Meet the inspiring women behind these 6 successful start-ups

The new disruptors

A new generation of successful female entrepreneurs is shaking up the start-up world.


Tracy Young

Tracy YoungYoung co-created PlanGrid, the construction industry app that allows field teams to work with blueprints in real-time via the cloud. As a newbie engineer in San Francisco, Young was shocked at the industry’s reliance on paper blueprints and the fact that construction work was often done using outdated plans.

With four co-founders and the help of incubator Y Combinator, in 2011 she established a company that’s now been used on more than 450,000 construction projects and has recorded triple-digit growth in the past 13 quarters.

The Muse

Alex Cavoulacos, Kathryn Minshew snd Melissa McCreery

Alex Cavoulacos, Kathryn Minshew snd Melissa McCreeryThese three ex-McKinsey consultants, set up New York-based career advice site The Muse in 2012. Soon after, they introduced job opportunities, skill-building courses and coaching reviews, as well as videos that show what it’s like to work at different companies.

Popular with millennials, The Muse multiplied its revenue by five times in 2015, and this year landed US$16 million in series B funding, bringing total funding to US$28.7 million.

"Confidence is the biggest issue for entrepreneurial women – you need to keep it compelling; people have to buy it." Whitney Johnson


Dr Catriona Wallace

Dr Catriona WallaceA globally recognised customer experience expert and serial entrepreneur, Wallace started her guided selling software-as-a-service fintech Flamingo in 2013 with A$250,000 seed capital. The software, which integrates with existing CRM tools, really took off – a canny tactic by Wallace to boost business was offering the software free to other start-ups.

Now she has moved to set up a New York office and is the first of Springboard Australia’s alumni to go public. Flamingo is currently being acquired by ASX-listed Cre8tek for a back door listing, but Wallace will still be calling the shots.


Alison Hardacre

Alison HardacreHardacre and Lachlan Wheeler, both former ANZ bank employees, knew the health industry was ripe for disruption in 2012 when they launched HealthKit, cloud-based software that integrates patient records, invoices, diary bookings, financial reports and Medicare claims for practitioners, as well as allowing patients to search for doctors and specialists.

Using seed funding to grow the business, the pair landed A$1.6 million from an unnamed private investor earlier this year and are now expanding into the UK, Europe and Asia. First stop, Indonesia.

Professional development: CPA Q&A. Access a handpicked selection of resources each month and complete a short monthly assessment to earn CPD hours. Exclusively available to CPA Australia members.

CyPhy Works

Helen Greiner

Helen GreinerInspired by Star Wars’ R2D2, Greiner co-founded US company iRobot in 1990 to make practical robots for the home. Its greatest hit is the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, which turned the NASDAQ-listed company into a market leader.

Three years after the float in 2008 – and with a sharp eye on the drone market – Greiner started all over again with “transformative technology” company CyPhy Works. The Boston-based firm has now moved out of research mode and has released three drone products to market.

Unruly Media

Sarah Wood

Sarah WoodLast year, when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp made them a US$176 million offer they couldn’t refuse, Unruly Media co-founders Wood, Scott Button and Matt Cooke agreed to stay. Co-CEO Wood started Unruly to avoid her previous long work commute from home to Sussex University, where she lectured in American Studies. Today, the company – which specialises in helping video ads go viral – has 200 staff in 15 countries.

Wood has now launched City Unrulyversity, a free pop-up university with a mission to inspire the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.

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September 2016
September 2016

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