There has never been a better time to be a woman in the startup world.
There’s no denying we have a long way to go. After all, venture capital firms are made up of mostly men, and some continue to suggest that women aren’t cut out for the tech world at all. And way more VC money is offered to male founders than women.
But more and more women are building multimillion-dollar startups, and venture firms like Forerunner Ventures, BBG Ventures, and Female Founders Fund all focus on companies founded by women.
It’s paying off. 2016 saw female founders launch innovative companies and raise millions to help them grow, while startups in their second or third year of life began gaining ground.
And 2017 will likely be even bigger. Here are some of the most exciting women-run companies to keep an eye on in the coming year.
Parachute wants to make a comfy night’s sleep affordable.
What is it: Parachute is changing how you buy one thing you use every day: your sheets. It produces high-quality bedding from a factory in Italy and then sells it through its website and one store at its headquarters in Venice Beach, California. Parachute bedding has gained a bit of a cult following, and now co-living startups are even advertising that they have Parachute sheets.
Every time a customer buys a set of its Venice line, the company donates a mosquito net to help kids in Africa sleep safer.
Founded: 2014 by Ariel Kaye
Funding: $10.3 million from Upfront Ventures, Joanne Wilson, QueensBridge Venture Partners, and Structure Partners, among others.
Laurel & Wolf connects interior designers with people who want to give their homes an affordable makeover.
What is it: Laurel & Wolf wants to take advantage of a Pinterest-obsessed generation and make it easy and affordable to design your dream home. People searching for a new look can take a survey about their style, upload pictures and information about the space, and post their project. Typically, three to five designers respond with their ideas, so you don’t have to settle on one from the start.
Founded: 2014 by Leura Fine and Brandon Kleinman
Funding: $26.6 million from Benchmark, Charles River Ventures, Tim Draper, and others.
Maven lets you video chat with doctors.
What is it: Maven is a women’s health app that connects you with doctors via video chat, allowing you to ask questions, receive advice, and get prescriptions. Maven was founded by Kate Ryder, who came up with the idea for the app when she was working at a venture capital fund in London. Ryder noticed that her friends were getting pregnant and receiving a lot of misinformation or having trouble finding the right doctor.
Users can connect with doctors, nurse practitioners, and mental health experts through the app.
Founded: 2014 by Kate Ryder
Funding: $4.5 million from Female Founders Fund, Grand Central Tech, BoxGroup, and others.
Read the complete list of start ups on Business Insider.