Sarah Leary, co-founder of Nextdoor. While there are thousands of publicly traded companies, we were only able to find 32 companies that had women involved from the very beginning. (Credit: Fortune Conferences, Flickr)

Women are making powerful strides. In Washington, a record number of women are holding seats in Congress — as well as, of course, the vice presidency. In Hollywood, a record number of films are featuring women, both on camera and behind the scenes.

However, when it comes to publicly traded companies, the number of women leaders is still dismally low. Only 3 percent of companies that went public from 1996 to 2013 had women CEOs, according to sociologist Martin Kenney and economist Donald Patton of the University of California, Davis. Those who have studied the issue suggest everything from investor bias to a flawed market system is to blame.

A few years back, The Story Exchange set out to find how many public companies had women founders — whether that was an individual woman or an all-women team or a co-ed team. While we contacted several researchers and the largest U.S. stock exchanges — the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq — we either received no response, or contacts had no helpful information. Since then, at least one other media company, Business Insider, has also tried researching this. (Here’s its roundup.)  

Below is our list of public companies founded or co-founded by women entrepreneurs, which we update periodically. While there are thousands of publicly traded companies, we were only able to find 31 companies that had women involved from the very beginning. 

Please drop us a line at [email protected] if we have excluded any women-founded public companies.

1. Cisco Systems

Founded in 1987 by Sandy Lerner and her now ex-husband, Leonard Bosack. The multinational company makes routers and other networking hardware.
IPO Date: Feb. 16, 1990
Employees: 74,200
Location: San Jose, California
Revenue: $49.33 billion

2. Estee Lauder

Founded in 1946 by Estee Lauder and her husband, Joseph Lauder. The company specializes in cosmetics.
IPO Date: Nov. 25, 1995
Location: New York
Employees: 46,000
Revenue: $11.824 billion

3. BlackRock

Founded in 1988 by Sue Wagner. The investment management firm provides risk and fixed-income institutional asset management services.
IPO Date: 1999
Employees: 13,900
Location: New York
Revenue: $14.2 billion

[Related: Why an Ex-Fisherwoman Cares That Women Business Owners Are Ill-Prepared for Retirement]

4. Siebert Financial Inc.

Founded in 1967 by Muriel Siebert. The brokerage firm specializes in trading and investments.
IPO Date: Feb. 16, 1999
Employees: 80
Location: New York
Revenue: $25.7 million

5. Urban One

Founded in 1980 by Cathy Hughes. Urban One is a multi-media company that engages in radio broadcasting franchise business.
IPO Date: May. 6, 1999
Employees: 1,058
Location: Silver Springs, Maryland
Revenue: $434.6 million

6. Advaxis

Founded in 2002 by Dr. Yvonne Paterson. It is a biotechnology company dedicated to immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases.
IPO Date: Aug. 5, 2005
Employees: 58
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Revenue: $6.1 million

7. iRobot

Founded in 1990 by Helen Greiner along with fellow MIT students Colin Angle and Rodney Brooks, who were making robots for fun. The company aims to make technology easily accessible for the private sector.
IPO Date: Nov. 9,  2005
Employees: 528
Location: Bedford, Massachusetts
Revenue: $505 million

Pam Marrone Bio-Innovations
Pam Marrone of Bio-Innovations goes public. She’s among the few women who have.
8. Marrone Bio Innovation

Founded in 2006 by Pamela Marrone. The company aims to enhance the agricultural industry by producing natural biopesticides.
IPO Date: Aug. 2, 2013
Employees: 103
Location: Davis, California
Revenue: $18.6 million

[Related: Learn how Pam Marrone started up in this video and article]

9. Veracyte

Founded in 2006 by Bonnie Anderson. The company conducts molecular testing with an end goal of lowering the price of effective healthcare.
IPO Date: Oct. 30, 2013
Employees: 107
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $85.9 million

10. Glycomimetics

Founded in 2003 by John Magnani and Rachel King. Glycomimetics designs and develops natural molecule-therapy in order to fight cancer.
IPO Date: Jan. 1, 2014
Employees: 40
Location: Rockville, Maryland
Revenue: $20,070


Founded in 2006 by Sheila Lirio Marcelo. The company compiles care providers online and allows customers to search for babysitters, nannies and adult care providers.
IPO Date: Jan. 23, 2014
Employees: 429
Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
Revenue: $109.7 million

12. Store Capital

Founded in 2011 by Catherine Long, Christopher Volk, Michael Bennett and Michael Zieg. The company provides real estate mortgage and leasing services for single-tenant residential properties.
IPO Date: Nov. 14, 2014
Employees: 80
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Revenue: $449.6 million

13. Jaguar Animal Health

Founded in 2013 by Lisa A. Conte. Jaguar Animal Health provides natural prescription products designed to promote gastrointestinal health in both humans and animals.
IPO Date: May. 13, 2015
Employees: 37
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $4.4 million

14. Caladrius Biosciences

Found in 2006 by Catherine Vaczy. Caladrius Biosciences develops stem-cell therapies for the treatment of various diseases.
IPO Date: Jun. 8 2015
Employees: 22
Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Revenue: $27.4 million

