Need a few new names to add to your list of brilliant women in tech? Then look no further as we bring you five names to familiarise yourself. From Fintech to Impact Tech these women are on a mission to make changes within their communities and become role models for the future.
India Healy O’Connor
India Healy O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Dublin based Xelda, a payments app which allows the user to tip, pay and donate to businesses and charities in our cashless society.
A newbie to the tech start-up world, Healy O’Connor came fresh from the trading floor in London when she left former employer Goldman Sachs last summer, and threw all her energy and finances into her new business. A move she felt came at the right time.
“There were two reasons, I’m young, I’ve no responsibilities and nothing holding me back so I may as well try something whilst I can,” she says. “My risk is capped, and my opportunity has no limits.”
“Effectively, what is the worst that can happen? The app doesn’t work, and I go back into banking, And the best that can happen is this company opens up the world of payments for people and I’ll make some money from it.”
Sound like she has all her bases covered, but what was it that made her want to solve the payments issue?
“Pre-covid I’d been at a comedy gig, and I saw a sign at the bar saying ‘feeling tipsy’ and there was an empty tip jar. I had no cash so I had no way of tipping them,” she says.
Zelda removes the barriers for people who do not want to carry cash but still pay, tip and donate whenever they want to, at a lower rate than most current payments providers.
Kate Bradley Chernis
Kate Bradley Chernis is co-founder and CEO of Lately, an AI powered marketing tool. The New York based software company uses AI to turn blog posts and content into social media posts. This will give you more marketing value from just one piece of content.
Bradley Chernis has had quite an eclectic career path leading up to her leap into AI powered marketing. It might surprise you to know she gave a good period of her career to being a rock and roll DJ. She used to spend her days broadcasting to 20 million listeners and working in a male dominated environment. She credits this experience to her drive to succeed as a female tech founder.
Majoring in fiction writing Bradley Chernis is all about the writing. If you are worried that software like Lately is going to remove the human element of that, then she is here to assure you that’s not the case.
“We are careful to partner AI with humans – at Lately that collaboration is really important because it is just a robot, it has to be guided. We don’t ever want to remove the human from the equation,” she explains.
Sasha Lipman is the founder of Austrian start-up Tech2Impact, a global digital hub for impact tech. The ecosystem supports impact tech start-ups through their journey with introductions, mentoring programmes and fundraising support through an investor network. Basically, if you are looking to grow your impact tech start-up, meet the right people, find the right accelerator programmes or incubators then this is the ecosystem you want to be involved with.
Lipman who is originally from Ukraine is part of the growing trend of young entrepreneurs who are determined to create positive impact on the planet through technology and see impact investing as a huge opportunity for corporates to get onboard with the movement.
“We are building an academy to education different tech practitioners about what to do and what not to do when it comes to using technology, from an ethical perspective,” she says.
“We will go to corporates and convince them to work with impact tech through corporate innovation.”
Just when Lipman was founding the company a friend introduced her to Olga Bratsun who is our next female in tech to have on your radar.
Olga Bratsun is the Start-up Services & Program Lead at Tech2Impact. Originally from Russia, Bratsun has a passion for business and impact. During her studies in business, and headed for a life in corporate business, Bratsun had the epiphany that ‘business just for the sake of making money’ did not resonate with her at all.
“I was looking for ways to use my business knowledge and experience to do something actually meaningful and purposeful,” she explains. “Back then it was known as corporate social responsibility more than purpose driven innovation and impact businesses.”
While working as a consultant in Vienna she was looking to get involved in a start-up and was introduced to Sasha a few months before the launch of Tech2Impact.
This duo is a force to reckoned with and plan to build Tech2Impact to become the leading global network for impact entrepreneurs. They hope that they will be living in an age where all businesses are impact business, and all start-ups start with the idea to solve these issues.
“Me personally, I hope that I will still be alive to witness this,” adds Bratsun.
Indiana Gregg is the founder and CEO of Scottish start-up Wedo a fintech platform aimed at freelancers and those working in the gig economy. Gregg is not wet around the ears when it comes to the start-up sphere. As a serial entrepreneur she founded previous businesses Kerchoonz.com, a music streaming platform which paid artists from the revenue of advertisements and Cosmetic Laboratory of Europe which made nail polish. She also worked some freelance gigs in digital design.
If you think that’s a quite the mix of industries, then wait until I tell you about her career as a singer/songwriter. US born Gregg was a pop recording artist and spend time touring the UK.
Now she is turning her hand to Fintech in a bid to solve a reoccurring issue for freelancers. They pay nearly as much as they earn for every transaction on current payment systems and banking charges. Wedo will provide the payment systems and be the bank. It also provides audio and video services on the platform.
“I got to know freelance platforms very well and had a really good understanding of the pain point in the freelance and the gig economy,” she says. “I decided to launch Wedo.”
Gregg shared her idea with David Jaques, a former CFO at PayPal, and once he was on board, they began to grow the team.
“With skin and sweat and no money for the first nine months until we raised capital,” she says. “Last year we raised $3m to kick start it and we are getting ready to go into full launch mode in the next few months,” she says.
Watch this space.