Jennifer Hyman

The Top Women in NYC Startups

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A recent study shows there's one career path in which women's perceived happiness is greater than men's, entrepreneurship. Women with established businesses ranked their happiness nearly three times as high as women who are not entrepreneurs or established business owners. When women have established businesses, they are  happier than their entrepreneurial male counterparts, as well as rating their well-being more than twice as high as non-entrepreneurs and non-business owners, according to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) U.S. Report. Startups need a huge influx of female entrepreneurs. With such a disproportionate amount of startup teams made up of all males, it's overwhelmingly obvious that not all of our best and brightest are founding companies. For female founders with an idea floating around their head and wondering if they can execute, these are the women you should be looking to for guidance. They are creating extraordinary companies and blazing a path for the next wave of talent. 

Idit Harel

Founder, Globaloria


Dr. Idit Harel is an accomplished Israeli-American entrepreneur, award-winning author, thought leader, and innovator in educational technology. As founder and CEO of Globaloria, she is advancing STEM and computing education worldwide by transforming education systems to better prepare today’s youth for the global knowledge innovation economy.

Idit launched Globaloria at the World Wide Workshop, an Ed-tech incubator which she founded in 2004 to develop innovative learning technology applications. Over the past 8 years, Globaloria evolved to become a leading blended-learning platform with innovative game-design and programming courses for 5-12 graders, and has received over 15 awards, including the 2014 Google RISE Award; the 2013 Tech Award in Education; and 2013 STEM Innovation Award in Science.

From 1995 to 2004, Idit was the founder and CEO of MaMaMedia, an Internet media company that became the first web-based educational brand for kids. The Company’s original suite of games and communities for learning digital design, programming and publishing attracted over five million registered members and tens of millions of monthly visitors. Idit scaled the company to a staff of 200 and established advertising and distribution partners including AOL, Coca Cola, Disney, General Mills, Intel, Microsoft’s WebTV, Nintendo, and Scholastic.

Idit was named the 2010 recipient of the Jessie McCanse Award for Individual Contribution to Media Literacy by the National Telemedia Council. She has served on advisory boards and committees at the MIT Media Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education, CUNY Macaulay Honors College, CU-ATLAS Institute, PBS Kids Next Generation Media, MEET in Israel, TIG in Canada, and in Shanghai.

Idit holds a B.A. from Tel Aviv University, an HGSE Ed.M. and C.A.S. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. Idit is a former professional dancer and competitive gymnast on Israel’s national modern gymnastic team. A proud mother of three, she describes herself as a “fearless futurist” and “education disruptor."

Billie Whitehouse

Co-Founder, Wearable Experiments

@BillieWhouse @billiewhouse

Billie was brought up in the design industry, working from the early age of 16 at Australia’s leading tertiary design school, Whitehouse Institute of Design, Australia. Billie has been recognized for her work on FUNDAWEAR, with the campaign receiving a Silver Lion at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Billie is an aesthetic specialist with a naturally inquisitive nature towards technology and innovation. As a garment engineer, she strongly believes people should not have to look like the technology that they have grown to love and depend on.

Billie’s designs are sharp, experimental, naturally confident and subtly feminine in appearance integrating the latest technology. Design principals of color, line, shape, proportion, tone, silhouette and texture are being brought to the wearable technology industry by Billie Whitehouse.

The other highlight for Billie in 2013 was meeting Sir Bob Geldorf, where he questioned Are we all money junkies? How do we affect change?” His messages shook her to the core and she was inspired to create a business with moral and sustainable outcomes, Wearable Experiments.

Wearable Experiments is a socially driven wearable technology company. Their mission is to bring together fashion and technology with a functional design aesthetic and use creative problem solving to help us live well and have a better quality of life. Wearable Experiments is rapidly developing wearable technology that is invisible, waterproof, durable and above all design focused.

Angela Lee

Founder, 37 Angels

Angela Lee is an educator, entrepreneur, and angel investor. She is passionate about education, and has started several companies in that space. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Academic Integration at Columbia Business School and an Adjunct Assistant Professor teaching Strategy and Leadership courses. She also has 15 years of experience in marketing strategy, both as a product manager and as a consultant at McKinsey. Angela has a BA from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

37 Angels activates the untapped capital and experience women can bring to investing in male and female-led ventures.       

They do this by sourcing high potential deals and coordinating due diligence for members to invest in deals between $50K and $150K.  They also offer a unique training program to educate novice angels in the fundamentals of investing in young companies. 