15. Catabasis

Founded in 2008 by Jill C. Milne and Michael Jirousek. The pharmaceutical company researches drugs specifically designed to treat inflammation.
IPO Date: Jun. 25, 2015
Employees: 34
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Revenue: $500,000

16. Sunrun

Founded in 2007 by Lynn Jurich and Ed Fenster. The solar power company charges customers a monthly fee to cover the installation of solar panels and other equipment.
IPO Date: Aug. 4, 2015
Employees: 3380
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $205 million

[Related: 3 Solutions from Women to a Staggering Plastic Problem]

17. Amplify Snack Brands

Founded in 2010 by Pamela Netzky and Andrew Friedman. The company offers healthier, non-GMO alternatives to typical snack brands.
IPO Date: Sep. 4, 2015
Employees: 45
Location: Austin Texas
Revenue: $137.5 million

18. Editas Medicine

Founded in 2013 by Jennifer A. Doudna, along with Feng Zhang and J. Keith Joung. The genome-editing firm research and develops therapies for treating genetic based diseases.
IPO Date: Jun. 2, 2016
Employees: 112
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Revenue: $317.3 million

Katrina Lake, CEO of Stitch Fix. We did our best to assemble a list of companies founded or co-founded by women entrepreneurs that had initial public offerings. Stitch Fix was one of just 22. (Credit: Fortune Brainstorm TECH, Flickr)
Katrina Lake, CEO of StitchFix. We did our best to assemble a list of companies founded or co-founded by women entrepreneurs that had initial public offerings. StitchFix was one of just 22. (Credit: Fortune Brainstorm TECH, Flickr)
19. Myovant Sciences

Founded in 2016 by Lynn Seely. Myovant Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that develops therapeutics for endocrine disorders.
IPO Date: Oct. 27, 2016
Employees: 9
Location: London
Revenue: $2.5 million

20. Blackline

Founded in 2001 by current CEO Therese Tucker (who also stands out for her light pink hair). BlackLine Systems develops cloud-based software for accounting and finance departments.
IPO Date: Oct. 28, 2016
Employees: 740
Location: Woodland Hills, California
Revenue: $206.1 million

21. StitchFix

Founded in 2011 by Katrina Lake and Erin Morrison Flynn. The online styling company aims to help customers find clothing that fits their personal style and then mails it directly to their front door.
IPO Date: Nov. 2017
Employees: 5,500
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $318.3 million

[Related: Building a Fashion Business Shaped by Faith and Community]

22. Eventbrite

Founded in 2006 by Julia Hartz, along with Kevin Hartz and Renaud Visage. Eventbrite serves as a means to organize local events, to sell/ buy event tickets, and to RSVP.
IPO Date: Sep. 20, 2018
Employees: 983
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $294.5 million

23. Twist Bioscience

Emily Leproust and Bill Banyai founded the synthetic DNA manufacturer in 2013. 
IPO Date: October 30, 2018
Employees: 400
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $54.2 million

24. Sunrun

Sunrun is a solar energy company that was co-founded in 2007 by Lynn Jurich, Ed Fenster, and Nat Kreamer.
IPO Date: August 5, 2015
Employees: 4,800
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $182.2 million

25. Cortexyme

In 2012, Casey Lynch co-founded this biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing treatments for degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
IPO Date: May 8, 2019
Employees: 23
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $167 million

26. The RealReal

Founder Julia Wainright launched the luxury consignment shop in 2011.
IPO Date: June 28, 2019
Employees: 1,286
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $293.2 million

27. Annovis Bio

This company’s focus is drug development to treat neurological diseases such as dementia. Maria L. Maccecchini founded the company in 2008.
IPO Date: January 29, 2020
Employees: 2
Location: Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Revenue: $676,000

28. Ayala Pharmaceuticals

Roni Mamluk founded the company, which makes therapies for rare genetic cancers, in 2017.
IPO Date: May 8, 2020
Employees: 29
Location: Israel
Revenue: $2.3 million

29. Athira Pharma

Like Annovis Bio, this company also develops treatments for neurological diseases. Leen Kawas founded the company in 2011.
IPO Date: September 18, 2020
Employees: 20
Location: Seattle
Revenue: $6 million

Dating app Bumble, founded by woman entrepreneur and former tech executive Whitney Wolfe Herd, is reportedly preparing an initial public offering for early next year. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Dating app Bumble, founded by woman entrepreneur and former tech executive Whitney Wolfe Herd, is reportedly preparing an initial public offering for early next year. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
30. Amesite

Ann Marie Sastry founded her artificial intelligence software company in 2017.
IPO Date: September 25, 2020
Employees: 9
Location: Detroit
Revenue: $59,700

31. Bumble

This dating app, launched by Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014,  reports over 40 million monthly users. (Read more about Bumble’s IPO here.)
IPO Date: February 11, 2021
Employees: 70
Location: Austin, Texas
Revenue: $417 million

32. Nextdoor

The social networking app for neighbors had a woman, Sarah Leary, on its founding team. It is also presently run by a woman: CEO Sarah Friar.

IPO Date: November 8, 2021
Employees: 450
Location: San Francisco
Revenue: $45.8 million

Candice Helfand-Rogers contributed to this article.

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