10 Women Run Startups You Should Know

Folks, there are a lot of really good businesses out there, and my team and I want to highlight 10 women run startups that you should really know about. These startups are doing great work and really getting the jobs done in their arenas. We took a little bit from each org’s website to capture what they’re doing in their own words. Make sure to visit their sites, support ’em, and follow ’em on Twitter. These women are really changing the world.


Infographic by Women Who Tech
Infographic by Women Who Tech
  1. CyPhy Works: Helen Grenier, CEO

    (Please note that we used Helen Grenier’s Twitter account because CyPhy Works’s doesn’t appear to have an account.)

    CyPhy Works research starts with people -They look to the places where people need empowering technology to reach beyond what they currently can. Then they turn their attention to scouring the market landscape and literature to see what, if any, un-utilized research can be leveraged to enable the people in need. Once they fully understand what people need, and what people have done to address that need, they focus their attention in their labs where their people develop transformational technologies that make it possible for people in need to achieve their goals more efficiently and more effectively than the status quo would allow.

  2. DailyWorth: Amanda Steinberg, Founder & CEO

    DailyWorth says, “We’re closing the income gap by enabling women to reach their maximum earning potential.We’re closing the wealth gap by empowering women to invest and build wealth to fund the lives they want.We’re helping women get the most value for their money, whether they’re purchasing products that enrich their lives, supporting causes they care about or investing in companies they believe in.We publish exclusive, expert content daily to more than one million female financial decision makers. Explore the website and sign up to get our tips and tools delivered daily to your inbox.”
  3.  Plum Alley: Deborah Jackson, Founder & CEO

    “I founded Plum Alley for women to create products, build companies and enhance their esteem and wealth. We offer 3 things: a way for women to raise money for projects, hire experts to help them, and provide a way to sell their products with an emphasis on their story.”
  4. ThinkUp: Gina Trapani, Co-Founder

    ThinkUp is a brand new app that connects your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social networking accounts and tells you what matters about the time you spent there. ThinkUp can help you have more fun with friends, connect better with your network, and even learn a little bit about yourself. ThinkUp is also our new company, focused on the idea that people are looking for tech companies they can trust. We’re putting our users and community first, because we think that’s the best way to create a better web for everyone.
  5. LightSail Energy: Danielle Fong, Co Founder & Chief Scientist

    (Please note that we used Danielle Fong’s Twitter account because LightSail’s doesn’t appear to be in use.)

    LightSail aims to produce the world’s cleanest and most economical energy storage systems. Compressing air creates heat energy. Until now, this was wasted, drastically reducing efficiency.LightSail isdeveloping breakthrough, high efficiency energy storage systems using compressed air. Our key insight: rapidly capturing the heat of compression with a water spray.

  6. Tech Cocktail: Jen Consalvo, COO

    Tech Cocktail is a media company and events organization for startups, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts. Since 2006, its goal has been to amplify local tech communities and give entrepreneurs a place to get informed, get connected, and get inspired. Tech Cocktail dedicates itself to covering news, how-to’s, up-and-coming startups, and industry trends online, and hosting events in over 20 cities in the US and abroad.
  7. uBeam: Meredith Perry, Founder

    In 2012, Meredith Perry took on $750k in seed funding to build out uBeam’s technology for wirelessly charging electronic devices. uBeam transmits power over the air to charge electronic gadgets wirelessly. It’s like Wi-Fi for energy.
  8. Angaza Design, Inc: Lesley Marincola, Founder & CEO

    Globally, more than 1.2 billion people live outside the reach of an electricity grid. Consumers in this off-grid world spend hundreds of dollars each year to light their homes and power small electronics, and they do so using expensive sources of energy such as kerosene lanterns and disposable batteries. Modern options such as photovoltaic solar cost far less when amortized over time, but the comparatively high upfront price of these energy alternatives has kept them out of this enormous market.The Angaza Pay-As-You-Go platform enables distributors and manufacturers of energy products to offer pricing that reaches 1.2 billion consumers in the off-grid world.
  9. InVenture: Shivani Siroya, Founder & CEO

    The Problem? There are almost 400 million low-income and unbanked individuals that cannot access basic financial services due to a lack of credit scores.

