In honor of International Women’s Day (IWD) tomorrow (Friday, 8th March) and the theme of “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, we are proud to feature 10 tech-for-good startups with women at the helm.  We have chosen these leaders because they show that they are not just participating in their industries but are at the forefront of driving significant societal change through innovation. Their work exemplifies the critical need for investment in women’s potential to accelerate progress across all sectors, showcasing the powerful impact of female-driven innovation in creating a more inclusive and sustainable future.

1. Company Spotlight: Yendou

Yendou, often referred to as the Salesforce for life sciences R&D teams, is revolutionizing the pharmaceutical industry with its clinical operations automation platform. Launched in March 2023 and securing $1.3 million in a pre-seed funding round recently, Yendou has quickly become a pivotal tool for over 1,200 clinicians across 46 countries. The platform’s rapid adoption highlights its global impact and effectiveness in streamlining clinical trial processes. Yendou’s closed beta offering now allows pharmaceutical and biotech companies to effortlessly connect with, select, and onboard clinical trial sites for crucial Phase II and Phase III oncology trials. This innovative approach not only simplifies but also accelerates the delivery of clinical trials, showcasing Yendou’s commitment to advancing clinical research efficiency worldwide.

Leader Spotlight: Zina Sarif (Co-Founder & CEO)

Zina Sarif, the CEO and co-founder of Yendou, is a visionary cancer scientist and clinical research professional with over seven years of experience in cancer drug development and clinical trials operations. Driven by her ambitious dream to cure cancer within her lifetime, Sarif left her job at AstraZeneca to pursue this goal through Yendou. Her determination is fueled by a belief in accelerating clinical innovation in cancer research, a mission she is eager to share with others who wish to join her cause. Sarif’s passion extends beyond her professional life into her love for reading, running, and connecting with people, making her a remarkable leader in the fight against cancer and a pioneer in clinical research innovation.

2. Company Spotlight: Immersify Education

Immersify Education stands out in the UK’s EdTech sector for its innovative approach to bridging the gap between outdated educational materials and the needs of contemporary learners. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, interactive experiences, and custom learning paths, Immersify makes education more engaging and adaptable to different learning styles. Since its transformation from DigiDentistry in 2019, the company has shown impressive growth, emphasizing the effectiveness of its learning solutions. Partnerships with Innovate UK EDGE and Enterprise Europe Network have reinforced Immersify’s capabilities in intellectual property and global expansion, signaling a promising path forward in enhancing educational engagement.

Leader Spotlight: Chloe Barrett (Founder & CEO)

As the driving force behind Immersify Education, Chloe Barrett has reshaped the landscape of educational technology. Her entrepreneurial spirit has guided Immersify through a period of substantial growth and innovation, focusing on making learning more accessible and tailored to individual student needs. Barrett’s leadership has been crucial in navigating the challenges of intellectual property and international growth, culminating in a significant funding round and a 200% increase in the company’s reach. Her commitment to improving the educational experience reflects a deep understanding of the sector’s needs and a dedication to meeting them with innovative solutions.

3. Company Spotlight: Kismet

Australian healthcare startup Kismet is revolutionizing the way caregivers, health insurance, and healthcare providers connect on a global scale. With a recent infusion of $8.2 million in seed funding, led by notable VCs such as Dutch-based Prosus Ventures and Australia’s Airtree Ventures, Kismet addresses critical challenges in today’s health systems. These include rising costs, aging populations, and the need for more personalized, digital healthcare experiences. Launched in 2023 by founders Lauren Grimes, Mark Woodland, Mathew Ellis, Sam Armstrong, and Stefan Cordiner in Melbourne, Australia, Kismet’s digital community platform empowers individuals to utilize their health insurance benefits effectively, making it easier to find and schedule appointments with healthcare providers worldwide, via web or mobile access.

Leader Spotlight: Lauren Grimes (Co-Founder & CX)

Lauren Grimes, a dynamic co-founder of Kismet and its CXO, boasts a versatile career across various sectors. Before embarking on the Kismet journey in 2022, Grimes made significant contributions in roles ranging from Technical Principal at xy to Head of Engineering at Xplor Education. Their tenure as VP of Mobile Engineering at CliniCloud and earlier experiences as a Mobile Developer at PwC, Isobar, and Squareweave, complemented by a stint as a Genius at Apple, highlight a rich technical background. Lauren Grimes’ academic journey includes a Bachelor of Information Technology from RMIT University and further data science studies at General Assembly, underscoring a lifelong commitment to technological innovation and leadership in the digital transformation of healthcare.

4. Company Spotlight: SökerData

UK-based digital health startup SökerData is making significant strides in addressing the underrepresentation in genomic studies, particularly in cancer research. With its innovative biomarker database project, SökerData aims to enrich the diversity of data in genome-wide association studies, focusing initially on breast cancer. The startup was awarded a portion of a £6.2 million grant from Innovate UK, highlighting its potential to transform drug discovery and regulatory reporting. SökerData’s mission is to leverage data to enhance the efficiency, safety, and equity of medical treatments. By focusing on genomic and proteomic datasets linked to clinical outcomes from under-represented groups, SökerData is poised to play a crucial role in improving disease characterisation and treatment development.

