35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry
We want to introduce to you these trailblazing young women who are making incredible advancements in the tech industry. Learn about their stories and what inspires them to make notable contributions to technology and keep up with its rapid changes.
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Ruzwana Bashir, 31, cofounder and CEO, peek.com As a frequent traveler, Bashir often found that researching fun activities was time-consuming and frustrating. "I couldn't understand why something like OpenTable for activities didn't exist," she says, so she decided to start something herself. Peek.com helps travelers find and book excursions — like a Segway cheesesteak tour in Philly or kitesurfing lessons in Maui — online. It's a concept others in the tech industry believe in too. The company has a group of A-list investors including Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Twitter's Jack Dorsey, and Apple selected the app to be on all in-store iPhones nationwide. What makes her proud: Bashir, who grew up in a British Pakistani community in the U.K., recently went public about being sexually abused as a child. "As a successful entrepreneur, I felt I owed it to my community to speak out about these issues," she says, and her abuser was ultimately convicted of criminal charges. Photo courtesy of subject
Ayah Bdeir, 32, founder and CEO, littleBits Electronics "I imagine a world where, just as you go online and design your own window shades, you will be able to design your own electronic products; everyone becomes an inventor," says Bdeir. Her company, littleBits, makes electronic building blocks that allow customers to build the technology that would, say, make a teddy bear light up or control an air conditioner with an iPhone. Her market: everyone from kids to engineers who are prototyping new products. Her big vision: "Electronics are controlling our lives," she says. "Yet the tech world is an industry controlled in a top-down fashion by big companies, so there's a slow cycle of innovation. We want to make hardware innovation limitless and put the power of electronics in everyone's hands." Photo courtesy of subject
Laura Borel, 26, product manager, Jawbone Borel's "aha!" moment came during a trip to an amusement park, where she noticed a concerning number of overweight children. In 2011 her idea became a reality when she founded Nutrivise, an app that delivers personalized meal recommendations to its users, which Jawbone acquired two and a half years later. Now product manager for Jawbone's Up wristband, she focuses on nutrition and weight management and is responsible for features like the daily "Today I Will" health challenges that encourage users to do things like log extra steps or drink eight glasses of water. What she hopes to accomplish through technology: "My ultimate vision is that we're able to solve major issues like obesity and malnutrition," says Borel. "To be able to get into this tech space and leverage the tools we have to reach millions of people...makes such a difference." Photo courtesy of subject
Leah Busque, 35, founder and CEO, TaskRabbit The idea for TaskRabbit came to Busque one wintery night in 2008 when she was confronted with a hungry pup and an empty dog food bowl. "I thought, Wouldn't it be nice if there was someone online we could connect to and have them get us some dog food?" Four months later she quit her job at IBM to build the first version of TaskRabbit. Now the platform, which allows users to outsource home services to pre-vetted "taskers," is in 19 U.S. cities with more on the way. Says Busque, "We want to revolutionize the way people work on a global scale." What makes her proud: "The impact we have on people's lives." A San Francisco mom once used TaskRabbit to find someone to visit and bring healthy meals to her Boston-based son, who was having chemotherapy. "It turned out to be another mom," says Busque, and the two families formed a cross-country bond. Photo courtesy of subject
Rebecca Garcia, 23, developer evangelist, Squarespace, and co-founder, CoderDojo NYC Garcia's day job is at the website-building platform Squarespace, where she splits her time between coding, community development, and education. But her weekends are spent at CoderDojo, an international nonprofit whose New York City chapter she co-founded. Drawing from New York's tech community, she runs workshops with about 100 youths per month, signing on mentors who teach kids aged seven to 17 web, game, and app development. Notable achievements: Last year Garcia became the youngest person ever to receive a White House Champion of Change Award for Tech Inclusion. Photo courtesy of subject
Laura I. Gómez, 35, cofounder, Vyv Gómez earned her tech chops at Twitter, where she managed Twitter en Español and was a founding member of their international team, responsible for expanding the social network to 28 languages. She then played a similar role at Jawbone. Now she's launching her own company, Vyv, "a game-ified Reddit," she says. Users will publish content and get paid for it according to its popularity using the virtual currency Bitcoin. What she's most proud of: She's active: "We're trying to make sure we bridge the gap between technology and public policy," she says. Photo courtesy of subject
Sara Haider, 28, lead Android engineer, Secret Haider and her older sister taught themselves coding when Haider was just nine years old, spending hours building websites for each other about the things that interested them (i.e., the Backstreet Boys). Today her skills are being utilized as the lead Android engineer for Secret, a new social network that lets you share honestly, and anonymously, with your friends. Before becoming Secret's first engineer, Haider worked at Twitter and built its Vine for Android app. What she's most proud of: Securing sponsorship and seed funding for Girls Who Code when it was just getting off the ground (Haider is an advisor to the organization). "You've got to go back to the next generation of kids," she says. "Statistics show that around seventh or eighth grade, girls become less interested [than boys] in math and science, but before that their interest is the same. It's important to remind girls that this is a career option." Photo courtesy of subject
Rachel Haot, 31, chief digital officer and deputy secretary for technology, New York State After founding GroundReport, one of the earliest global citizen-journalism platforms, in 2006, Haot made the shift to public service, acting as chief digital officer for New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg for three years before continuing on to a similar position at the state level under Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "Day to day, my goal is to improve your digital experience with New York State government," she says. In addition to overseeing a complete overhaul of ny.gov, Haot is also charged with promoting Start-Up NY, which offers tax incentives for companies to launch and create jobs in New York. What got her hooked: "Technology is changing every aspect of our society," she says. "[It's powerful to] be able to participate in that from a design, engineering, or user perspective — they're all exciting ways to impact the world." Photo courtesy of subject See the full list on Glamour.com.