    InVenture’s Approach? InVenture facilitates financial access for low-income individuals and the unbanked by creating the world’s first credit scoring service enabled by their SMS accounting tool, InSight.

    Their Impact? InVenture creates a fair market by taking the data collected through InSight and shares this information with lending institutions to help individuals qualify for and access affordable financial services tailored to their needs.

  10. Embrace Innovations: Jane Chen, Co Founder & Chief Business Officer

    // Embrace is a healthcare tech company that provides a line of innovative, affordable, and high quality medical devices for emerging markets. Their vision is to empower the disadvantaged to improve their lives through disruptive technologies.


Who would you add to this list? My team and I would love to hear about some other great women owned startups.

Trustworthy journalism in a fact-checking-free world

Getting real about trustworthy journalism

Okay, I really just want news I can trust.

Couple years ago, I blurted out that “the press should be the immune system of democracy.”

Personally, I really don’t like being lied to, but my deal here is that our social contract with the news business is that they hold the powerful to account.

In return, we buy the products of news outlets, and give news professionals certain protections, like the US First Amendment and shield laws.

That gives the press a lot of power, which means that the news industry itself needs to be accountable. That’s a lot easier said than done, and it’s only getting harder to do.

However, if a journalist or news outlet isn’t trustworthy, is it worth buying? Is it good for the country?

Well, I’m not in the news business, I’m an outsider, but over years I’ve spent a lot of time with people in the business, and I’ve gotten glimpses as to how the sausage is made. That means I gotta respect boundaries, and not tell people how to do their job.

That job gets more and more challenging, and even good news orgs can have lapses. I’m good with that, if they fix those lapses and hold themselves otherwise accountable, in good faith. Sure, there’re legal consequences, but the bottom line is driven by trustworthy actions.

The solution involves:

Turns out that what we have now are a lot of ethics codes and policies, but very little accountability.

To make sense of this, here’s the kind of lapse I’m talking about, none of which seems to have been addressed.

1. NBC selectively edited a video and badly misrepresented a guy in a real ugly case. Not clear if they’ve come clean about it yet.

Suggestion: news outlets should make the full recording available, perhaps via a discreet rapid-response accountability team.

2. Sometimes a news outlet might broadcast a public figure lying, even when they know it’s a lie. This is what Jon Stewart calls the “CNN leaves it there” problem.

Suggestion: Reporters are smart, if they know they’re being lied to, don’t broadcast it. If they smell a lie but not sure, do a good faith fact-check.

3. Sometimes a news outlet does fact-checking and “forgets” to follow through. This has happened to me, but more importantly, happened to Jimmy Wales very recently, in the NY Times:

“It is very odd and filled with a lot of basic factual errors. For example, it says that Wikipedia was run out of a strip mall at one point – that’s just completely false and a very weird thing to have said, particularly since I explained to the fact checker that it was wrong!”

Suggestion: do fact-checking, and then, correct any falsehoods.

4. Sometimes multiple news outlets will report first, without fact-checking, doing a lot of damage. This was particularly true in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon attack.

Suggestion: confirm facts before publication.

5. Sometimes, news outlets don’t do their research, get a story badly wrong, and really hurts the country. This is very true regarding the recent IRS scandal, the real story is more about Congressional failure and that the IRS isn’t targeting enough possibly bogus charities.

Suggestion: use actual fact-checked research. Using other news reports as sources is not reliable. Reporting should be transparent about the political motivations of the people pushing the story. Specifically, journalists need to make sure they spend as much “good faith” time in exploring agendas as they do in seeking sources and exploring “the facts” they are made privy to.If so, the story would be perceived differently, perhaps accurately.

The news business is under considerable pressure, competing for a shrinking audience, often having to come up with many new stories per day. Sometimes the facts just can’t be checked, which is a big reason I keep talking about “good faith.”

My personal bias is that the news industry should create their own accountability tools. I don’t think they’ll be perfect, just looking for good faith action.

However, right now people are stirring the pot, constructively, suggesting that the government intervene.

Specifically, people are suggesting that “journalists” should have US First Amendment and shield law protections. Non-professionals, specifically “bloggers,” might be denied those protections.

I think that way of doing it is wrong, and that the issue isn’t “journalist vs. blogger” but whether or not the reporter and news outlet are accountable. Here, “accountable” means “acting in good faith to be trustworthy” which means having an ethics code and honestly trying hard to follow that code.

