Growing up is tough to do — especially for companies.
But an impressive number of firms founded by women entrepreneurs have been expanding at rapid rates all the same, and are poised to keep doing so into 2020. Below is a sampling of some intriguing, industry-disrupting companies featured in publications like Inc. and Forbes, and lauded by business organizations around the nation — all of them started and grown by female founders.
[Related: Our Small-Biz “Secrets of Growth” Panel]
1. Not Ordinary Media (NOM)
What They’re Doing: NOM is an advertising tech company co-founded by former colleagues Loren Rochelle and Brent Neill. The duo focuses specifically on producing and sharing video ads, scoring clients prime placement on major platforms like YouTube. The firm stands out thanks to its ad-tracking software, which offers clients clarity on whether their campaigns are effectively reaching the masses. Though the company was sold to marketing giant MTM in 2017, it still operates independently — and in 2018, it pulled in $21.4 million in revenue.
2. TKT and Associates
What They’re Doing: TKT and Associates was founded by Tierra Kavanaugh Wayne in 2006 — and then almost went under in 2014 after losing several key contracts simultaneously. She had to let most of her staff go, she recalls, and took a 90-percent hit in revenue that year. But Wayne managed to keep her human resources business afloat, while staying true to her core mission of creating a more diverse workforce that employs minority women. Thanks to her efforts, it now rakes in millions in revenue, and earns recognition from the likes of the Women Presidents’ Organization.
3. Enspire Energy
What They’re Doing: Mary Hensley is the president and a founding partner of Enspire Energy, a gas services company that supplies industrial, commercial and government clients. The company, which was founded in 2005 and acquired by Shell Energy North America in 2009, was relaunched in 2014 under Hensley’s leadership. Today, it is now entirely staffed by women. Hensley credits the company’s emphasis on long-term relationships for its success — and the $81 million it made in revenue last year.
What They’re Doing: Madeline Haydon’s entrepreneurial journey began with a successful Kickstarter campaign. After pulling in $32,000 from online donors, she launched Nutpods in 2015 to sell her plant-based creamers to those who can’t have dairy. Customers are taking to online retailers like Amazon and stores like Whole Foods to add her creamers to their morning cups of coffee and tea. In 2018, the company made $19.1 million in revenue.
5. Kindred Bravely
What They’re Doing: Kindred Bravely sells bras, tanks and pajamas to new moms struggling to find something comfortable yet stylish to wear. The company’s co-founder, Deanne Akerson, was motivated to start the company in 2015 after struggling to find comfortable, fashionable postpartum duds for herself. It seems she was far from alone in that need, based on the $9.6 million in revenue Kindred Bravely made in 2018.
[Related: Scaling Up — When Cash is Queen]
What They’re Doing: LadyBoss co-founder Kaelin Poulin’s mission? Help women lose weight in a healthy way, with a support system around them. After losing 65 pounds in one year herself, she was inspired to help others on their journeys to shed unwanted pounds. The subscription-based model provides clients with meal plans, workout guides, training programs and more. In addition to cultivating a healthy community, LadyBoss is also making money — in 2018, it made $32.4 million in revenue.