and generally, older is better. Her only option for a personal loan: payday lenders. “Payday loans are a $90 billion industry and taking advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in America,” says Lim. In 2018, she launched HoneyBee to make small, low-interest loans to people through their employers. HoneyBee currently works with more than 150 companies, mostly midsize businesses of 150 to 200 employees, and it expects to have about 300 by year's end. HoneyBee’s typical loan goes those who make about $20 an hour and suddenly need $600 to $800 to fix their car, without which they can’t work. The loan is due in 90 days, and if an employee quits or is fired, HoneyBee can collect it against paid time off. So far, HoneyBee has made $1.8 million in loans, and plans to be operating in all 50 states by next year. --Kimberly Weisul

Industry
Financial Services
Year Founded
2018
Location
San Francisco, California
Industry
Money Movers
Cofounders
Benny Yiu and Max Zschoch
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

Ennie Lim knows full well how important--and precarious--one’s credit score can be. After her divorce, the so-called age on her credit score suddenly sank to zero--and generally, older is better. Her only option for a personal loan: payday lenders. “Payday loans are a $90 billion industry and taking advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in America,” says Lim. In 2018, she launched HoneyBee to make small, low-interest loans to people through their employers. HoneyBee currently works with more than 150 companies, mostly midsize businesses of 150 to 200 employees, and it expects to have about 300 by year's end. HoneyBee’s typical loan goes those who make about $20 an hour and suddenly need $600 to $800 to fix their car, without which they can’t work. The loan is due in 90 days, and if an employee quits or is fired, HoneyBee can collect it against paid time off. So far, HoneyBee has made $1.8 million in loans, and plans to be operating in all 50 states by next year. --Kimberly Weisul

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Christina Lopes

One Health Company

She created a genetic cancer test for dogs. The resulting data could save people too.

Christina Lopes. Courtesy subject

Cancer, way too common in humans, is 10times more prevalent in dogs. Christina Lopes wants to help both problems at once. The Brazilian-born entrepreneur’s startup--strapped with $5 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator, among others--created a genetic cancer test for canines. It detects gene mutations and helps veterinarians decide what kind of treatment is appropriate. Since launching last year, Palo Alto, California-based One Health has partnered with 70 animal hospitals throughout the U.S., helping hundreds of owners get their pets diagnosed and treated. Most important, these outcomes produce data that can then be used to develop therapies for humans. Lopes says a partner pharma company has made headway in developing a drug for cancer using One Health’s data. “We're already having impact on both sides of the leash,” she says. --Kevin J. Ryan

Industry
Biotech
Year Founded
2016
Location
Palo Alto, California
Industry
Science Pioneers
Co-founder
Ben Lewis
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

Cancer, way too common in humans, is 10times more prevalent in dogs. Christina Lopes wants to help both problems at once. The Brazilian-born entrepreneur’s startup--strapped with $5 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator, among others--created a genetic cancer test for canines. It detects gene mutations and helps veterinarians decide what kind of treatment is appropriate. Since launching last year, Palo Alto, California-based One Health has partnered with 70 animal hospitals throughout the U.S., helping hundreds of owners get their pets diagnosed and treated. Most important, these outcomes produce data that can then be used to develop therapies for humans. Lopes says a partner pharma company has made headway in developing a drug for cancer using One Health’s data. “We're already having impact on both sides of the leash,” she says. --Kevin J. Ryan

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Cate Luzio

Luminary

For keeping women connected--and her company in business.

“In March of 2020 we were just 14 months old. Panic around the world set in,” said Cate Luzio, founder and chief executive of Luminary, a networking and professional-advancement hub for women and their business allies. A significant aspect of Luminary was its sweeping Manhattan work-and-meeting space. “I didn’t have the word digital in my business plan,” she said. She didn’t close the business--despite the fact that things looked bleak. Instead, the banking-industry veteran went into survival mode, as much for members as for herself. Within a week, she and her team created a digital platform for events for members. Doing so allowed Luminary to scale its events, coaching, membership, and instruction operations—the company has held 1,500 events virtually, and can now count members from 30 countries. Luzio says she’s been tested thoroughly as a leader and owner over the course of the pandemic--but she’s also seen the time alone and space to think as a gift that’s allowed her to forecast the future more clearly. “My brain is able to focus on what I have to get done today and tomorrow, but also to plan for 2022 and 2023,” she says. “Its helped me shift our plan for growth and for the future.”--Christine Lagorio

Industry
Consumer Services
Year Founded
2018
Location
New York, New York
Industry
The New Girls' Networks
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2021, 2019

New York City-based Luminary founder and CEO Cate Luzio left her two-decade finance career at the end of 2018 to start Luminary, which differentiates itself from other female-first co-working spaces by emphasizing that membership is open to everyone (no applications; you can be an intern or a CEO), and that men are warmly welcomed in the space. “I had many male mentors,” Luzio says, “and if we're ever going to change all of the statistics we hear about [workplace inequality], we need men as part of the journey.” Since opening in a 15,000-square-foot space this January, Luminary has hosted 150 events and has grown to over 500 members, with 37 percent of members being women of color. --Anna Meyer

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Ran Ma

Siren

She makes smart socks to help patients manage chronic illness.

Many people with diabetes have nerve damage in their feet, which prevents them from feeling injuries that can become infected and lead to amputations. Siren’s flagship product, launched last year, is socks with embedded sensors that detect temperature increases, a sign of inflammation. That data is transmitted via an app on the wearer’s phone to health care providers. The socks are machine-washable and look and feel like regular socks, co-founder Ran Ma says. Patients get five new pairs every six months; insurers cover the cost, because the socks prevent even costlier medical complications. In December, the San Francisco company published peer-reviewed research on the socks’ effectiveness. “I’ve had people tell me feet aren’t sexy,” Ma says. “Diabetes isn’t sexy. The elderly are not sexy.” But she’s pushing ahead, armed with more than $10 million in funding. She adds: “My definition of sexy is creating a profitable business and saving lives.” --Sophie Downes

Industry
Health Products
Year Founded
2015
Location
San Francisco, California
Industry
Fitness Nation
Co-founders
Henk Jan Scholten, Jie Fu
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Sep 16, 2019
Inc. Honors
Inc. Female Founders
2019

Many people with diabetes have nerve damage in their feet, which prevents them from feeling injuries that can become infected and lead to amputations. Siren’s flagship product, launched last year, is socks with embedded sensors that detect temperature increases, a sign of inflammation. That data is transmitted via an app on the wearer’s phone to health care providers. The socks are machine-washable and look and feel like regular socks, co-founder Ran Ma says. Patients get five new pairs every six months; insurers cover the cost, because the socks prevent even costlier medical complications. In December, the San Francisco company published peer-reviewed research on the socks’ effectiveness. “I’ve had people tell me feet aren’t sexy,” Ma says. “Diabetes isn’t sexy. The elderly are not sexy.” But she’s pushing ahead, armed with more than $10 million in funding. She adds: “My definition of sexy is creating a profitable business and saving lives.” --Sophie Downes

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