Does a journalist or news outlet without accountability have legal protections?

You can find a great summary by Mathew Ingram, which incorporates a lot of good work from Jillian York, Jeff Jarvis, David Weinberger, and others.

However, any news outlet that wants to succeed must be trustworthy, that is, accountable. I feel that’s required for their survival, and for national survival.

Perhaps people in news can suggest how they can get to actual accountability?

How about news we can trust?

Here’s the deal, folks – recently, the Poynter Institute held a conference regarding the restoration of journalistic ethics. They’re a real big deal in professional journalism, so I helped ’em, modestly, some funding, significant social media stuff.

Me, I just want news I can trust.

Sure, I’m not in the news industry, and have no idea how to fix the problem. However, maybe we can get a good start regarding what might be the worst of ethical abuses.

Right now, “objectivity” in news means that sometimes, to pretend objectivity, a news org will bring on two sides of a story. They’ll be fully aware that one participant will lie to the public. (I’m not talking about gray areas; there’re lots of black-and-white clear situations.)

Similarly, news orgs will present a speaker who will lie to the public, and the interviewer will say something about “leaving it there” instead of challenging the speaker. This is what Jon Stewart calls the “CNN leaves it there” problem.

Such efforts are clearly deceptive, but not (yet) called out in the Society of Professional Journalists ethics code as bad behavior.

One step toward trustworthy news would be to declare that kind of thing unethical.

Next step would be for people in the public, people who don’t want to be lied to any more, to bring light to such situations.

Might this help? Hard to say, it’s sure no fix, but maybe a good start?

Poynter conf on journalist ethics: let’s jump the gun

Okay, I’ve been saying that the “press is the immune system of democracy” for a coupla years now.

A lot of this is motivated by conversations with people in media; they’d like to restore trustworthy behavior to news media, not in just a few pockets of it. I remind ’em that I’m not in the business, but I can help, maybe just a little.

Well, the Poynter Institute is a really big deal regarding trustworthy journalism, and they’ll be running a conference on journalistic ethics in NYC this Autumn.  They haven’t announced the date, but I figure this is a big issue, and I’ll do what I can to make it really big, beyond merely funding it.

So, I’ll be posting some of the big issues in journalistic trust and ethics suggested in years of talking with people in the business, using hashtag #PoynterJournoEthics.

For example, I’ve wondered what’s the deal when you can see that a reporter knows when he’s being lied to, but says that he has to “leave it there” and throw it back to the anchor.  That reinforces the lie, not so good.  One of the country’s most trustworthy journalists, Jon Stewart, calls it the “CNN leaves it there” problem, and speaks way smarter about it than me.

more to come…

Reliable Factchecking is Key

Folks, I stumbled across a great editorial this past weekend in a North Carolina newspaper, Sun Journal. The article connects the survey we just conducted with factchecking remarkably well:

First they report on survey finds, but then use them to rightfully brag on their own strict policies regarding the accuracy of their coverage.

They say,

We’re not popping any buttons over the survey results — a Gallup poll last fall reported 55 percent of Americans distrust the media generally — but we do take them as an endorsement of some standard practices at this newspaper, all of which are designed to ensure accuracy, even at the cost of not being first.

We do not report information that we cannot confirm through reliable sources — for instance, from a police department spokesman or an official document, if not from an eyewitness — and we attribute that information by name, not to an unnamed source, in virtually all cases. We do not usually report second-hand news — that is, news that originates with a media outlet not associated with the Sun Journal — and if we do, we identify the source, a practice not always followed by our cousins in the electronic media.

The zooming popularity of social media and its potential for newspapers as a distribution platform put pressure on those practices only if reporters and editors subordinate our primary goal of getting it right. That won’t happen here. We’re excited about possibilities offered by social media for getting and distributing the news and plan to use those tools fully to make our reporting more timely, more accessible and, yes, to beat the competition to the punch. But when speed conflicts with accuracy, we’re not afraid to apply the brakes.

I appreciate when people can use both social media and factchecking effectively. It’s so important to verify your sources properly and it’s a topic I continue to explore. Recently I spoke at the NextGen: Charity event to explore this topic further. Reliable factchecking will go a long way in restoring readers’ trust in newspapers. With only 22% of respondents in our survey finding newspapers “very credible” I think improved factchecking is something newspapers and publishers should think about making a higher priority if they ever want to win back our wholehearted trust.