Jamie Wong

Co-Founder, Vayable


Jamie Wong is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vayable. Her vision for a more open world that enables collaborative experiences and exchanges through travel is the driving force behind Vayable. Her commitment to bringing insider travel experiences to the world by making them easier to find, create and book provides the framework for Vayable's platform and community.

Jamie comes from a comprehensive background in disruptive media, advocacy and communication. She is a dynamic, creative leader with a passion for bringing ideas to market that change the way people live.

She has been to nearly 30 countries--volunteering for hurricane relief in Honduras, visiting distant cousins in her ancestral village in Southern China, and advising the president of France's second-largest nonprofit organization in Paris.

Jamie's eclectic experience spans many of the most notable names in media, and international advocacy, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Sundance Channel Digital, Kickstarter, Michael Moore, Action Against Hunger, American Jewish World Service, NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Before co-founding Vayable, she was a creative and strategic consultant for tech companies, delivering strategy and creative to Adobe, Boku, Comcast, JobVite, Juniper Networks and others.

Vayable's mission is to become the global platform for real-life experiences. Vayable makes it easy to discover and book unique experiences and activities worldwide offered by independent companies and local experts.

Suzanne Xie

Founder, Hullabalu


Suzanne Xie is the Founder and CEO of Hullabalu, a NYC-based startup creating the next generation of family media. Their first interactive story features a purple panda named Pan and have hit #1 in 38 countries in App Store Books.

She started her first startup, Weardrobe, one of the largest online fashion communities for street style and fashion photos, which was acquired by and subsequently Google. Weardrobe won the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator competition at SXSW and a spot in the first Facebook Rev Fund.

Previous to Weardrobe, Suzanne worked at Goldman Sachs Asset Management and UBS Investment Bank. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Economics.

Sonpreet Bhatia

Co-Founder, MobileROI


Sonpreet Bhatia is Co-Founder and Chief Product and Technology Officer of MobileROI, the only situation- and context-aware mobile marketing automation platform that helps brands build stronger relationships, deepen loyalty and grow revenue on mobile.

Named to “The Silicon Alley 100: New York's Coolest Tech People In 2010” and “35 Up-And-Coming Entrepreneurs You Need To Meet” by Business Insider magazine, Bhatia has also written a technical book for IBM Redbooks, “WebSphere for z/OS V6 Connectivity Handbook” and participated in The Wall Street Journal’s 2013 startup documentary series.

Bhatia received her Master’s Degree in Information Systems in 2001. She speaks five languages, has taught yoga, and is an aspiring Ayurvedic chef, which involves balanced cooking to promote wellbeing. 

Alexa von Tobel

Founder, LearnVest


Alexa von Tobel is the Founder and CEO of, and the New York Times- Bestselling Author of Financially Fearless. Alexa launched LearnVest in 2009 with the goal of making financial planning affordable, accessible and even delightful. 

Alexa serves as an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), and she was selected as a 2011 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, named to the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2011, honored as a 2012 Fortune Most Powerful Women Entrepreneur, and named a Scholar at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. She has been included on a variety of lists such as: Vanity Fair’s 2011 Next Establishment; Fortune’s “40 Under 40: Ones to Watch”; Business Insider’s Silicon Alley 100; Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30; Businessweek’s “Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs”; and Marie Claire’s “Women on Top.”

Since launching LearnVest, Alexa has been widely quoted as a personal finance expert and entrepreneur in top tier business and consumer outlets. She is a columnist for Cosmopolitan and Inc. Magazine and hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM, “Financially Fearless with Alexa von Tobel.” She has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, Fast Company, Inc., Elle, Forbes, InStyle, Mashable, TechCrunch, VentureBeat and many more. In addition, Alexa has appeared on several local and national television shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Katie, CNN’s Your Money, and The Rachael Ray Show.

Alexa has spoken at nationally renowned events and conferences, including TEDxWallStreet, SXSW, Inc.’s GrowCo Conference, NY Ideas Festival, Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored, and Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference.

Originally from Florida, Alexa received an A.B. in Psychology at Harvard College. Upon graduation, she worked as a trader at Morgan Stanley on their Proprietary Trading Desk before leaving to serve as Head of Business Development at, a venture backed startup in NYC. She enrolled in Harvard Business School in the fall of 2008, but took a formal leave of absence shortly after to launch LearnVest.

