Updated: Jul 9, 2020
The world is filled with beautiful, ambitious, intelligent, smart and vibrant women, who has climbed the mountains and dived into the oceans. She has been everywhere, seen everything and done everything. In this growing world of business, the femininity is globally glowing. There is no industry or start-up in which the women has not stepped in and achieved heights. Which sector women is not working in, call it health, sanitation, finance, transportation, tourism and what not? From being a minority in the entrepreneurial ecosystem ten years ago, women today comprise of 37 percent of the world’s total entrepreneurs. Women are excelling in every field. So here are 50 most innovative start-ups where women have made their own place in the world where men rules, and making their presence known globally.
Upasana Taku Singh, graduated from IIT Delhi in 2002, and in 2009, co-founded the mobile wallet and online payment platform MobiKwik. It was established in order to improve mobile recharge through app. broadening the gateway to a digital monetary platform. The company was authorised in 2013 by Reserve Bank of India. In 2015 Mobikwik was so much in demand that it was adding one million customers every month according to Forbes India Magazine.
MyDala is among the largest online coupon and discount platforms in India that provides offers on restaurants, grocery, entertainment, travel, body-art, spas and salons, gyms and other categories. Founded by Anisha Singh in 2009, the online company now handles 2, 00,000 transactions every day and targeting 400 million consumers in over 200 cities. It is Anisha’s second company in India, her first was Kinis Software Solutions. She also won Zee TV outstanding Young Entrepreneur in 2016 along with other prestigious awards. She is also international speaker for entrepreneurship, equality at workplace, and women rights in the society.
An Alumni of London School of Economics, and having five years of experience in Goldman Sachs, Swati Bhargava and her husband Rohan Bhargava started CashKaro.com in 2013 which became India's largest cashback & coupon cashback. Her venture CashKaro got tremendous traffic when it started and soon they got many investors, along with business tycoon Mr Ratan Tata. Swati was also listed amongst top ten Entrepreneurs in India.
Sairee Chahal, a business graduate from IMT Ghaziabad, has taken upon herself the task of bringing career opportunities to women with SHEROES.in. It was launched in 2013, a platform that provides a career Eco-system for women. It broke even in its first year and now has over 7,000 companies listed on their platform. The platform was created exclusively for women, and it just not only provide job opportunities but also a platform to explore career and meet mentors. She has won many awards like Devi Award, Femina Achievers Award and many more. In 2018, Sairee was ranked 53 on Onalytica’s “Future of Work Top 100 Influencers” list.
Radhika Ghai, is the co-founder and CMO of Shop-clues, an e-commerce company that sells everything between technology and fashion to footwear and jewellery. She was awarded as ‘CEO of the year’ in 2016. Despite of many shortcomings and increasing competition Radhika had heart at right place and worked for development and integrity of ShopClues. Growing up as military brat she had studied in various different schools and can easily adjust to adjusting environment thus, it helped her to use that for her work.
Founded in 2007, Infibeam is involved in e-tailing, software and internet services with Neeru Sharma as the head of corporate and business development. Infibean became profitable in 2016, and also registered IPO from which it garnered Rs. 450 crores. She like to work with her team despite of having her own cabin and she has worked through the establishment of B2B e-commerce Company with support of her family. The company provides platform to so many retailers and brands to have an online presence. She has worked directly with Jeff Bezos at Amazon after doing MBA at Carnegie Mellon University.
Yatra.com - one of India's leading online travel website was co-founded by Sabina Chopra. Under her leadership, the company has expanded its customer and scaled up its reputation. In 2010, she was felicitated with the women leaders of India. She is the COO of the corporate hotels of Yatra. Initially she served a Vice President of operations. Sabina boosts 26+ years of experience and with success of Yatra along with taking care of family, she has done a splendid job.
Zivame.com - founded by Richa Kar in 2011, after discovering that lingerie is an undeserved category in the country. Zivame today is one of the biggest retailer of women lingerie and wide traffic of women are accepting online purchase of it. Before the venture was a success, her start up suffered from a lot of criticism but eventually she got an amazing respond from buyers with 300 percent growth in her business.
Rashmi Sinha and her husband, with the help of her older brother Amit Ranjan, built SlideShare, a site for people to share presentations online. In just six months of its launch in 2006, more than nine million presentations have been uploaded to her site. In 2012, LinkedIn acquired Slide-share for over $100 million. In 2012, she was also ranked at the eighth spot of Fortune's most powerful women entrepreneurs list.
