Sarah Leary, co-founder of Nextdoor. While there are thousands of publicly traded companies, we were only able to find 40 of them that had women involved from the start. (Credit: Fortune Conferences, Flickr)

Women are making powerful strides in all industries and sectors – from sports and entertainment, to international judiciary systems – despite living and working in a world rife with “alarming” bias against them. (Those are the United Nations’ words, not ours.)

However, in the realm of publicly traded companies, women leaders remain scant. As of February, just 41 companies on the S&P 500 had women CEOs – a paltry 8%. Pulling out from that list, only 3% of companies that went public between 1996 to 2013 had women CEOs, according to sociologist Martin Kenney and economist Donald Patton of the University of California, Davis. When it comes to explaining the dearth of representation, experts point to culprits ranging from investor bias to a generally flawed market system.

Several years ago, The Story Exchange set out to find out precisely how many public companies had women founders — be they solopreneurs or members of a mixed co-founding team. While we contacted several researchers and the largest U.S. stock exchanges to that aim — the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq — those who did respond (and several did not) were unable to assist. Since then, at least one other media company, Business Insider, has also tried researching the matter. (Here’s its roundup.)  

So, we created our own list. Below, you’ll find our running tally of public companies founded or co-founded by women entrepreneurs, as well as information about their market debuts and the work that they do. While there are thousands of publicly traded companies worldwide, we have only found 40 thus far 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. Dispatch Management Services (no longer listed)

Founded in 1994 by Linda Jenkinson and Greg Kidd, Dispatch Management Services was a publicly traded company that handled point-to-point delivery services in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. One of its subsidiaries, CitySprint, still operates in all four countries.
IPO Date: February 1, 1998
Employees: 3,200
Location: New York City
Last Reported Revenue: $150 million

4. 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]

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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.
9. 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]

10. 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

11. 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

13. 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

14. 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

15. 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

16. 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

17. 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]

18. 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

19. 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)
20. 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

21. 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

22. 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]

23. 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

24. 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

25. 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

26. 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

27. 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

28. 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

29. 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

30. 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

31. Amesite

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

32. 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

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)
33. Honest Company

Actress Jessica Alba founded this beauty, home and baby product seller in 2011. It now serves the United States, Canada and parts of Europe.
IPO Date: May 4, 2021
Employees: 187
Location: Playa Vista, California
Revenue: $318.6 million

34. FIGS

This company, which makes and sells medical apparel, was co-founded by Heather Hasson and Trina Spear in 2013.
IPO Date: May 27, 2021
Employees: 100
Location: Los Angeles
Revenue: $263 million

35. 23andMe

Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey and and Paul Cusenza co-founded this biotech firm, which offers direct-to-consumer genetic testing services.
IPO Date: June 16, 2021
Employees: 683
Location: Sunnyvale, California
Revenue: $475.1 million

36. Clear

Caryn Seidman-Becker co-founded this biometrics verification company alongside Ken Cornick in 2010.
IPO Date: June 30, 2021
Employees: 1,650
Location: New York City
Revenue: $230.8 million

37. Rent the Runway

Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss are the co-founders this well-known company, which allows customers to rent (or buy) designer clothing for special occasions.
IPO Date: October 27, 2021
Employees: 1,800
Location: New York City
Revenue: $100 million

38. 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

39. Ohmyhome

Co-founder sisters Rhonda and Race Wong launched this online real estate transaction company in 2016 to simplify the processes of buying, selling, renting or renovating properties.
IPO Date: March 23, 2023
Employees: 48
Location: Singapore
Revenue: $7.03 million

40. Oddity

This beauty company, co-founded in 2018 by Shiran Holtzman-Erel and her brother, uses AI technology to design personalized cosmetics for customers worldwide.
IPO Date: July 19, 2023
Employees: 250
Location: Israel
Revenue: $399 million