LearnVest is a program for your money. They facilitate a personalized process in which they help their clients know their numbers, learn the why behind them, and take action on both a daily and long-term basis. More specifically, we integrate financial analysis and recommendations with behavioral change strategies to help people reach their goals. 

Payal Kadakia & Mary Biggins

Co-Founders, ClassPass


@PayalKadakia  @marybiggins

Payal Kadakia is the CEO and Co-Founder of ClassPass, a membership program that provides people of all fitness levels access to the best boutique studio classes across the US. Since its launch in 2013, ClassPass has facilitated 2 million reservations across 2,500 studios in 28 cities. Payal is also the Founder and Artistic Director of The Sa Dance Company, founded in 2009 with the mission to increase awareness of Indian Dance in the mainstream and serve as a platform for expressing the Indian-American identity through movement. Payal previously worked as a consultant at Bain & Company and holds a degree in Operations Research from MIT.

Mary has nearly 10 years of marketing, product, and sales experience. She has a unique blend of experience creating marketing strategies for both big brands and micro businesses. She’s built marketing campaigns for big brands like the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and Disney. She’s also helped nearly a million small businesses grow as the manager of Vistaprint’s Canadian site, which is valuable to all of the fitness studios (also micro businesses!) that she works with at Classtivity. Mary holds a BA from Colby College.

ClassPass is the hottest new way to work out. A monthly fitness membership program that lets you go to the best boutique fitness studios. ClassPass members enjoy greater variety and engagement in their fitness regime, all at a lower price than if they were to book classes individually on their own. 


Chantel Waterbury

Founder, Chloe + Isabel

Chantel Waterbury is the founder and CEO of Chloe & Isabel, a social commerce jewelry company. Chantel launched Chloe + Isabel after a 15 year tenure in the corporate jewelry industry. She developed, designed and sourced jewelry for brands such as Kenneth Cole, Gap Inc., Macy's, Nordstrom, Target, Kohl's and specialty retailers, and served as Director of Luxury Jewelry for DFS, a division of LVMH. Chantel's interest in the direct selling space stemmed from her years at Santa Clara University, where she paid her way through college selling Cutco Cutlery, and was recognized as the top producer in the Western U.S. and spent more than a decade in the jewelry departments of Target,Gap and Macy's. She regularly guest lectures at Santa Clara University, San Francisco State University, and several specialty fashion and design schools, on topics ranging from product development to retail math and merchandising.

Chloe + Isabel is an innovative e-commerce jewelry brand designed to empower and connect women through a social shopping experience. Sold exclusively through their Merchandiser community and online, Chloe + Isabel provides customers with a one-stop shop for gorgeous handcrafted jewelry.

Jennifer Fleiss & Jennifer Hyman

Co-Founders, Rent The Runway


Jennifer Fleiss is the President and Co-Founder of Rent the Runway, the premier online destination for designer dress and accessory rentals. Jenny and her Co-Founder, Jennifer Hyman, have built the company to include a revolving roster of over 150 designer brands, 25,000 dresses, 120 employees, and over 2 million members. 

In 2007, Jenny began at Harvard Business School, where she met Jennifer Hyman. As sectionmates, the two women would meet frequently to discuss entrepreneurial ideas, one of which was Rent the Runway. Designed to solve the common “closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear” problem, Jenn and Jenny launched Rent the Runway in November 2009.

Prior to Harvard Business School, Jenny worked at Morgan Stanley in the Strategic Planning Group crafting long-term company strategy. She then moved on to Lehman Brothers’ Asset Management Group where she was responsible for analyzing business growth opportunities through acquisitions, international expansion, and new product strategies.

Jenny received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 2005 graduating Cum Laude, and her Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 2009.

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Carol Barash

Founder, Story2


An award-winning author, teacher, and education innovator. She founded Story2 because she's committed to a shared future where everyone, from every background, can tell their stories and pursue their boldest dreams. Carol has been counseling students on college admissions for over 20 years. She has taught at Princeton, the University of Michigan. Rutgers University and served on the Douglass College admissions committee. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale University, received full scholarships and completed her MA at the University of Virginia and her PhD at Princeton University.

Story2 unlocks human achievement through online storytelling, tools, and community. Their roots lie in working with high school students through the grueling college admissions process. They have taught over 15,000 students from across the U.S. and around the world to build the confidence to reveal what matters and show how they will make a difference. 

Also, be sure to check out 20 Questions with Carol Barash