Culture

Women-Led Ventures in Commerce Primed for Enterprise Success in 2024

Thalita Uba
Thalita Uba March 8, 2024
Women-Led Ventures in Commerce Primed for Enterprise Success in 2024

Do you know what Cisco, Fenty Beauty, CreditKarma, 23andMe, and Spanx have in common? They were all founded by women. 

From tech stalwarts to retail juggernauts, women have overcome significant barriers to launch some of the most successful businesses across a variety of industries. 

Today, we’re highlighting the next generation of women-owned B2C and B2B businesses* that are poised to become enterprise market leaders in commerce. 

* While we admire and acknowledge the potential of these women-led businesses, it’s important to clarify that they are not associated with our merchant ecosystem, ensuring an unbiased perspective.

These founders attribute their success to grit and resilience

Webee (United States), Fler (Italy)

The one quality you need to thrive

Cecilia Flores, founder and COO at industrial IoT startup Webee, founded a company that boasts brands such as Colgate-Palmolive, Coca-Cola, and Syngenta as customers. 

“True entrepreneurial grit” is the quality that has contributed most to her success, she told Crunchbase, adding that her personal mantra is “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.” Founded in Argentina and based in the United States, Webee last year closed a round of funding that will help the company scale across the United States and Latin America. 

The reality behind the dream

Allegra Violante started Fler to eradicate the taboo around hair removal. The Italy-based brand, which offers a variety of vegan, cruelty-free hair removal products, raised € 380,000 last year

As any founder knows, such accomplishments don’t come easily. In a LinkedIn post celebrating her company’s two-year anniversary, Violante wrote, “I don’t want to make you believe that it’s all a dream: behind it there are years of work, sleepless nights, moments of up and moments of down, because it’s a continuous roller coaster.” 

But the hard work is clearly paying off for Violante and her team: after just two years in operation, Fler products are sold in more than 250 stores in Italy, and the new funding will help Violante expand its presence abroad. 

These women-led businesses are driving outsized financial growth

ByNV (Brazil), High Street Essentials (India)

From followers to loyal buyers

In Brazil, Nati Vozza parlayed her 1.3 million Instagram followers into a successful retail business. Her fashion brand, ByNV, was acquired in 2020 by Brazilian fashion conglomerate Grupo Soma. Thanks to Vozza’s savvy marketing and customer experience, ByNV represents 10% of Grupo Soma’s total gross revenue, despite representing only 2% of the group’s physical stores. 

Bootstrapping their dream business

In India, Tanvi Malik and Shivani Poddar poured their savings into their dream of launching an ecommerce startup, which they bootstrapped for several years. Today, High Street Essentials—which comprises the fashion brands FabAlley and Indya—is a retail juggernaut, driving Rs 192 crore (approximately USD 23 million) in net sales in 2023

“When you start with USD 5,000,000 in the bank and hire 50 people up front, you will never get the gist of the business because you’ve done top-level work and you’ve never really gone into the detail,” Poddar told Forbes India. “Here, we built it from the bottom up.”

These women are cultivating the next generation of innovators

Guidea (United States), Manzana Verde (Peru) 

Putting her money where her mouth is

Theresa Neil doesn’t just talk about supporting femtech (women’s health technology) entrepreneurs—she also funds them. The CEO of Guidea, a digital health product design consultancy in the United States, Neil also runs Femovate, a sponsorship program for early-stage femtech startups. 

Over the past decade, Guidea has helped companies bring hundreds of digital health solutions to market. The company estimates that 660 million patients, consumers, providers, and payers across the globe use its product designs. Through Femovate, Neil aims to make sure that companies devoted to women’s health have the same opportunities to innovate and scale. 

Fostering inspirational encounters

When Larissa Arias founded Manzana Verde, a Peru-based food delivery company focused on healthy options, she got invaluable assistance from the Universidad de Piura’s (UDEP) innovation hub. Entrepreneurs at the hub connected her to players in the food delivery ecosystem and offered her a safe environment. 

Today, Larissa frequently participates in networking events and mentoring programs in hopes that she can help the next generation of entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life. “Other entrepreneurs greatly inspired me on my journey,” she wrote on Instagram. “You never know when a new alliance, key customer, strategic supplier or even friendship will emerge that will transform your trajectory.” 

Conquering other fields prepared these women to become founders

Nykaa (India), Holistix (Brazil), Unobravo (Italy)

An investment banker reaps the rewards of fiscal discipline

Falguni Nayar launched Nykaa in India in 2012 after a successful career in investment banking. The beauty and cosmetics ecommerce company went public in a blockbuster IPO in 2021. Today, Nayar is “India’s richest self-made woman billionaire”—and she credits her background in finance for helping her build a wildly successful business. 

At Kotak Mahindra Capital, she learned the importance of sustainability. “Only companies that create long-term sustainable value for shareholders, customers, and everyone in the ecosystem survive and thrive,” she told Forbes India. Nykaa’s success is a testament to how deeply Nayar has learned and applied that lesson. 

Healthier people, healthier business

Nathalia Simões also leveraged her experience in finance to start and grow a company. After a career in mergers and acquisitions at Spain’s Key Capital Partners, she created Holistix in Brazil with Nicole Vendramini, an expert marketer who worked at Nestlé and Unilever. 

As they navigated the pandemic, their shared experience was essential to helping them close an investment round and carefully scale their business into an omnichannel platform that sells directly, through distributors, and even at physical stores. “We gained visibility because we were already prepared when people realized the real importance of health and well-being,” she told Vogue

Scaling psychological support

In Italy, Unobravo is a marketplace that connects mental health professionals with people seeking therapy. Founder Danila De Stefano knows firsthand the importance of increasing access to high-quality mental health services. Not only is she a psychologist, but she struggled to get care during a stressful period after completing university and moving abroad, facing “exorbitant costs” and “long waiting lists.” 

She started out by providing psychological support to other expats. The demand was so high that she quickly needed to figure out how to scale. Today, more than 160,000 patients have received care through Unobravo, which recently closed a new round of funding led by top-tier venture capital firms Northzone and Insight Partners. 

These women-led startups are going global

Ben & Frank (Mexico), Livy (France)

Seeing a multinational future

Mariana Castillo launched Ben & Frank to provide stylish, affordable eyewear to consumers in Latin America. By 2021, the company was running 55 stores in Mexico, delivering 70% of orders in three or fewer days. In 2023, Ben & Frank secured additional investment to help it expand across Latin America. 


France-based lingerie maker LIVY offers collections whose names imply the brand’s global ambitions: Paris, New York, and Los Angeles. “We are working towards global domination, so nothing huge!” jokes Lisa Chavy, the name behind the brand. 

Chavy has brought her dream of international growth to reality by focusing on partnerships with global retailers, including Selfridges in the United Kingdom and Victoria’s Secret in the United States. 

Celebrating women’s accomplishments—on IWD and beyond

This list is by no means exhaustive, since women are rapidly closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reports that “one in three high-growth innovation-oriented entrepreneurs are women.” These are just a few of the women leaders who are delivering exciting new products and services—and breaking down barriers along the way. 

On International Women’s Day, and every day, VTEX celebrates and honors women breaking down barriers in business. Click here to learn how we’re investing in improving diversity and representation within our company.

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