2022’s Female-Founded Unicorns
Female-Founded Unicorns
Female-Founded Unicorns

2022’s Female-Founded Unicorns

So far this year, 10 of the 100 or so new unicorns that have been minted have at least one female co-founder.

Of these, Florida-based payments company Stax Payments Boston-based global employment platform Globalization Partners, and Singapore-based customer engagement service Insider are led by female founder CEOs.

Stax co-founders Suneera Madhani and Sal Rehmetulla “As a minority woman and executive in fintech, I’m no stranger to discrimination and doubt,” Stax CEO Suneera Madhani, who co-founded the company with her brother, Sal Rehmetullah, said in a statement earlier this month when the company raised $245 million at a unicorn valuation. “My brother and I built this company from our parents’ home back in 2014. Since then, we’ve grown 500% in the past three years and processed more than $23 billion in payments for 22,000 businesses nationwide. We share this milestone not just with our team, but every person of color trying to hustle, build their own business and make history.”

Female-founded unicorns grow market share

The proportion of new companies joining The Crunchbase Unicorn Board with at least one female founder in 2021 was 14 percent—matching 2019—the highest proportion since 2015.

Of these new unicorns—which span agtech, health care, e-commerce, software and delivery, among other sectors—16 are led by female CEOs.

New York-based Papaya Global, an HR and payroll platform, is the most highly valued of the new female-founded unicorns, at $3.7 billion. It was initially valued at $1.2 billion in its Series C in 2021 led by Greenoaks Capital. It then raised a Series D funding six months later, led by Insight Partners and joined by Tiger Global that more than tripled its valuation.

Papaya Global’s co-founders CTO Ofer Herman CEO Eynat Guez and CPO Ruben Drong “With companies switching to remote work and compliance becoming increasingly complex, we are seeing substantial demand for Papaya’s solution, even in a challenging business environment,” CEO and founder Eynat Guez said in an announcement of Papaya’s most recent funding.

The company said it has seen more than 300 percent revenue growth over the past three years.

Premium food delivery company Market Kurly, headquartered in Seoul and founded by CEO Sophie Kim is the second most highly valued new female-founded unicorn, at $3.3 billion. It also raised multiple fundings in 2021 with a step up in valuation from $2.2 billion in July 2021 to $3.3 billion by December of that year in a round lead by Anchor Equity Partners.

Oakland-based LaunchDarkly led Edith Harbaugh is the third most highly valued company. It hosts a software feature management platform. In its most recent funding it was valued at $3 billion in a Series D funding led by Lead Edge Capital

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Manoj Thacker


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