Meet the Female CEOs of the 2022 Cloud 100 List

IIn a world where women make up about half of the world’s population but are historically less present in cutting-edge industries, women in the Cloud 100 dominate a heavily male-dominated space: enterprise technology.

This year’s list includes eight out of 100 female-led startups, up from six last year, which focus on edtech, e-commerce, SaaS, and more. However, this is still a lower percentage than the total number of founders among all unicorns, which according to Crunchbase data is 12%. A 2021 analysis of Pitchbook data pegged the number of enterprise tech companies with at least one female founder at just 2%.

For Mathilde Collin, the CEO of Front, one of the newcomers to the Cloud 100 2022 list which is ranked at 100, the shortage of women in space is shocking. She said Forbes that when Front announced its recent $65 million fundraising round, its team went to Crunchbase to research other software-as-a-service companies founded and run by women who were also valued at $1 billion or more. They only found another 10 out of 1,360, Collin said.

“I was blown away. I always knew it was pretty bad,” she says. “I’ve never played the gender card because my struggle is not to differentiate between men and women. But I think it’s just worth noting, because it can inspire people. other people.” Collin lobbied for gender equality at Front, and now women make up more than 50% of Front’s managers and 80% of its leadership team.

The highest-ranked female-led company on this year’s list is Canva, which takes third place. CEO Melanie Perkins launched Canva with Cameron Adams and now-husband Cliff Obrecht in 2013. The company started as a small directory design company and has since catapulted itself into a $40 billion powerhouse. The online graphic design tool has helped school organizations, social media managers, students, and businesses to create compelling images. “Our company mission is to enable the world to design. And we really mean the whole world,” Perkins said. Forbes in 2019.

Guild Education, an education platform committed to helping the nation’s largest employers build benefits programs that allow employees to attend college for free, keeps it at number 32. The woman behind the machine $553 million is Rachel Carlson, a native of Colorado. Carlson has a long history with Forbes, as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Hall of Fame inductee and 2017 alumnus of the 30 Under 30 list. She also holds a spot on the list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. After having a rocky start to her career where she said no one told her how equity and pay go together, Carlson decided to do things differently when she founded Guild Education in 2015.

“I just felt like I could do something different in my own business and teach everyone the value of fairness,” she said. Forbes in 2021. “Now all employees have positions of $15,000 or more.”


“I just felt this real sense of burden, like I had to get it right.”

–Karen Peacock


LaunchDarkly, co-founded by Edith Harbaugh in 2014, isn’t too far behind at number 34. Harbaugh has established herself as a leader in her industry, having previously served as a judge for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Enterprise Technology list of 2022. The company is valued at $3 billion, something the co-founder and CEO attributes to LaunchDarkly’s ability to meet the needs of its customers and employees. “We got there by delighting our customers, making our customers huge fans of what we do, and also taking care of the team,” Harbaugh said. Forbes earlier this year. With 532 employees and big-name clients like IBM and Grubhub, the software feature management company has proven it can grow year after year.

Karen Peacock had a passion for technology at a young age, taking up STEM tutoring jobs as a high school student. She is now CEO of one of the largest tech companies in the United States. Intercom, which takes 35th place in this year’s list, is a $1.2 billion customer communications platform with top-tier customers like Meta, Contentful and Microsoft. During a 2019 SXSW panel, she spoke about being the only woman in male-dominated spaces.

“In a lot of settings I was in, especially back then, I was the only woman. I just felt this real sense of burden, like I had to get it right,” Peacock said. Otherwise, I’d drop my gender.” Peacock is proud to support women in tech and create space for more women to occupy it.

Bernadette Nixon is the CEO of the new Cloud 100 company Algolia. The API search and discovery platform sits at number 39 on this year’s list. In addition to being led by women, more than 50% of its employees identify as women, according to a company-wide survey, which is unprecedented in the tech industry. Nixon explained that Algolia was created with the user in mind and hopes its 12,500 customers will use the platform for inspiration. “It fuels research in apps and websites, but it also inspires people on this journey of discovery,” she said.

Born in Israel, Eynat Guez has over 20 years of global workforce management experience which she used to her advantage when founding Papaya Global in 2016. The company is one of the fastest growing startups in Israel, with a valuation of $3.7 billion and a year on year revenue growth rate of 300%. The company moved up 24 places from last year’s list to 74. As CEO, Eynat sees diversity as a core company value, with half of its 200 employees identifying as women.

Co-founder and CEO Laura Behrens Wu founded Shippo in 2014 alongside a classmate as an online store. But the two switched to shipping once they noticed that their peers who owned other online stores were having trouble sending their products to customers.

“It was such an obvious issue when we first started running our online business. When it comes to shipping, it’s still a pretty hard thing to figure out,” Behrens Wu said. billion-dollar e-commerce shipping form rose to 85th place, up nine places from 2021. Born in Germany, Behrens Wu attended college in Switzerland. United in 2013 for an internship and has since remained at Shippo’s headquarters in San Francisco.

Although this year’s list features more women-led businesses than there have been in previous years, there are still pitfalls in the startup space that need to be addressed, particularly the shortfall in funding. According to Pitchbook, companies founded solely by women accrued just 2% of all VC-backed funding between 2020 and 2021, while companies with at least one female founder received 15.6% of funding. . Women make up just 2.4% of startup founders, and there are also fewer women in the venture capital space, with women making up just 12% of executives at venture capital firms.

Another issue women running startups face is the pay gap. According to Kruze Consulting, in 2022 the average startup CEO salary is $150,000. Male CEOs earn on average about $3,000 more than that, while female CEOs sit more than $17,000 less than average. Fewer support dollars means female CEOs are likely to earn lower salaries.

There are reasons for hope, however: Pitchbook found that venture capital funding for female-led startups increased by 83% between 2020 and 2021.

“The B2B space seems to be really male-dominated,” Behrens Wu said. ideal for starting businesses.”

Alex Konrad and Michaella Huck contributed reporting.

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