Startups / Women in tech

12 women founders in Brooklyn you should know

Some of the most exciting startups in the borough are led by women. Here's who's on our radar.

Allison Kopf speaking at Tech Crunch Disrupt in 2015. (Image from YouTube)

It’s no surprise that women are doing impressive work in the Brooklyn tech community. From health-tech to wireless communications, women founders in the borough are creating innovative products and bringing them to market. Three of the founders below were featured on our 2017 realLIST of Brooklyn’s most promising startups.

Here’s a list of women founders who’ve started companies we find compelling and who we’ve covered over the last few years. Here they are:

Allison Kopf, Agrilyst

Allison Kopf speaking at Tech Crunch Disrupt in 2015.

Allison Kopf speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in 2015. (Image via YouTube)

Kopf is the founder of Agrilyst, which made a splash last year at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC, where Kopf gave the keynote address and announced she’d received $1 million in seed funding, led by Brooklyn’s own Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Agrilyst is a software platform for farmers, especially indoor farmers, to keep track of their crops and maximize efficiency. Kopf also won Technical.ly Brooklyn’s top entrepreneur award at this year’s Brooklyn Innovation Awards.

Daniela Perdomo, goTenna

goTenna founder Daniela Perdomo speaking at the New York Times' Cities of Tomorrow event.

goTenna founder Daniela Perdomo speaking at the New York Times’ Cities of Tomorrow event. (Image via YouTube)

The founder and CEO of goTenna, Perdomo has been a staple of the Brooklyn tech scene since the company’s launch in 2012. Her company’s products are tiny, portable communications towers that turn your cellphone into a walkie-talkie, one that can communicate to anyone else with the device in range.

Unlike handheld radios, though, the goTenna can either shout to all other users in range or communicate directly with specific users. So when you’re out of WiFi and too far from cell reception you can still use your phone to be in contact with others using goTenna. Since the company’s founding, Perdomo has led her startup through three fundraising rounds, for a total of more than $16 million in investment, also including from Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, among others.

Aneri Shah and Zuley Clarke, Sightworthy

Humblee wins the Make It In BK contest in June 2016. From left: Tucker Reed, Andre Dua, unknown child, Aneri Shah, Zuley Clark, Bre Pettus, Peter Boyce and Justin Hendrix.

Humblee wins the Make It In BK contest in June 2016. From left: Tucker Reed, Andre Dua, unknown child, Aneri Shah, Zuley Clark, Bre Pettus, Peter Boyce and Justin Hendrix. (Courtesy photo)

Shah and Clarke founded the company Sightworthy, formerly known as Humblee. Sightworthy is a platform where brands can shop for video content creators and editors for marketing and branding videos. Clarke and Shah won the Make It In BK pitch competition last year, getting $5,000 when they were just starting off. More recently, they were accepted into the Snap Inc and R/GA venture accelerator for startups focusing on video content. We listed the Sightworthy as one of the top 20 Brooklyn startups in our 2017 realLIST (when it was still Humblee).

Katelyn Gleason, Eligible

Gleason is the founder of Greenpoint-based healthcare startup Eligible, which seeks to digitize and streamline the insurance process, and save both healthcare users and insurers lots of money. Gleason, who went through Y Combinator in 2012, has raised an unheard of $25 million dollars from a syndicate of angel investors. Plenty of high-powered people have taken note, including Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator. “I’m not exaggerating when I say Katelyn is a role model for me,” Graham tweeted just this week.

Isis Shiffer, Spitfire Industry

Isis Shiffer demonstrates her EcoHelmet.

Isis Shiffer demonstrates her EcoHelmet. (Courtesy image)

Shiffer is the inventor of the EcoHelmet, a reinforced paper helmet that protects your noggin as well as the current plastic and styrofoam ones do. What makes it different is that the EcoHelmet is both recyclable, and a fraction of the cost of the helmets on the market today. We were the first publication to cover Shiffer’s invention last summer, before it was totally off the ground. Since then its been covered by CNN, WIRED, NBC News, the New York Times, and many others. Last November, Shiffer won the James Dyson Award for engineering. You know, the vacuum guy.

Emily Doubilet and Jessica Holsey, Susty Party

Emily Doubilet (left) and Jessica Holsey (right)

Emily Doubilet (left) and Jessica Holsey (right). (Courtesy photo)

Greenpoint-based Susty Party makes compostable and sustainable party supplies. The company has been growing steadily for years, and raised $500,000 at a $6+ million valuation after appearing on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank and turning down offers from the sharks. On Susty Party’s site, you can buy picnic table–style napkins made out of recycled paper, or biodegradeable and fashionable square plates made from sugar cane.

Nisha Garigarn, Croissant

Garigarn’s company, Croissant, allows users to work out of just about any coworking space they want to. With an interface that looks a little bit like Foursquare, users can browse coworking spaces by location and check out photos and tips at each one, as well as the number of available desks. When you arrive at one, you check in on your phone. When you leave, you check out. We covered Garigarn and her three cofounders two years ago when the idea was just taking off. Since then, the company has expanded tremendously, even getting feature story in GQ magazine earlier this month.

Ali Kriegsman and Alana Branston, Bulletin

Ali Kriegsman (left) and Alana Branston (right), cofounders of Bulletin.

Ali Kriegsman (left) and Alana Branston (right), cofounders of Bulletin. (Courtesy photo)

Bulletin is a really neat idea. With stores in prime Williamsburg and Soho, the company rents out square footage and shelf space to high-end ecommerce brands that are ostensibly online-only. The companies can rent anything from a single shelf  to a corner of the store on a month-to-month basis. It’s like coworking for retail companies. Branston and Kriegsman met at Contently, a content marketing startup based in SoHo. They started Bulletin as an online, shoppable magazine and moved into creating weekend pop-up markets before moving to full-fledge boutique-style stores. The company’s investors are also Brooklyn-based: Bulletin’s lead investor is Notation Capital.

Melanie Lavelle, Benefit Kitchen

Benefit Kitchen cofounders Melanie Lovelle and Dan Beeby.

Benefit Kitchen cofounders Melanie Lovelle and Dan Beeby. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

Melanie Lavelle is the cofounder of Benefit Kitchen, an app that helps people learn what public benefits they’re eligible for and helps them to take advantage of them. Users can input to the app their location, income, and other factors and the app directs them to what programs they fit into based on that criteria. Lavelle is based out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard incubator and workspace 1776. She and cofounder Dan Beeby won Big Apps 2015, and recently launched a pilot program in Bedford-Stuyvesant to tailor the offerings on the app to include assistance from organizations and business for people in the neighborhood.

Companies: Agrilyst / Susty Party
Series: Brooklyn

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