On her maternity leave at the age of 39, Suchi Mukherjee thought of an idea. LimeRoad.com is a women-only website showcasing look-books of various designers. It is the first boutique based fashion market place. LimeRoad provides platform for people are willing to buy, sell and discover. For Suchi’s contributions in the encompassing consumer technology she was voted for “Rising Talent- Global Leaders Under 40’ among 15 women at World Women’s Forum in Paris 2010.
Aditi Gupta, created a Hindi comic book with her now husband Tuhin Patel, illustrating and educating girls about menstruation. From here, their venture has scaled to a whole website called Menstrupedia.com. The lack of awareness about menstruation motivated her to come with this idea. The website has become now, the platform for educating pre-teens and teenagers on puberty and sexuality.
12. Social Samosa
Ankita Gaba is a social media strategist, entrepreneur, consultant, lecturer and the co-founder of SocialSamosa.com, an A to Z repository of Indian social media thoughts, ideas, trends, news and dialogue. Along with that she also the founder member of India’s first social media Superchooha. She got listed in the Global Top 100 Social Media Agencies and Consultants 2012-13. Despite of all her struggles she managed to rise from it and thrived towards her goals.
13. Mad Street Den
Ashwini Asokan, along with her husband Anand Chandrasekaran, founded a cloud based platform – Mad Street Den that makes use of artificial intelligence to get any smartphone with a camera to identify faces, detect facial expressions and emotions and react to facial gesture. Ashwini’s journey from aspiring dancer to product designer and finally owning her own company is an inspiration for a lot of women.
Chitra Gurnani Daga, an alumnus of the Indian School of Business and her husband Abhishek Daga, alumnus of the IIT BHU, Varanasi, they together started Thrillophilia. It is an Indian adventure travel company that curates the best local experiences with handpicked guides and vendors to expand your journey into something offbeat and super fun. Her website is counted as top 20 travel sites because of her passion for travel.
Falguni Nayar, took the entrepreneurial plunge and launched Nykaa.com, a beauty and wellness ecommerce, premier platform for women. This IIM Ahmedabad graduate launched her website in the latter end of 2012 and soon enough Nykaa was already boasting of retail partnerships with the world’s top notch personal care corporations like Unilever, P&G, L’Oreal, Beiersdorf, Johnson & Johnson and going onto raise 20 crores in funding from private investors with plans to expand to new technologies, a mobile app and physical stores in the country.
Garima Satija, is a young entrepreneur and founder of PoshVine, a community marketplace for travellers and adventure seekers to offer, discover and book unique experiences. Posh Vine curates more than 5000 experiences and activities for their customers.
Gurleen Kaur Tikku, is the CEO of Hareepatti, a firm that deals in financial advisory offering its customers financial wisdom, investment solutions, short term and long term monetary goals etc. Gurleen has always been good with numbers and wanted to share her knowledge. She conducts many workshops related to financial statements, cash flow, personal budgets, business from home and many such courses.
18. Love 4 apple
Harpreet Kaur, known to be a serial entrepreneur, she is the co-founder of Love 4 Apple, an e-commerce website where customers can buy accessories that are exclusively made for Apple products. The company’s initial motive was to sell authentic apple products, and now they have factory producing accessories for Apple products.
Jaya Jha, is the co-founder at two book related ventures, InstaScribe. Along with being a successful entrepreneur, Jaya is also an author, poet and speaker with three poetry collections and one novel under her belt. Jaya is currently looks after the product and marketing of Instascribe.com. She is author and speaker, she has three poetry and one book on her credit.
Neha Behani, is an entrepreneur whose inspirational story includes her bravely quitting her job and following her dream. Along with her co-founder, Kumaran Mahendran, Neha came up with the idea of Moojic which is a radio/jukebox like service for restaurants, cafes, bars, salons, gyms and other retail outlets. It is now used at a global scale as Facebook MD invested in this.
Pankhuri Shrivastava, is an avid reader, dancer and the co-founder of India’s first free roommate search engine, Grabhouse.com. She did her fellowship programme with Teach India, and was teaching in Mumbai and she had struggle there, for her living situation. She and her fellow-friend launched India’s first brokerage free house hunting portal in 2013.
Pranshu Bhandari, is the co-founder of innovative, online language learning tool, CultureAlley, which has developed mobile based application, Hello English. It became number 1 in India at Google Play within eight months of its launch.
