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Famous Ventures Founded and Run by Women

by Bani Banerjee
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Famous Ventures Founded and Run by Women | Womopreneur

Similar to what happens in the film or finance sector, the universe of venture capital and startups has traditionally been dominated by men. Investing in a start-up has been known to be a man thing. According to the statistics. Only 9% of business angels are women, according to AEBAN data. And in the field of venture capital, the figures are not much better. Only 6% of employees with investment responsibilities have a senior position. A percentage that increases to 13% in the case of venture capital, according to data from the Level 20 association, which aims to raise these percentages to 20%.

Contradicting the taboo, South Summit Entrepreneurship Map reported that male-led companies have failure rates of 52%, female-led projects only fail in 22% of cases. But not only do they fail less, but they also earn more, since the technology companies led by women obtain 35% higher returns and 12% higher income than the companies run by men.

In fact, women had started adding value to entrepreneurship by building brands decades ago without caring about the failure rates. In order to look into their legacy, it will go down in history as success stories.

Keeping this in mind, the article features eight most emblematic and famous ventures that were founded and run by women, thanks to their entrepreneurial daring:

1.  Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

Founder of Les Perfumes Chanel In Year: 1910 

The company is now managed by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, grandchildren of the Chanel co-founder. Although the brand has become synonymous with glamor. Chanel started from the bottom, as the designer of her own sewing workshop, which soon became one of the most important in Paris. In 1924, with a view to opening more branches, she teamed up with businessman Pierre Wertheimer, who ended up becoming the owner of the company years later. 

Coco Chanel was born on August 19, 1883, at the House of Charity in Saumur, France. Her birth certificate revealed that she was the illegitimate daughter of the couple that made up Albert Chanel and Jeanne Devolle. 

A nun named her Gabrielle. “In Hebrew, it means strength and power, and it assures women to wear it with lasting shine,” they told him at the time. And she marked her presence in the same way as her name means.

2. Teresa Benelli

Founder Of Benelli In Year: 1911

The famous Italian motorcycle company was founded by a widow who invested all her money in the company. In 1911, after becoming a widow, Benelli took all the family capital to establish a mechanical workshop, in order to give employment to her six children. In the beginning, it was just a garage for repairs, but soon it became a place where motorcycle parts started to be manufactured. The Benelli’s ambition led them to build their own brand. 

In December 1921 the first real Benelli motorcycle appeared: the “Velomotore”, a two-stroke 98 cc 2-stroke, featured in two models of tourism and sport (125 CC), which was followed in 1923 by a version 147 CC. Soon after, with a more advanced type of motorcycle, Tonino Benelli began to capture the victories that made Casa Pesaro known throughout Europe.

3. Josephine Esther Mentzer/Estée Lauder

Founder Of Estee Lauder Inc. In Year: 1946

The beauty products company is led by William P. Lauder, Josephine’s grandson. Together with her husband, Joseph Lauder, she founded the legendary cosmetic company. The company’s roots go back to her adolescence when she made facial creams in the oven. Thanks to this experience, her brand quickly became famous for the quality of its products, which were made by herself. Her entrepreneurial flair has made the company an icon.

At present, Leonard Lauder, CEO of his mother’s company, thought his mother’s idea was to “grow a nice little business.” Now, that small business controls 45% of the cosmetics market in US stores, sells its products in 118 countries, and invoices more than four million dollars in sales. In 1998,  she attained a place in “20 Most Influential Business Geniuses of the 20th Century” list. She was the only woman on that list.

4. Anita Roddick

Founder Of The Body Shop In Year: 1976

An ecological activist, she founded the company in 1976 and the brand is today an icon in sustainable products. Roddick decided to open her first store to support her family, while her husband was away traveling in Latin America. But her goal was to go further, leading an environmentally friendly cosmetic chain that did not use animals in experiments. Today, The Body Shop is synonymous with sustainability and a benchmark in respect for the environment.

Anita Roddick was a well-known successful entrepreneur worldwide not only for the success achieved with her cosmetic store but also for her avowed defense in favor of non-aggression towards the environment and care for the environment. It was these important values that Roddick wanted to highlight in each of the cosmetic products that she sold and at the same time those that became the key to the success of her business.