The Thank You Economy (a book recommendation)

Gary.book Sometimes we forget that we really do live in civil society, where people generally get along, and that's to everyone's benefit. In particular, people use the Net and social media for mutual benefit in a big way, something I've observed every day for sixteen years doing customer service online. (Sometimes we need a reminder after dealing with the sensationalism of people who profit by trying to scare us.)

The Thank You Economy is about how the reality of our online lives reflects everyday values, like treating people like you want to be treated. It discusses how this applies to online business, how social media facilitates people geting along, and how that's really good for business. It provides real life success stories where people use social media for business, where the usual result is that everyone wins.

The Thank You Economy shows us the evidence that "business as usual" is changing in lots of ways, like showing that throwing money into advertising isn't as effective as just engaging people genuinely.

Millenials reimagine America’s future

6a00d834fd816853ef0148c82defd0970c-320wi Okay, it's time for young Americans, millenials, to figure out what their version of the American Dream is, and to figure out how to get there.

The folks at the Roosevelt Campus Network are getting maybe 8000 young citizens to get involved with www.think2040.org to reimagine America’s future and take action to realize that vision in their local communities:

Already, Roosevelt Campus Network has engaged over 2,000 young people in these conversations online and in person.

This interactive web space allows young people to match their values and priorities to ongoing
student-led local projects that are moving America toward a grand vision.

Additionally, Millennials are encouraged to consider how to translate their visions for America
into a concrete Federal budget, through the Budget Hero game. Online grassroots engagement of this type is unprecedented on this scale.

Donorschoose: HP Netbook to Connect and Create With Aussie E-Pals

112_1970 (1) Okay, the deal with DonorsChoose.org is that you can give a hand to kids and teachers that they sometimes really need. (This is part of an ongoing thing: 186 projects supported 9,287 students reached.)

It let me help Mrs. Coats’ second-grade class at Clay Lamberton Elementary in Berlin, Wisconsin set up a netbook center.  Now they’re writing to schoolkids in Australia, reading stories and learning math
online. Here's what she says…

My second graders in Wisconsin have been corresponding with a class in South Australia since last fall.  They wrote letters and I would usually type them because they did not have enough time during their computer lab time to type a letter.  In January I decided to try and get some computers for our classroom through Donorschoose.org, so my students would be able to use them throughout the day.  If I could get enough small computers, I would be able to create a center for my students.  We are the luckiest class ever!  HP came through with a match offer on Donorschoose in January for teachers who ordered HP products, and Craig Newmark answered my Twitter request for help funding a netbook center.  We now have six netbooks and I have set up the netbook center in the front of our classroom.  The students are using the netbooks for many subjects.  They have typed letters to their e-pals, parents and even to some very famous people. Bookflix and Tumblebooks are two of their favorite sites to listen and read storybooks.  Coolmath4kids.com is their favorite math site.  I have tiny notebooks next to each computer with the URLs of their favorite websites.  They are all quickly becoming computer gurus! 

  Our netbooks have media slots, so my next project involves the camera that Craig helped fund for my students.  I plan on teaching them how to use it and then they will take all kinds of photos to share with their friends in Australia.  Hopefully, I will be able to show them how to do some basic editing and then create slideshows to share with others.  None of this would have been possible without Craig's help.  My class and I are so grateful and we cannot thank him enough for his generosity!  Hopefully, the photo conveys just how happy my students are with their new netbook center.

112_1907 (1)

The World Wide Web Foundation

Logo_wf Hey, there are a lot of good groups advancing the cause of the open net, and also extending that to people who need a break. One particularly effective group is the World Wide Web Foundation, and it has notable credentials. One of the principals is Tim Berners-Lee, who pretty much invented the Web.

In the more nerdly circles he champions the "semantic web". Oversimplified, to me that means that stuff on the web has sophisticated tags that says what an item is and how it can related to other stuff. Programs can then connect the dots to get real info that's too hard to figure out currently.

They're doing a lot more, including:

first assessments of implementing open government data programs in Chile and Ghana


mobile entrepreneur training program in Ghana

with more to come!


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