25 Founder Stories for Case Studies

25 Founder Stories for Case Studies

As a founder, it is helpful to have sources of inspiration and stories that show how persistence can pay off. So it was nice to find some timelines that chronicle the ups and downs of founding a startup:

Unfortunately, these examples all have male founders, so Jill Finlayson, director of the Women in Tech Initiative, reached out to Anna Vital, founder of Adioma, who created the useful tools that were used to generate those company timelines and other infographics.

The Women in Tech Initiative would like to see timelines for at least six of the companies below. It would be a great way to balance the gender representation and share insights into the persistence these women founders demonstrated. If you would like to work with us to help research, interview, and visualize more startup journeys, please contact witi@berkeley.edu.

25 Female Founder Stories

If you are looking for startup stories to share in classes and business schools — these founder stories are a great place to start. Please use them and join the mission to make business school cases more diverse!

  1. How 23andMe Started — Anne Wojcicki (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  2. How ActOne Group Started — Janice Bryant Howroyd (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  3. How Bumble Started — Whitney Wolfe Herd (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2, 3)
  4. How CISCO Started — Sandy Lerner (LinkedIn/Bio Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2, 3)
  5. How Cloudflare Started — Michelle Zatlyn (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  6. How Eight Started — Alexandra Zatarain (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  7. How Eventbrite Started — Julia Hartz (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story1, 2)
  8. How Flickr Started — Caterina Fake (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  9. How Glossier Started — Emily Weiss (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story1, 2)
  10. How Houzz Started — Adi Tatarko (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2, 3)
  11. How Lynda.com Started — Lynda Weinman (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2, 3)
  12. How Madison Reed Started — Amy Errett (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  13. How Maker’s Row Started — Tanya Menendez (LinkedIn WikipediaFounding Story 1, 2)
  14. How Marvell Started — Weili Dai (LinkedIn/bio Wikipedia Founding Story1, 2)
  15. How Medalia Started — Amy Pressman (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2, 3)
  16. How NewMe Started — Angela Benton (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  17. How Nextdoor Started — Sarah Leary (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story1, 2)
  18. How NingMighty Networks Started — Gina Bianchini (LinkedIn WikipediaFounding Story 1, 2)
  19. How Popvox Started — Marci Harris (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story1, 2)
  20. How Quanergy Systems Started — Tianyue Yu (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  21. How Rent the Runway Started — Jennifer Hyman (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  22. How Siebel Systems Started — Patricia House (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2)
  23. How Spanx Started — Sara Blakely (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2, 3)
  24. How VMware Started — Diane Greene (LinkedIn/bio Wikipedia Founding Story 12, 3)
  25. How Y Combinator Started — Jessica Livingston (LinkedIn Wikipedia Founding Story 1, 2, 3)


The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners.

To learn more about CITRIS, sign up for our newsletter: bit.ly/SubscribeCITRIS