History in the Making: Meet the Top-Funded Female Entrepreneurs in 2022 (Thus Far)

March 23, 2022

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting female entrepreneurs who are leading, inspiring and shaping the future. We leveraged Crunchbase’s Diversity Spotlight data to curate this list of 10 top-funded companies founded and led by female entrepreneurs in 2022 so far.*

According to Crunchbase News, companies with female founders raised just 2.2 percent of all venture funding in 2021. That’s a lower share than any of the previous five calendar years—and it doesn’t stop there. VC funding to diverse female founders is even more insufficient, with Black female startup founders receiving just 0.34 percent of the total venture capital spent in the U.S. last year. With women underrepresented as both founders and VC partners, Crunchbase remains committed to highlighting the success of female-founded companies and raising visibility of the women behind them during Women’s History Month and beyond.

 

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We recognize that the women included on this list represent a small fraction of the many female founders and leaders who are paving the way to provide better access to opportunity for all aspiring female entrepreneurs.

 

​​Methodology

*This list was compiled leveraging Crunchbase’s Diversity Spotlight data. The companies featured below are listed in order based on the highest total funding. 

This article is focused on U.S. companies founded and currently led by female entrepreneurs. The companies featured on this list satisfy both women-founded and women-led Crunchbase Diversity Spotlight tags. Companies founded by male/female co-founding teams are not included in this list. 

The data in this article is based on announced funding to companies from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28, 2022. Funding includes seed, venture, corporate venture and private equity to venture-backed companies with founders associated. 

**If you notice missing data, it may mean that a company does not have founders listed, its Diversity Spotlight tags are not updated, or the funding round was not added to the Crunchbase dataset by March 8, 2022 (the day the data was pulled). To update this data, visit our Knowledge Center or reach out to spotlight@crunchbase.com.


1. Savage X Fenty

Total funding raised in 2022: $125 million
Founder: Robyn Rihanna Fenty
Diversity Spotlight tags: Black or African American Founded, Black or African American Led, Women Founded, Women Led

Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Founder and CEO of Savage X Fenty headshot
Image Source | Robyn Rihanna Fenty, founder and CEO of Savage X Fenty

Savage X Fenty is an intimate apparel startup co-founded by singer and fashion trendsetter Rihanna. The El Segundo, California-based company raised a $125 million Series C earlier this year, led by the Neuberger Berman Group. The lingerie company is currently working with banks on an initial public offering, according to Bloomberg. Crunchbase News reported, “the IPO could value the company, which has raised around $310 million in funding, at $3 billion.”

Check out this list of recently funded companies founded by Black/African American entrepreneurs**


2. Purely Elizabeth

Total funding raised in 2022: $50 million
Founder: Elizabeth Stein
Diversity Spotlight tags: Women Founded, Women Led

Elizabeth Stein, founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth headshot
Image source | Elizabeth Stein, founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth

Boulder, Colorado-based Purely Elizabeth is an organic food company specializing in nutritious breakfast foods. The company closed a $50 million Series B financing round in January, led by SEMCAP with participation from Swander Pace Capital and Fresh Del Monte Produce. Purely Elizabeth is the first investment for SEMCAP, which targets companies “with authentic missions to improve the long-term health and sustainability of humanity,” according to PR Newswire. Its latest Series B round brings the natural food company’s total funding to $53 million (as of January)


3. Spekit

Total funding raised in 2022: $45 million
Founders: Melanie Fellay and Zari Zahra
Diversity Spotlight tags: South Asian Founded, South Asian Led, Women Founded, Women Led

Melanie Fellay, Founder and CEO (left) and  Zari Zahra, Founder and Head of Product & Technology (right) of Spekit headshots
Image Source | Melanie Fellay, founder and CEO, and Zari Zahra, founder and head of product and technology of Spekit

Spekit, a Denver-based digital enablement platform for onboarding and training remote teams, secured a $45 million Series B earlier this year in a funding round led by Craft Ventures. The company also raised a $12.7 million Series A in May 2021, led by Renegade Partners and Foundry. Its latest Series B brings the enablement and learning company’s total funding raised to $60.6 million (as of January).

Check out this list of recently funded companies founded by South Asian entrepreneurs**


4. Mos

Total funding raised in 2022: $40 million
Founder: Amira Yahyaoui
Diversity Spotlight tags: Middle Eastern/North African Founded, Middle Eastern/North African Led, Women Founded, Women Led

Amira Yahyaoui, Founder and CEO of Mos headshot
Image Source | Amira Yahyaoui, founder and CEO of Mos

Mos offers financial solutions for students such as checking accounts, debit cards and access to financial aid advisers. In February, the San Francisco-based company secured a $40 million Series B led by Tiger Global Management. In its Series B announcement, Yahyaoui wrote, “Our Series B is an opportunity to continue the pursuit of this mission and push the envelope of finance for an entire generation.” In total, the fintech company has raised $57.3 million (as of February).

