Female Founders of Tech: From Jessup to Osman Britton
Proving that tech is no longer ‘male, pale and stale’, BusinessCloud was inundated with nominations for its Female Founders of Tech list.
Historically tech has been a male-dominated industry, which is why BusinessCloud launched a mission to find examples of women who have used tech in some way and turned it into a first-rate business.
Publication of the list builds on the incredible reception our 100 Female Role Models in Tech list enjoyed in 2016.
The list received over 3 million impressions on Twitter and won widespread praise but this year we decided to tweak the criteria to focus on women who have been involved in founding a tech company.
The judges wanted the 101 finalists – which they ended up pushing to 104 due to three businesses being co-founded by a female team – to be a celebration of the incredible women across the UK that are driving growth and innovation through tech.
We think they more than achieve that.
The age of entrants ranged from 17 to 83 and the list is in alphabetical order. If you want to comment on Twitter you can use the hashtag #FemaleFounders101.
Our entire top 101 will be featured on our website this week. Today we run through those with surnames from J to O.
Jessup, Beau, Special Name
17-year-old Beau Jessup helps Chinese parents pick British names for their babies based around characteristics they value. She started the company after a visit to China and realising parents were calling their children names like Gandalf because of a lack of access to Western culture. To date the company has named over 390,000 babies.
Jones, Gail, UKFast
Gail Jones co-founded managed hosting and cloud firm UKFast with her husband Lawrence in a back bedroom in 1999. She has been instrumental in the tech company reporting 16 continuous years of growth and was recently announced as one of the company’s two MD.
Jordan-Wrench, Harriet, Secret Sessions
Harriet Jordan-Wrench helps brands connect with consumers through Secret Sessions – a music platform dedicated to nurturing new and emerging artists with the help of brands who wish to contribute meaningfully to culture and the arts. She has worked with artists like Ed Sheeran and her content has gained over 20 million views.
Karia, Bindi, bindi ventures
‘Super connector’ Bindi Karia started boutique technology advisory Bindi Ventures in 2016. She also sits on the advisory board of eight start-ups (seven of which were founded by women), one venture debt fund, the digital board of one corporate and is sitting on two high-profile EU boards.
Kenyon, Anastasia, Kandi Cosmetics
25-year-old Anastasia Kenyon is founder of Palette Official (now Lifestyler) and Kandi Cosmetics. Over the last two years she has worked to develop her social media and booking platform for beauty professionals and beauty lovers. She is currently working through the acquisition of her first company, soon to become the CEO of a £4m valued entity.
Khan, Aneeqa, eporta
Aneeqa Khan founded eporta.com in 2015, which has since grown to be the leading online interior sourcing platform. She started out as the youngest ever employee at top Private Equity firm CVC, before joining Zoopla as strategy director and leading the company’s IPO for over £1 billion aged only 25.
Kingston, Samantha, Virtual Umbrella
Samantha Kingston is co-founder and client director at Virtual Umbrella, a marketing and PR agency specialising in virtual reality. At just 26 she is an advocate for women in tech and VR. In 2016 she also won the regional and national ‘New Business’ award at Venus Awards.
Koby, Bethany, Tech Will Save Us
Bethany Koby is the CEO and co-founder of learning toolkit start-up Tech Will Save Us. She has over 15 years of experience building brands and purpose-driven businesses like Skype and is one of Wired’s Designers that Matter.
Kohli, Nidhima, My Beauty Matches
Former Miss Commonwealth Asia Pacific Nidhima Kohli attended professional dance school and worked in investment banking for seven years. She then started the world’s first intelligent beauty matching engine, My Beauty Matches, in 2013, working and sleeping in her living room whilst renting out her bedroom to earn some money.
Kumar, Madhuban, Metafused
Metafused CEO Madhuban Kumar has helped raise over $1m in VC and angel funding for her company, which makes AI-based predictions for financial service and logistics. She has VC, entrepreneur and corporate experience in three continents and has worked with bleeding-edge technologies building innovative products, including the Barclays Oyster card.
Lakhani, Priya, CENTURY Tech
Priya Lakhani launched FMCG business Masala Masala in 2008 and CENTURY Tech, an AI learning platform for students and teachers, in 2015. She was also a founding entrepreneur of Gazelle Group Colleges and was awarded Business Entrepreneur of the Year by the Chancellor in 2009 and an OBE in 2014.