23. The Label Life
Preeta Sukhtankar, is the founder of elite retail brand; The Label Life. The e-commerce start- up is for lifestyle and fashion. She has worked with Elle magazine, MTV’s most fashionable, and she finally worked for her start-up. She finally started her business in 2013, the label works with different designers to bring out unique fashion in Market. She initially started her work for label working with Bipasha Basu, Sussanne Khan, and Malaika Arora Khan.
Rashi Choudhry, is the co-founder and COO at LocalBanya in 2012. Mumbai’s first online grocery store that aims to make shopping experience more convenient and easy on pocket. The idea behind working on the online grocery store was because she has to go various places to get the grocery she wanted and due to population in Mumbai it is difficult to get parking so she wanted as platform where she could buy everything without going to any place.
25. Heads Up For Tails
Rashi Narang, is a passionate dog lover that converted this manic affection for the furry canines into creating an exclusive luxury brand for pet dogs. It provides pet accessories and has grown to 27 standalone stores in India. The brand has 80 percent year on year growth.
Sakshi Tulsian, co-founded Posist with her husband Ashish. Posist is a SAAS based eatery management platform for our country’s growing restaurant industry.
The company helps restaurants to manage customer relations, inventory, order, take-away, etc. She is committed to create brand name in restaurant space.
27. YourStory Media Pvt.Ltd
Shradha Sharma, is the founder of YourStory.com, India’s top media platform for entrepreneurs for promoting and reporting about start-ups and everything in around the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Before starting YourStory, Shradha was an Assistant Vice President at CNBC TV18. She was also brand advisor at The Times of India.
Shubhra Chadda, founded Chumbak, an online store selling Indian customized, funky apparel. Chumbak has become so popular that the 20 large stores are in 11 cities. It was one of the first Indian Companies to use social media to sell products. Shubra manages the product designing at Chumbak.
29. Tappu Ki Dukaan
Sneha Raisoni, is the founder of the Tappu Ki Dukaan store. Tappu Ki Dukaan has all the eccentric, quirky products from Haathi Chhap, Pop Goes the Art, Mixed Juice Design, Neil Dantas and Happily Unmarried on its shelves today. Sneha wishes to have her own line of products someday.
Surabhi Dewra, is the founder of India’s largest online career guide and research platform, MeraCareerGuide.com. Surabhi is an engineer, entrepreneur, and career counsellor. The inspiration behind this venture was to provide students platform to get counselling and choose for the optimum option fir their career.
Capitalizing on the missed call phenomena in our country, Valerie Wagoner quit her fancy Silicon Valley job and moved to India to start ZipDial, an interactive mobile based platform for marketing and advertising. Wagoner identifies three areas as challenges she faced during her initial phase as an entrepreneur — getting clients, hiring the right people and scaling up.
32. Xenia Hospitality Solutions
Llpzeenia Percy Master, comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her father started out close to 40 years ago and today has a substantial presence within the logistics industry. Nasty Gal and Girlboss Media Sophia Amoruso, stepped down as Nasty Gal’s CEO and watched the company file for bankruptcy, but this was just a setback and went on to develop her new venture, Girlboss, a site that’s dedicated to advising and empowering women on wellness, beauty, careers and more.
33. Huda Beauty
Huda Kattan, started her beauty empire after she quit her finance gig in Dubai. Struggling to find great quality false eyelashes as a freelance makeup artist, the beauty mogul decided to start making her own synthetic and faux minx eyelashes. After becoming the new ‘it’ product for Kim Kardashian, Huda Beauty lashes sold out within the first day, making makeup queen Kattan a person to look out for.
34. Tory Burch
Tory Burch, decided to spread out her wings and build her own label. In 2004, she launched her very own fashion brand, which has become a huge success with unique and on-trend designs. She was listed as the 73rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2015.
35. Thrive Global
Arianna Huffington, is the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the successful news website Huff Post (previously the Huffington Post). She is an author of about 15 books, and CEO of Thrive Global. Also in 2016, she was named to Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul100 list of visionaries and influential leaders.
36. Vera Wang
Vera Wang was a late bloomer, compared to the rest of the ladies on this list. It wasn’t until she designed her own wedding dress at the age of 40 that she decided to start her own fashion label. Luckily, Wang had all the right contacts having worked at Vogue magazine to make her brand a success.