5.  Sandra Lerner

Founder Of Cisco In Year: 1984

Thanks to Lerner’s approach, the company stands out for its gender equality policies. As one of the world’s largest technology services companies for large corporations, co-founded by Lerner, it is striking that Lerner’s partners, owners of the venture capital firm, will end up separating it from the company. Despite that, the firm has become a major activist, giving women more opportunities.

Both Leonard Bosack and  Sandra Lerner were scientists at Stanford University. The name of the company is a coincidence: from their laboratory they saw a tourist sign in San Francisco, but a tree-covered half of the name and only the word “CISCO” was visible. Hence the name. Working simultaneously they began to develop networks to connect equipment with different techniques until they formed this multimillion-dollar company that today dominates this business in the world.

6. Tyra Banks

Founder Of Bankable Productions In Year: 2003

The model leads a successful production company, which generates shows like America’s Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show. Even though most people only know of her career in the modeling world, Banks excels in the business world. Thanks to her studies at the Harvard Business School, which helped her launch her line of cosmetics, she has successfully developed a productive career in the production of television programs that have won awards.

Being an American supermodel, actress, television presenter, and film producer she is an influential entrepreneur. Banks is recognized as one of the most popular models of the 90s. Also, she was well known for participating on one occasion in the annual fashion show of Victoria’s Secret brand. As a curious fact, Banks appeared in Michael Jackson’s Black or White video. She left the modeling world in 2005 and since then has been a producer and presenter on two television shows.

7. Caterina Fake

Founder Of Flickr In Year: 2004

The successful company, founded in early 2004, was purchased the following year by Yahoo!. Fake, at 35, founded a website to store and transfer photos with her husband, which ended up becoming most famous in the world. Although her business model was not the most profitable, because she received payments only if people wanted to make her photos public, she caught the attention of Yahoo!, which acquired it in 2005 for several million dollars.

Her parents did not allow her to watch television when she was young. As a child, she was very much interested in reading poetry and playing classical music. Nothing predicted that over the years it would become a benchmark for entrepreneurship and digital creativity. Being a co-founder of Hunch and Flickr, she has also invested in thousands of sites like Etsy, Maya’s Mom, and DailyBooth. She is also a member of the Creative Commons board of directors.

8. Rashmi Sinha

Founder Of SlideShare In Year: 2006

With a capital of three million dollars, Rashmi Sinha founded in October 2006 a platform for working documents, presentations and videos named SlideShare. Five years later, she sold this company to LinkedIn for $ 119 million. In a five-year period, it had reached 29 million different visitors and recorded nine million user-submitted submissions. 

Her professional career is riddled with companies such as eBay, Blue Shield, AAA and a gaming company called MindCanvas. Together with her husband and elder brother Amit Ranjan, she founded SlideShare, of which she is CEO. A native of the Indian city of Lucknow, Sinha earned a PhD in cognitive neuropsychology from the Brown University of Rhode Island and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, about human-computer interaction.

9. Evgeniya Usmanova

Founder Of Care Lulu In Year: 2013

It is something like a Tripadvisor of preschools and kindergartens. Due to the distressing things like taking your son to a place where you do not know how they will take care of him, Evgeniya Usmanova, thought of designing this application, which allows proxies themselves to comment and rate each venue, as a guide to parents. The CareLuluse business model is based on offering schools a direct marketing tool for parents. This is how everyone wins: parents can choose a “recommended” place and kindergartens and preschools can be promoted directly to their target audience.

Evgeniya Usmanova has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Also, she holds a Masters in International Relations from Georgetown University. At that time she had a four-week-old baby. After completing studies and with another baby on the way, she temporarily stayed home and became engaged in the local “mommy community”. She returned to work, focusing for the prior year on promoting entrepreneurship across school campuses.

10. Talia Frenkel

Founder Of Care L Condoms In Year: 2015

From a United Nations photographer to businesswoman and millionaire. That was the path that Talia Frenkel followed, who came up with it during her job that safe sex should also be a fundamental right. That’s why she founded a condom factory, but not just any: the idea was that it could be delivered to the home, that it be biodegradable and that it also contributes to the poorest nations. Thus, L Condoms are delivered at home in less than an hour (only in the US, for now), it is biodegradable and, for each one bought in the first world, the company gives away another in the Third World.

Other famous women at the helm of important ventures are Jessica Alba (The Honest Company), Sara Blakely (Spanx), Ariel Kaye (Parachute), and Gwyneth Paltrow (Goop), who have managed to define highly profitable ventures and business models based on the reputation of each as women entrepreneurs.

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