Technology is becoming more accessible than ever and more women are at the forefront in big tech firms. Studies show that women in the tech industry constitute only 28% of professionals in the sector worldwide but this gap is slowly closing as more women are taking up more leadership roles.
Many successful women in tech have continually broken barriers and created multi-million-dollar companies that are thriving and also leaving a mark for future generations. The historically male-dominated workforce is now seeing disruptions as more women rise to take up various top leadership positions in organizations or to create their own luck as founders.
Here are five women currently shaking the tech world.
Susan Diane Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
Susan Diane Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube, an online video platform that has over 2 billion monthly users. She has been in the tech industry for over 20 years. In 1998, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page rented Wojcicki’s garage in Menlo Park, California and developed Google’s search engine there. She was later hired in 1999 as the 16th employee at Google. She has worked on everything from AdSense and Google Analytics to Google Books and Google Images.
After observing the success of YouTube, she advocated for its acquisition by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion. She has served as CEO of YouTube since 2014 and the platform has become the most popular social network among young people. Under Wojcicki’s tenure as CEO, YouTube has released different products like YouTube Gaming, YouTube Music, YouTube Premium, and YouTube TV. In 2018, Wojcicki was ranked No. 7 on the Forbes Power Women list with an estimated net worth of $580 million.
Before Google, Wojcicki worked in the marketing department at Intel and as a Management Consultant at Bain & Company.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO of Bumble
Whitney Wolfe herd is the founder of the female-focused dating app, Bumble with over 100 million subscribers worldwide. Before founding Bumble, Whitney was among the founding team at Tinder, a social dating app.
She resigned from Tinder in April 2014. Shortly after, she filed a lawsuit against the company for sexual harassment. She reportedly received more than US$1 million as well as stock as part of a settlement in September 2014.
In December 2014, she founded Bumble with help from Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev, founder of MagicLab, the parent company of dating and social networking app, Badoo. By December 2015, the app had reached over 15 million conversations and 80 million matches.
In February 2021, the 31-year-old became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire when she took her company public at a $13 billion valuation on the Nasdaq exchange.
Wolfe Herd owns an 11.6% stake in Bumble. She also heads Badoo. The two apps have a combined 40 million users, 2.4 million of whom pay a subscription. She has an estimated net worth of approximately $1.5 billion. She also became the youngest woman to take a company public, at age 31.
Melanie Perkins, CEO of Canva
Melanie Perkins is CEO and co-founder of Canva, an online platform that makes graphic design simple for everyone. Melanie started the company in Australia in 2013, her goal was to take the entire design ecosystem, integrate it into one page and then make it accessible to the whole world – be it for logos, business cards or presentations.
After meeting with Silicon Valley venture capital investor Bill Tai briefly at a Perth conference, he introduced her to Lars Rasmussen, Co-Founder of Google Maps. Canva launched in 2013 with Melanie and Cliff Obrecht at the helm, and they were joined by former Google executive Cameron Adams. Within five years, she made headlines as one of tech’s youngest female CEOs. Canva has since grown to 55 million active users, three million of them paid and the company is now worth $15 billion. The company has helped create close to 2 billion designs in 190 countries.
Julia Hartz, co-founder of Eventbrite
Julia Hartz is the co-founder of Eventbrite, a global, self-service ticketing and experience technology platform that serves a community of nearly one million event creators in over 180 countries. Julia co-founded Eventbrite with her husband, Kevin Hartz and Renaud Visage. Under her leadership, the company has become a global ticketing and event technology platform that has received multiple awards for workplace culture. The company has also generated over $3 billion in gross ticket sales with more than 200 million tickets distributed to more than 4 million experiences and events in 2020.
Founded in 2006, Eventbrite has been at the centre of the experience economy, transforming the way people organize and attend events. with a vision to build a self-service platform that would make it possible for anyone to create and sell tickets to live experiences. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange on September 20, 2018, and has raised a total of $557.3M in funding.
Jessica Livingstone, Co-founder of Ycombinator
Jessica Livingstone is the co-founder of Ycombinator, a startup accelerator that provides seed funding for startups. Startup accelerators have always been a part of the high-tech ecosystem and this is why Jessica Livingston founded the company with her husband, Paul Graham, the Silicon Valley-based computer scientist, as a way to help early-stage startup founders.
Since its launch in 2005, the company has helped launch hundreds of companies including, Dropbox, Airbnb, Paystack, Flutterwave, Stripe, Instacart, Reddit, etc. The combined valuation of the top YC companies was over US$300 billion as of January 2021.
Jessica studied English at Bucknell University and began her career in finance, ultimately working as the VP of marketing at Adams Harkness, an investment bank. She is also the organizer of Startup School, the big annual startup conference, and the author of Founders at Work, a collection of interviews with successful startup founders.