Top 10: Female-Led Companies Using Tech for GoodBy Megan Weal
In a world of anxiety-inducing social media, apps made for women but not by women, and the constant news that our planet is declining at a pretty alarming rate, sometimes you need to do a little bit of digging and celebrate those who are doing things for good. Specifically, very cool females who are using tech to make our lives just that little bit (or A LOT) better.
From food waste to investment, vibrators to career-building courses, these are the female-led companies you should know about:
Photo credit: Annabel Staff
OLIO is the app for those of us who love food and hate waste, so probably around 98% of us – right? Created by Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One, OLIO “connects neighbours with each other and with local shops & cafes so surplus food and other items can be shared, not thrown away.” Imagine you’re moving house and physically can’t eat or relocate all the food in your cupboards, snaps some photos, pop them onto OLIO and they can be shared (all the food is either for free or for donation to charity) with other users rather than facing the sad landfill fate that they’d otherwise be destined for.
Always wanted to start acting like a proper adult and start investing? It’s possible that you may have been put off by the fact that 86% of Investment Advisors are men with an average age of 50+. Enter Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest: “Ellevest provides investment services tailored specifically to women, taking into account their needs, incomes, and life cycles. They also invest users’ money in companies that advance women.” Ellevest believe that gender-neutral investing doesn’t work in the favour of women – so they make recommendations for you and your money based on personal profiles and gender-specific salary curves. Money is (girl) power.
If I had to pick two pastimes to put into a “positive activities” bracket, they’d probably be mindful practice and sex. And it looks like Billie Quinlan, the Co-Founder and CEO of brand new, launching-in-2019, app Ferly has a similar mind-set. “We believe a good understanding of sex – how we feel about it and how we have it – is vital to our individual well-being” says the opening line of their website. With a heady combination of science, words and practice, Ferly is all about discovering and learning about your body and the pleasure you want so that you can subsequently apply that to your sex life. Sign. Me. Up.
In a world where social media permeates our everyday lives, creating an Instagram account full of joy, honesty and, well, insecurities, Liv Purvis’ The Insecure Girls’ Club is a welcome breath of fresh air. It’s “A space for women to embrace vulnerabilities and empower themselves through wearing their insecurities on their sleeves.” Wish short video interviews with mega-babes such as Sarah Powell, Alex Steadman (The Frugality), Samio Renelda and Gina Martin (to name but a few), it’s a wondrous account filled with respect for the everyday woman who just need a few “you’ve got this” reminders peppered through their days.
With technology getting smarter and smarter by the day, it’s only right that the way we pleasure ourselves evolves too. Stephanie Alys and Shanshan Xu, two of the co-founders of Mystery Vibe, have created vibrators that are body adapting, smart-app controlled, are whisper quiet and offer vibration controls that suit your orgasm. The Crescendo has been built and designed for women, with the Tenuto being the male version. The vision of the products is “to create the complete pleasure experience through technology, talent and insight,” wish a “mission is to empower relationships, conversations and individuals through pleasure,” because their belief is that “an enlightened and liberal society is a safer and happier one.”
Founded by Debbie Wosskow OBE and Anna Jones, AllBright was built for women of all ages and at all stages of career. Their AllBright Academy is a “10-week digital course and community aimed at arming women with the tools they need to achieve their goals and build confidence along the way.” It’s a well-designed, curated space that let’s women inspire and be inspired on the way to achieving their goal. There’s two programme courses: the “Doing it For Yourself”, which is aimed at early-stage female founders, and then “Smashing the Glass Ceiling” (how good are these names?!) that’s more tailored towards women who are in businesses large or small and are looking for professional development. Go smash it.
Tania Boler, Founder and CEO of Elive is an internationally recognized women’s health expert who wants to bring women’s technology out of the dark ages. “Here’s the thing. Women shouldn’t have to make do with shoddy design or pink spin-offs when there are self-driving cars in the world,” reads the top of their About page and really, could there be a more on-the-pulse summary? They use genuine female insight to design the products that we want, need and deserve. Their Elvie trainer is pretty-flippin’-smart pelvic trainer that lets you connects your pelvic workouts to an app and gives you real-time guidance on how to better customise your workouts. And their Elvie Pump is a silent breast pump that’s hands-free, has variable suctions, custom fit, in-app tracking and a remote control so you can carry on living, working and playing while breastfeeding. They’re revolutionising products for women.
It’s, unfortunately, no shock to anyone that women in technology are underrepresented, but co-founder of accelerateHER, Poppy Gaye, is here to do something about that. Their mission is to champion and support women who already work in the tech sector, whilst also providing a community that prevents women being deterred to enter the sector. They highlight unseen women in their events, have an ever-developing centre of excellence and even have a (potentially disruptive) initiative called Male Champions of Change, that rallies behind powerful men to engage them to stand up and take action. And as they say themselves, “It isn’t just the right thing to do for women and girls, it is an economic imperative. By accelerating HER, you will help accelerate the global economy and advance equality both economically and socially.”
In a nutshell, Beryl are all about bikes. But, obviously, it’s more than that. Formally known as Blaze and headed up by Emily Brooke, Beryl is here to get more bums on bikes and make the world a greener place. With a focus on cities, Beryl have an easy-to-use bike sharing service, as well as constantly creating clever products to make cycling easier and better for all. They believe that biking is the way to keep transport moving forward in the “cleanest, simplest, most sustainable way.” And it’s not just them themselves that are confident in their sustainable thinking, they’re a certified B Corporation (which means they’re recognised for meeting exceptional standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
Founded by Martha Lane Fox and led by Rachel Coldicutt, Doteveryone is a charity and independent think tank that “explores how technology is changing society, shows what responsible technology can look like, and catalyses communities to shape technology to serve people better.” The always-evolving digital world has a bucketful of moral and ethical issues that need to be navigated. They work to safeguard against the dangers of digital and encourage and help businesses build responsible technology. As if that wasn’t enough, their small grants for fairer tech events and work call for a fairer sector that allows for everyone to thrive no matter what their gender, race or accessibility.