Lindsay, Sandy MBE, Tangerine/The Juice Academy
Manchester mainstay Sandy Lindsay was honoured in 2015 for services to business and young people. The same year also saw her named the IoD’s NW Director of the Year (SME). Sandy chairs award-winning communications consultancy, Tangerine, the social media apprenticeship, The Juice Academy, and skills groups for the NW IoD and the NWBLT.
Lloyd, Estelle, Azoomee
Estelle Lloyd is co-founder of Azoomee, the safest entertainment service for kids. The app’s online safety curriculum - Smart Safe Kind Online - has won Azoomee the support of the NSPCC, a BAFTA nomination and multiple industry awards. Estelle founded her first start up in 2006 which she sold to FTSE 250 Centaur Media plc in 2011.
Lucca, Roberta, BOLDR
Roberta Lucca’s passion for women in games and technology shines through in her virtual life coach BOLDR, and previous video game business Bossa Studios. Roberta is now a non-executive member of the team and a member of the Bossa board, and CEO at BOLDR. She also has multiple honours and awards to her name.
Ma, Angie, ASI Data Science
Angie Ma is a physicist by training and is now founder and COO of ASI Data Science, which empowers its clients to use AI to solve business problems. She also started Data Science Lab, one of the biggest communities of data scientists in Europe, with over 2600 active members.
Marenghi, Alexa, Codess
Inspired by her role as global diversity manager at Microsoft, Alexa Marenghi’s passion lies within gender diversity in the engineering industry. After experiencing the alienation of being the only female student in her Computer Science classes, Alexa decided to start Codess in March 2013 – a community for female coders, sponsored by Microsoft.
Margolis, Alexandra, Carwow
After graduating Alexandra Margolis co-founded impartial car review site Carbuzz, before moving into the car buying space and rebranding as Carwow. The business has generated over £2 billion of new car sales and £48 million total investment from VCs.
McVittie, Sarah & North, Donna, Dressipi
Having both previously founded other companies Sarah McVittie and Donna North took on fashion with their personalisation software for fashion retailers, Dressipi – a company which has doubled its revenue every year since it was founded in 2010.
Morris, Melissa, Lantum
Melissa Morris is a healthcare expert turned entrepreneur, having worked at Mckinsey in their healthcare practice and also for NHS London. Lantum helps healthcare organisations organise their clinical staff and find new ones to cover shifts. Melissa is also a mentor on NHS England's clinical Entrepreneurship Programme.
Munro, Hannah, ITAS Solutions
30-year-old Hannah Munro founded Welsh business management solutions business ITAS in 2013 – since then it has grown to a team of 18. ITAS is also one of the few tech firms to achieve over 50 per cent women in technical roles with no positive discrimination involved.
Murarka, Neha, smoogs.io
Software developer Neha Murarka is CEO and co-founder of smoogs.io, which is creating a ‘taximeter for online streaming’ – letting people pay in cryptocurrency to watch online content. Neha won a Digital Catapult pitch-off for smoogs.io and the company was selected in the BBC Worldwide Labs accelerator cohort for 2016.
Murria, Vin, Advanced Computer Software Group
One from BusinessCloud’s Rich List, Vin Murria’s career has included a combination of investment and operational experience. As founder and CEO of software and IT services company ACS she grew the company from zero to £220m revenue in seven years, making it the third largest UK-based software company at the time.
Nicci, Melinda, Baby2Body
Baby2Body is the go-to lifestyle platform for all things pregnancy, with an algorithm that personalises information to be sent to users. Its founder and CEO, ex-sports psychologist and fitness trainer Melinda Nicci, regularly appears on TV, conference panels and as a writer for top publications.
Noble, Suzanne, Frugl
Stretching from Warner Bros to Universal via Sony, Suzanne Noble’s PR career includes a collaboration with the White House for Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' campaign. She co-founded Frugl, an aggregator of daily deals and low cost events and co-founded online magazine The Advantages of Age to challenge the media narrative around getting older.
Osman Britton, Anisah, 23 Code Street
Anisah Osman Britton started a company at 19, learnt how to code and then became operations director of a corporate accelerator. Seeing the impact that diverse teams had on tech she started coding school for women 23 Code Street. For every paying student in the UK the company teaches digital skills to a woman from the slums of Mumbai.
Enjoy the full list plus extra content and interactive videos in the digital magazine below