Leader Spotlight: Dr. Elsa Zekeng (Founder & CEO)

Dr. Elsa Zekeng, the founder of SökerData, is a trailblazer in the intersection of infectious diseases, global health, and digital healthcare innovation. With a PhD in Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Zekeng has co-founded Jobseekrs, a platform designed to mitigate unconscious bias in recruitment, and Solidarity in Tech (SIT), a CIC aimed at closing the diversity gap in STEM. Recognized as a European Commission 2016 young leader and recipient of the Queen’s Ebola medal, Zekeng’s work extends beyond her entrepreneurial ventures. Her advocacy for youth empowerment, equality, and sustainability aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals. Zekeng’s leadership in SökerData embodies her commitment to enhancing drug discovery and healthcare through diverse and inclusive data.

5. Company Spotlight: Pathways

Pathways, a pioneering AI-driven sustainability platform, is revolutionizing the manufacturing sector by enabling material manufacturers to accurately measure and reduce the emissions associated with building materials. With a successful $2.5 million pre-seed funding round led by Pi Labs and Zacua Ventures, Pathways is at the forefront of decarbonizing manufacturing. The platform simplifies the creation of Life Cycle Analyses (LCAs) and transforms them into third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), offering dynamic, actionable insights for reducing environmental footprints. Addressing the critical challenge posed by the construction industry, which accounts for 40% of global emissions, Pathways is dedicated to making both manufacturing and construction more sustainable, at a time when the urgency to build greener is more pressing than ever.

Leader Spotlight: Leise Sandeman (Co-Founder)

Leise Sandeman, co-founder of Pathways, is an esteemed sustainability strategist with a distinguished career focusing on energy businesses, international trade, and waste management. Leise boasts an impressive international education, including time spent at Tsinghua University and as an affiliated researcher at UCL. Her professional journey includes significant roles at McKinsey & Company and, where she has been instrumental in transforming waste management practices in Indonesia. Based across Copenhagen, London, and Denpasar, Indonesia, Leise’s work is driven by a passion for community transformation, operational improvement, and tackling global plastic demand. Her commitment to sustainability is not only professional but also personal, as evidenced by her volunteer work with the Red Cross Youth and her efforts to bring about change in waste management.

6. Company Spotlight: atNorth

atNorth, a leader in the Nordic data center services industry, is renowned for its sustainable, scalable colocation, and high-performance computing (HPC) services. The acquisition of Gompute in 2023 has bolstered atNorth’s offerings, making it a go-to provider for AI and other demanding high-performance workloads. Operating on the principles of sustainability, atNorth’s data centers are powered by renewable energy sources, embodying the company’s commitment to the circular economy. The company’s innovative design and intelligent operations ensure power efficiency and flexibility in colocation deployments, allowing businesses to handle data workloads with unparalleled efficiency and cost optimization. Headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, atNorth is expanding its footprint across the Nordics, with plans to open new sites in Helsinki, Finland, and Denmark, further solidifying its position as a key player in the data center industry.

About Eva Sóley Guðbjörnsdóttir (CFO & Deputy CEO)

Eva Sóley Guðbjörnsdóttir, CFO and Deputy CEO of atNorth, has played a pivotal role in the company’s rapid growth and success. Recognized among TechRound’s 50 Women in Startups and Tech, Eva’s strategic acumen has seen atNorth expand from two Icelandic data centers to seven sites across four Nordic countries, with three more campuses under construction. Her leadership has not only contributed to the company’s expansion but also to a significant increase in diversity, with the percentage of female employees rising to almost 30% in just three years. Eva’s passion for mentoring women in the industry highlights her commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment, making her a distinguished figure in the tech and startup community.

7. Company Spotlight: Elektra Health

Elektra Health is a digital health company dedicated to menopause care that recently secured a $3.3 million funding round led by UPMC Enterprises. Co-founded by Alessandra Henderson and Jannine Versi, Elektra Health offers telemedicine services along with ongoing support from menopause experts known as ‘menopause doulas.’ This recent funding round aims to bridge the gap in menopause care through a comprehensive care model that focuses on education, care delivery, and community building. The investment will further expand Elektra Health’s evidence-based care delivery platform across various markets.

Leader Spotlight: Alessandra Henderson (Co-Founder & CEO)

Alessandra Henderson, the Co-Founder and CEO of Elektra Health, is leading a mission to break the stigma around menopause. With over 10 years of experience in building early-stage consumer businesses, including roles at Artsy and MIT NYC Startup Studio, Alessandra brings a wealth of expertise to Elektra Health. She holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Sloan MIT, where she received prestigious awards for her entrepreneurial endeavors. Alessandra’s dedication to women’s health has been recognized by major publications like The New York Times and Fortune.  In an interview with medtechpulse, Alessandra summarises “The best thing about my job is hearing the positive impact we’ve had on our member’s lives. 75% of women who seek menopause care from the traditional system today, leave their doctor’s office without proper treatment.”  That is a shocking statistic!

