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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

15 Must-Watch Female-Run Start-ups

From tech to energy to fashion to education, there’s a lot of amazing stuff going on right now in the start-up world—and a lot of it is headed up by women. So we took a look at the start-up scene (and your recommendations!) to find some of the coolest companies and entrepreneurs out there right now.

And here's what we found: 15 early-stage companies we bet you'll be hearing a lot about in the upcoming months and years. If you've ever thought about running your own company, or just love to know what's happening in the start-up world, get seriously inspired by these up-and-coming companies and the women who lead them.

1. InstaEDU

Alison Johnston, Co-Founder & CEO

Whether it's a question on tonight's homework or long-term test prep, students can get all the help they need (affordably) via InstaEDU. The site connects students with teachers and tutors around the world for on-demand or scheduled lessons via video chat.

2. Have to Have

Kimberly Skelton and Carla Holtze, Co-Founders

Have to Have lets you collect all the fashion finds you love from across the web in one place, then alerts you when they go on sale. Your inbox and your wallet will thank you.

3. LearnUp

Alexis Ringwald, Co-founder & CEO

After researching the U.S. jobs and unemployment crisis, Alexis Ringwald realized that there's a big gap in the skill sets employers want and employees have. So she created LearnUp, a job training site that lets you learn the skills employers need before you apply.

4. Artsicle

Alex Tryon, Co-founder & CEO

Art that's accessible to everyone: Artsicle allows you to "rent" art to see what you like before making an expensive and lifelong commitment. The site also works with up-and-coming artists to help you discover the talent of tomorrow.  


5. Loverly

Kellee Khalil, Founder & CEO

Named one of the top wedding trends to watch by Huffington Post, Loverly is like a Pinterest for weddings. Browse thousands upon thousands of images by color, category, or "your style," then save to inspiration boards.

6. Reclip.It

Cheryl Yeoh, Founder & CEO

Tired of getting umpteen daily deal emails in your inbox? Reclip.It lets you follow hundreds of frugal bloggers, deal sites, and brands and keep them all in one place by “reclipping” your favorite deals.

7. Rentenna

Alicia Schwartz, Co-Founder

Anyone moving to a major city feels the same apartment searching pain: Where should you live? What neighborhoods are OK? Will the landlord or apartment suck? Rentenna researches all of these details and compiles them into a "score," letting you quickly see the best places in a city to live.

8. Tastemaker

Esther ParkCo-Founder

Want to update a room in your place, but can't afford your own decorator? Tastemaker lets you shop your design challenge around to its team of decorators, pick one, and then receive a design box in the mail with everything you need to update your space.

9. Designer Social

Francine Ballard, Founder & CEO

Started by a former editor at Lucky and InStyle, Designer Social is changing the way women swap, sell, and buy luxury goods. The site lets you consign your pre-owned designer goods for free, if you and use the proceeds to buy from its partner brands.

10. CakeHealth

Rebecca Woodcock, Founder and CEO

Medical bills might be the worst kind of all to deal with—until now. CakeHealth is like for health, bringing all your healthcare plans, providers, and payments together in one easy place.

11. Referly

Danielle Morrill, Co-founder & CEO

Are you the go-to source when your friends need recommendations for clothes, books, or electronics? You can make money from it! Referly tracks the links you share with others, then rewards you when someone from your network makes a purchase.

12. TurboVote

Kathryn Peters,  Co-founder & COO

Are you excited about voting, but less excited about standing in long lines at your local polling place? TurboVote makes the voting process as easy Netflix. The site keeps track of all of the voting dates and deadlines in your area and mails you the ballots and forms you need when it's voting time.


Marci Harris and Rachna Choudhry, Co-founders

POPVOX, coined a "Legislative LinkedIn," makes it easy for you to find issues that you care about, share your feedback with lawmakers, and even mount a significant legislative campaign.

14. Quincy 

Alex Nelson and Christina Wallace, Co-founders

Work wear that actually fits: Quincy's line of blazers, dresses, skirts, and more are sized by the aspects of a woman's body that vary the most from woman to woman, not just a number. Launched earlier this year, Quincy has already been featured everywhere from The Wall Street Journal to Women’s Wear Daily.

15. Buyosphere

Tara Hunt and Cassandra Girard, Co-founders

Buyosphere is still in private beta, but we can't wait to see it launch. Like the Quora for shopping, Buyosphere leverages the social web to provide advice on all the products you buy.

Want more? Check out our list of must-watch social enterprises for women shaping the start-up scene and making a difference in the world, coming soon!