Whitney Wolfe Herd
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
She's helping thousands of customers avoid mundane household tasks.
In 2014, the founders of Hello Alfred won the TechCrunch Disrupt SF pitch competition--becoming the first all-female founder team to do so--after wowing judges with its vision of an on-demand concierge service that connects customers with a professionally trained home manager to complete workaday household errands like cleaning, laundry, and pet care. Since then, Hello Alfred has raised $52.2 million. This March, the company launched its new platform, Powered by Alfred, a more gently priced service, and in May, it landed a partnership with Greystar, the nation’s largest apartment property manager, to provide its concierge services for Greystar’s nearly half a million units. Also this year, Hello Alfred expanded its reach to 22 cities (it started the year at 12). “I’d like for us to be one of the generation-defining companies. I don’t think there’s been one since Uber or Airbnb,” Sapone says. “And there’s never been one run by women.” --Emily Canal
Her app takes some of the sting out of being away from home by letting you read and draw with your kids online.
Maxeme Tuchman is trying to take some of the sting out of family separation. Her Miami-based Caribu makes an app that lets people read and draw online with their children or grandchildren. Users in 164 countries pay $7 a month to access the Caribu library, which is stocked with hundreds of children’s books in seven languages as well as coloring sheets, a word search tool, and other educational activities. Previously Tuchman, who is Cuban-American, was executive director of the Miami-Dade branch of Teach for America; she then served as a White House Fellow under President Obama. At Caribu, she has helped score a $100,000 investment from Rise of the Rest, AOL co-founder Steve Case’s seed fund, sparking Caribu’s $1.3 million seed round. And over the summer, Tuchman launched an equity crowdfunding drive on WeFunder that has so far raised $1 million much of it from women and people of color. One new investor is the Atlanta Falcon’s Ricardo Allen. Tuchman says: “He sent me this note: ‘I’m about to go to training camp, I miss my babies when I’m on the road. This is perfect.’” --Hannah Wallace
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
Laura Behrens Wu
Shipping is less of a drag for e-commerce companies that use her software.
When Laura Behrens Wu, now 28, was launching an online handbag store in 2013, she discovered that although technologies like Shopify or Stripe made e-commerce, sales, and billing easier, the one function that was still inefficient was shipping. “You either had to walk to the post office and do it yourself, or deal with outdated shipping providers,” says Behrens Wu. She and co-founder Simon Kreuz began building a platform that aggregates shipping options on an easy-to-use dashboard, letting customers select the best carrier for each package and fulfill their orders in the same place. Five years after launch, more than 35,000 companies use the site—including larger operators like Me Undies and Tuft & Needle, but also small and midsize businesses for which shipping is often a huge drag on time. Plus, Shippo’s scale lets it negotiate far better shipping rates than its smaller customers could ever get on their own. So far, the company has raised $29 million, and it is now handling upwards of $5 billion in merchandise a year. --Hannah Wallace