37. Martha Stewart Living Omni media
Martha Stewart, grew to stardom as a celebrity chef, publishing a number of cookbooks and writing columns for several magazines. In 1997, the businesswoman centralized all her ventures with the creation of her media company, Martha Stewart Living Omni media.
38. Cath Kidston
Cath Kidston, decided to branch out and build her own store in 1993 that sold her quintessentially British, vintage designs. When vintage started trending again a few years later, the store quickly became a huge success and is now a household name on the British high streets.
39. ANGI Home services
Angie Hicks, saw a huge gap in the market, forming a service that no one else had provided before. Angie’s List helps you find the ideal household service that is right for you – all at the click of a button! She was also awarded with several awards one of was, the Women Tech Founder of the Year in 2016 at the Midwest Women in Tech conference in Chicago.
Sara Blakely, with little money to invest in her idea, Sara Blakely, the future founder of Spanx, faced rejection after rejections from investors when launching her brand. It wasn’t until Oprah Winfrey publicly acknowledged her business idea that her company got off the ground.
Denise Coates, is the successful owner of betting site Bet365, which took her a year to develop and launch. As of 2016, Bet365 is one of the world's largest online gambling companies, with $2 billion in revenues and facilitating $45 billion in yearly bets. Coates personal fortune is estimated at $12 billion, as of December 2019.
Corporation Cher Wang, is the founder of the billion-dollar tech company HTC which is focused on creating new and innovative smartphones. She is considered one of the successful and powerful women in computer technology. As of 2014, she is listed as the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Mazumdar-Shaw, is not only known for her staggering wealth but also for being India’s first female entrepreneur. She founded the business Biocon in 1978, which focuses on bio pharmaceuticals which are sold in over 120 countries across the globe.
44. Rent the Runway
Finding a niche in the market can be difficult, but Jennifer Hyman managed to do just that by making the runway affordable to all the Carrie Bradshaws out there. Her Design Group is an award winning boutique landscape design firm serving Toronto, Barrie, and Cottage Country that creates exceptional outdoor spaces.
45. Sun Media Group Media
Mogul Yang Lan is undeniably the most powerful woman in the Chinese media. She not only founded the Sun Media Group but is also a journalist and talk show hostess. Yang recently helped the launch of China Charity Alliance, aimed at promoting transparency in the country's booming philanthropic sector.
46. Sejaa Skincare
Gisele Bundchen, world's most powerful supermodel, actor, and UN Ambassador, is also a natural skincare entrepreneur. Her line, Sejaa, has reportedly been in ongoing negotiations with Shiseido for years without reaching terms. Her skincare has hit the Australian shores and products are developed in line of pure and natural. Her line of products uses all natural ingredients, the packaging is thoughtful and paper used is recyclable.
47. Marvell Technologies
Weili Dai, has the distinction of being the only woman co-founder of an American semiconductor company. The Chinese-born, U.S.-educated "geek" co-founded Marvell Technology Group in 1995 with her husband, Sehat Sutardja. Dai was president of the company until she and Sutardja were forced out in 2016 amid an internal accounting investigation.
48. Huffington Post
Arianna Huffington, created the Pulitzer prize-winning (and AOL assimilated) Huffington Post which continues its momentum in 2013 expanding to new international editions. In May, Huffington Post Japan marked the media site's first Asian outpost, following Canada, U.K., France, Spain and Italy.
49. House of Dereon
Beyonce Knowles, created the fashion label House of Dereon with her mother, Tina Knowles, in 2004. In May of 2012 Beyonce added another credit to her entrepreneurial CV when she launched shop.beyonce.com, a branded apparel and accessory marketplace. Beyonce is American singer, song writer and actor.
50. Fab Alley
Sivani Poddar, founder of ultimate fashion destination in India for chic-fashion girls. In 2015, she and her partner Tanvi Malik, launched their app, which sees monthly active users of over 1.5 million. The also launched two other brands Curve and Indya. Currently, FabAlley and Indya are leading online brands with a large international customer base and deliver to more than 30 countries worldwide.
The world is massive and so is the human brain! May it be any sex, the world of start-ups is growing really fast. The female presence is being hugely felt in the industry, with so many amazing, smart, intelligent beautiful women coming up, and crossing the boundaries and achieving everything!
Contributed by: Ms. Vrinda Dixit, student (INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TOURISM AND TRAVEL, Noida)