30 Austin female startup founders you should know

June 9, 2016
The number of funded companies with women founders is on the rise nationwide; in 2014, 15.5 percent of funded startups on Crunchbase had at least one female founder.
 
In Austin, companies and organizations like Feminist Hack, Girl Develop It, recruitHer and Women at Austin are all working to support and encourage women who start their own tech companies. 
 
From industry veterans like Mellie Price to relative newcomers like Katie Fang, here are 30 Austin women startup founders you should know:
 
Melissa Simpler, Affinegy
 
Simpler holds an MBA from the University of Texas and is also active in growing membership for the Austin Technology Council. She is also a founding member of the Software SIG of the Greater Austin Chamber and is actively involved in the Software CEO Group and Tech Women CEO Network.
 
 
Amy Porter, AffiniPay
 
Porter is CEO and founder of AffiniPay. She was previously co-founder and President at National Bankcard Systems.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Monica Landers, Authors.me
 
Landers founded Authors.me after 20+ years experience at several content businesses, like ABC News and Demand Media.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mary Haskett, BeehiveID
 
Haskett spent eight years managing security-related software projects before founding BeehiveID. She holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from The University of Texas at Dallas and an M.Ed. in Educational Technology from Texas A&M University. 
 
 
Kirsten Hurder-Karchmer, Conceivable
 
Before starting Conceivable, Karchmer founded and operated The Texas Center for Reproductive Acupuncture, one of the largest fertility wellness clinics in the US. 
 
 
 
 
 
Julia Cheek, EverlyWell
 
Cheek was formerly the Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Global Communications for MoneyGram International. She's also a Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners
 
 
 
 
 
Claire Vo, Experiment Engine
 
Vo brought her experience in product development, online marketing, web design, and UX when she founded Experiment Engine.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Daina Linton, Fashion Metric
 
Prior to becoming co-founder and CEO of Fashion Metric, Linton did optical imaging and data processing research at MIT and UCLA research laboratories, where she published several high-impact papers and contributed to a number of collaborative research initiatives. 
 
 
Rachel Guest, LookNook
 
Before founding LookNook, Guest was an award-winning interior designer in Austin. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sara Rodell, Loop & Tie
 
After Rodell experienced how bad corporate gifting could be, she founded Loop & Tie. She previously worked for UBS in New York and before that she was Founder of The Next One's On Me, Inc.
 
 
 
 
Senem Guney, NarrativeDX 
 
Guney got her PhD in Organizational Communication & Technology at UT Austin. She developed the concept of NarrativeDx during her dissertation research and her consultancy work at IBM in 2013. 
 
 
 
 
Patti Smith, Querium
 
Smith has extensive experience in education, including time as the VP of Marketing at DreamBox Learning, VP of K-12 Math & Science Strategy at schoolbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Director of Marketing at Thinkwell, and a former area director at Kaplan Test Prep centers.
 
 
Patti Rogers, Rallyhood
 
Rogers created Rallyhood after she witnessed the power of community and kindness in her battle with breast cancer. She was formerly co-founder, President & Creative Director at The Olson Group. She's also a frequent speaker and panelist. 

 

 

Gina Helfrich, Ashley Doyal, and Alexa Loken, recruitHER

Helfrich is the former Director of the Harvard College Women’s Center at Harvard University and has been promoting diversity and inclusion for over 12 years. She is also founder of Feminist Hack. Doyal spent the last eight years recruiting and retaining diverse teams for a variety of tech and gaming companies. Loken has since left the company and currently works at Indeed.com.

 

Samantha Snabes, Katy Jeremko and Lara Jeremko, re:3D

The trio met as a "group of space geeks, scientists, engineers and artists at NASA but, because of cutbacks in the U.S. space program, considered they might never get a chance to slip the bonds of earth’s orbit." Before re:3D, Snabes worked as a research affiliate for the Digital Media Collaboratory at the Center for Agile Technology at the University of Texas. Katy Jeremko is a former Designer in Residence at NASA. Lara Jeremko manages private equity at UT and is an angel investor.

 
Katie Fang, SchooLinks
 
Fang holds a finance degree from UBC, Sauder School of Business.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mellie Price, Softmatch
 
Price is the Executive Director of Technology Innovation at the Dell Medical School as well as a founder and investor in Softmatch. She is also an eight-time entrepreneur and a founding mentor and Managing Director of Capital Factory as well as a General Partner to its investment fund. Price was also the Founder & CEO of Austin’s own Front Gate Solutions and Front Gate Tickets.
 
 

Michelle Breyer, TextureMedia

Breyer was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in the Multicultural Market by Women's Wear Daily in 2015. Before that she was a business reporter for the Austin American Statesman for 13 years. 

 

 

 

Laura Kilcrease, Triton Ventures
 
Kilcrease helped create the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) and The Capital Network (TCN), the first network of angel investors in Texas. She is also a member of the Central Texas Angels Network. She also served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the McCombs School of Business at UT.
 
 
Liz Grow, SnapSitter 
 
Grow was formerly a Strategic Sales Executive at Spredfast. 
 
 
 

Jen Grogono, uStudio

Grogono is founder and CEO of uStudio. She previously co-founded On Networks, where she served as Chief Content Officer and President. Grogono is also a frequent event speaker.
 
 
 

Ellen Wood, vcfo

Wood co-founded vcfo and serves as its CEO. She also serves as the Chair-Elect for the Austin Chamber of Commerce and was previously a two-term Board member of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and their past Vice Chair of Finance. Prior to vcfo, Wood served as Executive Vice President and CFO at Capital Network System, Inc. 
 
 
Karen Bantuveris, VolunteerSpot
 
Bantuveris was a management consultant, Girl Scout leader and PTA board member before founding VolunteerSpot in 2009. 
 
 
 
Melanie Weinberger, WellShift 
 
Weinberger was formerly the Director of Business Development for LaunchPad Advertising and a health and wellness blogger. She's also a frequent speaker on startups. 
 
 
 

Sara Gates, Wisegate

Gates was a former executive with Sun Microsystems, Waveset Technologies, Microsoft and several startups. She also pens a blog called “Listening to IT.” 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Autumn Manning, YouEarnedIt
 
Manning led the spinoff of YouEarnedIt from Rockfish Labs. Prior to that, she worked with Fortune 500 companies to create tools and systems to measure the ROI for people and organizational development initiatives, followed by starting and growing the client service and business development functions for a leading training and development provider.

 

Who else should we have included? Tell us or tweet @BuiltInAustin.

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