Entrepreneurship isn’t just for the boys. It might be something of a “boy’s club” mentality in the startup world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t women who have eviscerated the glass ceiling in order to pave the way for all hardworking women with bright ideas looking to make their own fortune on their own terms. Like the investors and some of the entrepreneurs of Oxygen's upcoming show Quit Your Day Job, premiering March 30 at 10/9c, these women literally quit their day jobs in order to start their own businesses and they never looked back.
1. Julia Hartz
Chances are if you’ve booked tickets to a cool event or RSVP’d for one in your city, at some point you’ve interacted with Eventbrite. You can thank Julia Hartz for that. Hartz quit her job in the TV industry (previously working at the MTV and FX Networks) in 2006 in order to pursue her start up dreams with her husband. Together they co-founded Eventbrite, a company which manages the e-commerce of ticket sales. Eventbrite is now valued at over 1 billion, so it’s likely that Hartz hasn’t given a second thought to leaving her Monday to Friday.
2. Sukhinder Singh Cassidy
Founder of Joyus, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is no joke. Previously the CEO at shopping aggregator Polyvore, she’s also worked at Google, Amazon, Yodlee and News Corp. In 2010 she quit being the boss at someone else’s company to be the boss at her own, and so Joyus was born. A video based e-commerce site drawing together editorial video content with shopping, last year Joyus raised $24 million in captial.
3. Aslaug Magnusdottir
Aslaug Magnusdottir’s achievements are awe inspiring. She’s got an MBA from Harvard Business School, an LLM from Duke University and an Undergraduate Law Degree from the University of Iceland. Quitting her job as VP at Gilt Group to start Moda Operandi with Lauren Santo Domingo in 2010, Magnusdottir was destined for success. Moda Operandi is a company that allows fashionista to pre-order luxury items straight from the runway. Last year the company was valued at $330 million--an impressive 90 percent increase from the year before.
4. Caterina Fake
Maybe you’ve heard of a little photo sharing site called Flickr. Created by Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield (her husband at the time), Flickr is, like all the companies on this list, the product of a woman quitting her day job to pursue her own business. Fake was 35 when she quit her job as the Art Director of Salon.com to found Flickr in 2002, which they sold to Yahoo three years later for between $22 and $25 million. She went on to found the taste graphing app Hunch which she sold to eBay for a rumoured $80 million. So Fake isn’t doing too badly since quitting her day job.
5. Tracy Sun
Tracy Sun is another impressive student, having received her MBA from Dartmouth College. After working for two years as the Vice President of Merchandising and Inventory Planning for Brooklyn Industries (also founded by a woman), she quit in 2007 to start her own company. In 2007 she started the site Est. Today for young girls to design and create their own style, and in 2010 she co-founded Poshmark with Manish Chandra and Chetan Pungaliya, a smart phone shopping and selling app. Last year Poshmark announced outside backing at over $47 million.
6. Anita Roddick
This is a little bit of an older story but no less inspiring. Anita Roddick quit her day job running a hotel and restaurant to start a little global phenomenon called The Body Shop in 1976. Thirty years later, Roddick sold her now public company to L’Oreal for a reported $1.4 billion. These days there are more than 2.5k Body Shops worldwide.
7. Rashmi Sinha
At the end of a list of such impressive women, be prepared to have your socks blown off one more time by Rashmi Sinha. Sinha has a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology from Brown University (just nod along like you know what that is), and was doing lab work before she got bored and decided to cut out on her own. So she began by co-founding Uzanto, a consulting company (working with eBay and Blue Shield among others), launching a product called MindCanvas in 2005 and then SlideShare a year later in 2006. In 2012, LinkedIn purchased SlideShare, the world’s biggest presentation sharing community, for $119 million.
Four investors turn big ideas into big business on Oxygen’s new docuseries, Quit Your Day Job, premiering Wed., March 30 at 10/9c.