It's good business to invest in women.
Women lead less than 7 percent of venture-backed startups, yet there are more women in senior positions at successful startups than at unsuccessful ones, according to a Dow Jones study cited by Bloomberg. If you combine this with a 2011 study showing that tech companies started by female entrepreneurs have higher returns per capita on average, it seems like startups founded by females are the way to go.
With this in mind, we give you our gallery of five female startup founders to watch. They're making fortunes on phone games, delving into the world of big data, and revolutionizing the way we watch online video.
Erika Trautman, Founder & CEO, Flixmaster
In August 2011, Erika Trautman <a href="http://www.flixmaster.com/about">co-founded Flixmaster</a>, a company dedicated to providing users with the tools to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/flixmaster-ceo-erika-trautman-interactive-video_n_1974440.html">build their own interactive videos</a>. Trautman chose the right time to build such a company, as the popularity of interactive videos has exploded, appearing in ventures such as a <a href="https://www.onekingslane.com/live-love-home/choose-your-style/">promotion for One King's Lane</a> and the trailer for <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/arts/video-games/dishonored-a-video-game-from-arkane-studios.html?_r=0">critically-acclaimed</a> video game "Dishonored." Most recently, Trautman secured <a href="http://thenextweb.com/media/2012/11/14/flixmaster-partners-with-sony-creative-software-to-bring-interactive-videos-tools-to-a-broader-audience/">a contract with Sony Creative Software</a> and seems intent on bringing interactive videos to the mainstream.
Alisa Chumachenko, Founder & CEO, Game Insight International
<a href="http://www.game-insight.com/about/index">Alisa Chumachenko founded Game Insight International</a> in Moscow in 2010. Since then, her company has hit the jackpot in phone games, with its most successful mobile app, Paradise Island, at one point reportedly making <a href="http://newsle.com/article/0/12366099/">"$1 million a month"</a> on Android phones. Game Insight <a href="http://blog.quintura.com/2012/02/25/russian-social-gaming-company-game-insight-reached-50m-revenues-in-2011/">reported $50 million in revenue in 2011</a>, the most recent numbers available. Now Chumachenko has set her sights on expanding. Her company recently <a href="http://newsle.com/article/0/12542688/">added a San Francisco headquarters</a> and created its own <a href="http://publishing.game-insight.com/">publishing website</a> to give mobile game developers <a href="http://newsle.com/article/0/21833278/">very lucrative opportunities</a>. Best of all, out of the company's five leaders, <a href="http://www.game-insight.com/about/team">four are women</a>: Chumachenko herself, COO Olga Skvortsova, VP of business development Darya Trushkina and marketing executive Alexandra Pestretsova.
Kellee Santiago, Founder & Former President, thatgamecompany
Kellee Santiago co-founded <a href="http://thatgamecompany.com/">thatgamecompany</a> in 2006. According to the company's Facebook page, it creates <a href="http://www.facebook.com/thatgamecompany/info">"artistically crafted, broadly accessible video games that push the boundaries of interactive entertainment,"</a> and Santiago has succeeded with four spectacular games that do just that: the <a href="http://thatgamecompany.com/games/cloud/">Cloud</a>, <a href="http://thatgamecompany.com/games/flow/">flOw</a>, <a href="http://thatgamecompany.com/games/flower/">Flower</a> and <a href="http://thatgamecompany.com/games/journey/">Journey</a>. Her company has been described as <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/26910/Interview_ThatGameCompanys_Santiago_Hunicke_On_Designing_For_The_Love.php#.UPntkaGH0uo">"fresh" and "intimate,"</a> and its games have won <a href="http://www.facebook.com/thatgamecompany/info">myriad awards</a>: flOw and Flower were both named Best Downloadable Game of the Year at the Game Developers Choice Awards, and flOw received a BAFTA nomination for video game innovation. Better yet, the games have turned a profit. While Kellee talks about a focus on "experimentation" in an <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/26910/Interview_ThatGameCompanys_Santiago_Hunicke_On_Designing_For_The_Love.php#.UPntkaGH0uo">interview with Gamesutra</a>, she admits that the games Flower and flOw have made money. "Sony did release their top 10 downloads for 2009 and Flower was number 9," she said. Santiago recently stepped down from her post as president of thatgamecompany, leaving her plans open for the future. She told <a href="http://gamasutra.com/view/news/163491/Changes_at_Thatgamecompany_Santiago_departs_new_game_underway.php#.UPn6uaGH0uo">Gamesutra</a> that her departure was "amicable." Since then, she's <a href="http://www.gdconf.com/conference/igs.html">helped organize the Independent Games Summit</a> for the 2013 Game Developers Conference and tried her hand at <a href="http://kelleesantiago.com/portfolio/indie-fund/">angel investing</a>…and we're waiting eagerly for more.
Cindy Gallop, Founder & CEO, Make Love, Not Porn
Cindy Gallop's four-minute TED Talk, entitled <a href="http://blog.ted.com/2009/12/02/cindy_gallop_ma/">"Make Love, Not Porn,"</a> was one of <a href="http://blog.ted.com/2009/12/02/cindy_gallop_ma/">the most talked about parts of TED 2009</a>. The talk addressed a common problem: Many kids these days are using Internet porn to learn about sex, but the sex portrayed in pornography isn't realistic. Gallop's startup, also called "Make Love, Not Porn," sought to address the problem by getting users to crowdsource the differences between "porn sex" and "real sex." The site became so popular that Gallop has now launched <a href="https://makelovenotporn.tv/">Make Love Not Porn TV</a>, a site (still in beta) of user-submitted porn that shows how to succeed at real-life sex. Gallop's other startup, <a href="http://ifwerantheworld.com/">IfWeRanTheWorld</a>, turns <a href="http://ifwerantheworld.com/pages/about">"good intentions into action"</a> by connecting people who want to do good deeds with those who need help with simple tasks -- whether people want help finding their dog, registering their nonprofit, or fixing their flat tire. And lest, after all this, you believe Gallop is boring, check out her <a href="http://vimeo.com/6200961">Black Apartment</a>, which has been profiled in <a href="http://vimeo.com/6200961">Dwell</a>, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/250034/">The Atlantic</a> and <a href="http://nymag.com/homedesign/fall2006/21947/">New York Magazine</a>.
Kim Rees, Founder & Head of Data Visualization, Periscopic
Big data is quickly becoming a big deal -- so it's no surprise that recently <a href="http://www.yellowfinbi.com/YFCommunityNews-Business-users-drive-demand-for-data-visualization-Collaborative-BI-and-Mobile-B-115323">data visualization has been in high demand</a>. But while many data visualization companies focus on the business needs of for-profit companies, Kim Rees has found another niche for her startup -- focusing on the business needs needs of nonprofits. Rees's startup, <a href="http://www.periscopic.com/our-company/">Periscopic</a>, follows the motto "do good with data." It has produced work for the Fortune 500 companies Google, Yahoo! and Proctor & Gamble, but mostly concentrates on the nonprofit world, helping organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Wildlife Foundation and UNICEF. Rees thinks Amnesty International and Interpol are in the biggest need of a redesign, <a href="http://www.commarts.com/">according to an interview with Communication Arts</a>. "Both have the need to grab folks by the emotional jugular and incite action but neither provides compelling visual information or narrative," she said.