Leader Spotlight: Jannine Versi (Co-Founder & COO)

Jannine Versi, the Co-Founder and COO of Elektra Health, brings a diverse background in healthcare, tech, and government to the company. With experience at Google, roles in the Obama Administration, and involvement in healthcare startups like Cityblock Health and Valera Health, Jannine’s expertise is instrumental in shaping Elektra Health’s innovative approach to menopause care. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School, where she was recognized as a Fulbright Scholar and Blavatnik Fellow.  Jannine Versi plays a pivotal role at Elektra Health, overseeing day-to-day operations, clinical care delivery, and partnerships within the healthcare industry. Her focus on providing excellent virtual care and enhancing the doctor-patient relationship during menopause transitions aligns with Elektra Health’s mission to bridge the gap in women’s health services.

8. Company Spotlight: MOONHUB

MOONHUB is a London-based virtual reality (VR) interactive training platform founded in 2016 by CEO Dami Hastrup, along with co-founders Vinh Ly and Hannah Sutcliffe. The company specializes in CPD-accredited immersive VR learning experiences and patented “Spot and Jot” technology. Notably, MOONHUB recently secured a $1.4 million investment in a Seed Round led by Danish VC Unconventional Ventures, bringing their total raised funds to $4.5 million. The platform offers hands-on learning environments across sectors like facilities management, security, and social care, replicating real-world scenarios cost-effectively through VR technology. Clients such as Just Eat, BNP Paribas, Amazon, and others attest to the platform’s effectiveness in training global workforces efficiently.

Leader Spotlight: Hannah Sutcliffe (Co-Founder & Relationship Manager)

Hannah Sutcliffe is the co-founder and relationship manager at Moonhub. With a background as a teaching assistant and marketing coordinator, Hannah has played an important role in sales and business development across the UK and Europe. They hold a Modern Languages with Management BA Hons from the University of Leicester and an Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management Level 5 from Brentwood Open Learning College. Hannah’s diverse experience includes market research, event organization, and contributing to Moonhub’s growth and success.

9. Company Spotlight: FAMS Parenting App

FAMS is a pioneering parenting app founded by Helene Malyutina, designed to enhance family dynamics through interactive stories and emotional management tools. In a digital age where technology is deeply ingrained in daily life, FAMS caters to modern parents seeking innovative solutions for family bonding and emotional well-being. With millennials constituting 80% of parents with young children and Gen Z projected to dominate first-time parenthood by 2025, FAMS taps into a growing market of tech-savvy parents. The app offers a unique approach, empowering families to explore and optimize their communication choices for a harmonious family environment.

Leader Spotlight: Helene Malyutina (Co-Founder & CEO of FAMS)

Helene Malyutina is half of the visionary founding team behind FAMS.  With a background as a full-stack iOS app developer, UX and product designer, and business developer, Malyutina embarked on her entrepreneurial journey after becoming a mother to two children. Her expertise and passion for empowering parents shine through FAMS, offering a unique approach to family communication without preaching a specific way of living. Malyutina champions a relaxed and mindful parenthood philosophy, focusing on joy and potential in family life, rather than a perfect balance between personal and professional endeavors. “The FAMS app offers a new way of understanding and managing the emotional climate in the family through learning with interactive stories. We do not teach parents how to live and what to do. Instead, we give them a choice and with the help of a simulator show them the consequences of their everyday communication choices,” says Helene.

10. Company Spotlight: SustainCERT

Founded in 2018 by the Gold Standard Foundation, SustainCERT emerges as an independent climate impact verifier committed to enhancing the credibility of climate action. At the heart of their mission is the integration of deep climate expertise with advanced technology, aiming to deliver innovative, scalable verification solutions. SustainCERT’s efforts focus on improving the verification speed and accuracy of climate impacts from carbon market and value chain decarbonization projects. Their approach not only meets the highest standards but also facilitates tangible progress, aligning with key international sustainability frameworks such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, UN SDGs, and Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), making significant contributions towards global sustainability goals.

Leader Spotlight: Marion Verles (Co-Founder and CEO)

Marion Verles stands at the forefront of climate and sustainable development as the co-founder and CEO of SustainCERT. Her journey is marked by a commitment to transforming the economic system through the power of ‘intelligent’ impact measurement. Recognizing the essential role of third-party expert verification in enhancing the credibility of environmental markets, corporate sustainability, and sustainable finance, Verles co-founded SustainCERT in 2018. With a rich background that includes serving as CEO of the Gold Standard Foundation and founding Nexus Carbon for Development in Asia, her career is a testament to innovation and leadership in climate action. Verles, a lifelong learner with degrees in European Business and Public Administration and currently studying Psychology, is driven by a passion for net-zero corporate climate action, the transformative power of technology, and the innovation in impact verification.

In Summary

This International Women’s Day, the achievements of female-led tech-for-good startups across healthcare, sustainability, education, digital innovation, and economic empowerment underline the theme ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.’ These sectors benefit immensely from female innovation, proving that strategic investment in women’s leadership not only propels technological advancements but also fosters societal and economic growth. Celebrating these women underscores the importance of their contributions and serves as a call to action for increased support and recognition of female talent across all industries.

Natalie Harper

Author Natalie Harper

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