Check out this list of recently funded companies founded by Middle Eastern/North African entrepreneurs**


5. Novi Connect

Total funding raised in 2022: $40 million
Founder: Kimberly Shenk
Diversity Spotlight tags: Women Founded, Women Led

Image Source | Kimberly Shenk, founder and CEO of Novi Connect

Larkspur, California-based technology platform, Novi Connect, is a B2B marketplace for sustainable, innovative and transparent ingredients and packaging. The company secured a $40 million Series B in February, led by Tiger Global Management with participation from Greylock and Defy.vc. The company also raised a $10.3 million Series A in September 2021, which went toward, “helping consumer brands bring thousands of products to market with more sustainable materials.” Novi Connect has raised a total of $51.8 million (as of February).


6. soona

Total funding raised in 2022: $35 million
Founders: Elizabeth Giorgi and Hayley Anderson
Diversity Spotlight tags: Women Founded, Women Led

Elizabeth Giorgi, founder and CEO, and Hayley Anderson, founder and CCO of soona headshots
Image Source | Elizabeth Giorgi, founder and CEO, and Hayley Anderson, founder and CCO of soona

Denver-based soona is a virtual content firm that specializes in helping brands create professional-level photos and videos for e-commerce and marketing companies. The company announced its $35 million Series B earlier this year, led by Bain Capital Ventures. As of January, soona has raised a total of $53.5 million.


7. Canela Media

Total funding raised in 2022: $32 million
Founder: Isabel Rafferty Zavala
Diversity Spotlight tags: Hispanic/Latinx Led, Hispanic/Latinx Founded, Women Founded, Women Led

Isabel Rafferty Zavala, Founder and CEO of Canela Media headshot
Image Source | Isabel Rafferty Zavala, founder and CEO of Canela Media

New York-based Canela Media is a digital media technology company dedicated to providing the Hispanic and Latinx community free access to bilingual and culturally relevant content. The company raised a $32 million Series A in February, co-led by Angeles Investors and Acrew Capital. The funding round was the largest Series A raised by a Latinx-company, according to Forbes. As of February, the company has raised a total of $45 million.

Check out this list of recently funded companies founded by Hispanic / Latinx entrepreneurs**


8. Promise

Total funding raised in 2022: $25 million
Founders: Diana Frappier and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins
Diversity Spotlight tags: Black or African American Founded, Black or African American Led, Women Founded, Women Led

Diana Frappier, Founder and CLO (left) and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Founder and CEO (right) of Promise headshots
Image Source | Diana Frappier, founder and CLO, and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, founder and CEO of Promise

Promise provides a modern payment platform that brings flexibility to government and utility payments. The Oakland, California-based company raised a $25 million Series B in February, led by The General Partnership. Promise’s mission is to help reduce delinquencies and increase revenue while helping people pay off debt sooner and with fewer penalties. As of February, the company has raised a total of $48.1 million.


9. Minerva Biotechnologies

Total funding raised in 2022: $24.1 million
Founder: Cynthia Bamdad
Diversity Spotlight tags: Women Founded, Women Led

Cynthia Bamdad, founder and CEO of Minerva Biotechnologies headshot
Image Source | Cynthia Bamdad, founder and CEO of Minerva Biotechnologies

Minerva Biotechnologies, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company that develops cancer immunotherapies and cancer drugs, secured a $24.1 million venture round earlier this year. As of January, the company has raised a total of $65.5 million


10. Vangst

Total funding raised in 2022: $19 million
Founder: Karson Humiston
Diversity Spotlight tags: Women Founded, Women Led

Image Source | Karson Humiston, founder and CEO of Vangst

Denver-based Vangst is a recruiting platform specializing in connecting job seekers with opportunities in the cannabis industry. The company secured a $19 million Series B, led by Level One Fund.  The funding round also had participation from a variety of investors such as, Snoop Dogg’s VC Firm, Casa Verde Capital. As of January, the talent platform has raised a total of $31.5 million


How you can help raise visibility for female entrepreneurs

As we continue to measure progress toward closing the funding gap for female entrepreneurs, we encourage U.S. investors and startup leaders to get verified and add their diversity data to Crunchbase.

We also encourage you to track and report on the progress with us. Here are several Crunchbase lists that are enriched with insights on companies and investment firms with female founders:

If you have an idea about how to improve Diversity Spotlight, please let us know by sending an email to spotlight@crunchbase.com. We take this feedback seriously and each suggestion for improvement helps inform our plans as we continue developing this feature.