We have witnessed some exciting growth in the tech industry over the past few years, with new companies headed by driven and dynamic leaders springing up all over the globe. But with an increasing focus on workplace equality, it is notable that the tech industry (including the SaaS sector) is still predominantly male-dominated. In fact, women leaders are somewhat of a rarity in this industry, with only 19% of the entire tech workforce being made up of females.
We are offered a strong glimmer of hope however that this is set to change. Despite the current imbalance, we are seeing an increasing number of female powerhouses founding and taking over leadership roles in exciting SaaS companies.
This month we celebrate International Women’s Day, and in the spirit of this significant day, we have rounded up a list of some of these inspiring women leaders working in SaaS, from female SaaS CEOs to company founders. They are not only pioneers but also serve as role models to future female leaders. Let us take a look at some of these women now.
As a woman, mother, and tech chief executive officer, Anjali Sud is proving that women most certainly can do it all. Becoming the CEO of Vimeo at the relatively young age of 34, Anjali can be credited with taking Vimeo to soaring heights by firmly believing in the power of video and being equipped with a clear vision to know how to best deploy this power.
In Anjali’s first 90 days as CEO, she made a careful assessment of the strength and weaknesses of the company, while building a dynamic strategy and team to ensure future growth. What she concluded was that Vimeo should not be competing with the mass of consumer video companies out there, but instead carve out its own niche market. Vimeo was essentially then reinvented as a SaaS company that served video creators and brands by encouraging video uploads, while also introducing game-changing new tools such as video editing software and live streaming.
By 2021, Vimeo had evolved into a thriving public company listed on Nasdaq. By the end of 2022, Vimeo became recognized as the global leader in SaaS video, with a net worth of $815.28 million.
As the epitome of a courageous and forward-thinking female, Anjali has spoken out about the challenges faced as a woman in the tech industry. Instead of viewing her gender as a drawback, however, she sees it as an advantage with the belief that it is our differences that forge our invaluable unique perspectives.
Not only is Susan Kuo the highly successful chief operating officer of Singular, the leading platform for marketing analytics and mobile attribution known for simplifying marketing data, but she is also a passionate advocate for women in tech.
Leveraging her extensive experience in mobile and marketing technology, Susan played a significant role in driving Singular to become an integral player in the growth of many prominent clients, such as LinkedIn, Lyft, Amazon, and Airbnb.
Susan’s success doesn’t stop at her work as the COO of Singular though. Devoted to the upliftment of women, Susan helped organize the launch of THRIVE – an initiative with the goal to create a community for women in tech to grow, learn and share. Says Susan, “There are more women in our industry today than ever before. Women are now holding roles as key decision-makers,” adding “But there’s still room to grow.” With Susan as a role model and driving force, we have no doubt she will play a significant role in making this growth happen.
As chief product officer and chief innovation officer at BetterUp, Dr. Gabriella Kellerman is a SaaS leader that is focusing her expertise on a company that offers a unique product. In short, BetterUp is the leading mobile personalized coaching experience for professionals. BetterUp combines science and coaching to transform the attitudes and behaviors of professionals, leading to increased productivity and enhanced mental well-being.
With current global HR trends pointing towards a prominent focus on companies to provide better mental health support to their workforces, BetterUp is a company that is set to go from strength to strength. Valued at a colossal $4.7 billion in 2021, BetterUp has been deemed the largest mental health and coaching startup in the world. And Gabriella, the woman who plays such a central and important role in this progressive SaaS company, can be credited with much of its success.
A woman of many talents, Gabriella is also an author, entrepreneur, and Harvard-trained physician. With a keen interest in workplace mental health, Gabriella is leveraging her expertise with a solution to help the modern employee to reach their maximum potential, proving how modern technology can be used to assist with global human well-being issues.
Melanie Perkins, the chief executive officer of the online design platform Canva, has confirmed that there is no age limit when it comes to coming up with a brilliant idea. In fact, Melanie was only 19 when she thought up the concept for Canva, and what started as her side hustle is now a thriving company with hundreds of thousands of subscribers in over 190 countries.
While at university, Melanie recognized that design software was not accessible to everyone, especially those who could not afford the cost of the software or those who could not spend the time learning complex design systems. Incredible tenacity was required to bring this idea to life, with Melanie being rejected by 100 venture capitalists. However, proving them all wrong, her startup is now the most valuable in the world.
A role model in a number of ways, and especially to young girls deciding if a career in tech is possible, Melanie is one of the youngest female CEOs of a tech start-up valued at over $1 billion Australian dollars.
In addition to her work at Canva, Melanie is also an ardent advocate for education and has been part of a number of initiatives that encourage young people, particularly girls, to pursue careers in technology.
Recognized as a market leader by industry analysts, Creatio is a platform that allows the automation of workflows and CRM with no coding required – therefore also improving accessibility to a wider audience. And the woman behind this dynamic company is founder and chief executive officer, Katherine Kostereva, who has gained a considerable amount of recognition as a formidable woman in SaaS, also being named one of The Top 50 Women Leaders in SaaS of 2021.
Thanks to Katherine’s finely honed leadership skills, she has played an integral role in growing Creatio into a global company with more than 700 employees in five offices around the world, plus a local presence in 14 countries.
But far from conventional in her leadership approach, Katherine pushes the envelope in terms of the image that traditional leadership portrays. For example, in October 2019, when Creatio established its new name, she sky-dived from a plane with over 160 other of her employees to launch the new name in the sky.
Katherine is also a supporter of a number of social and environmental initiatives, including a “Green Office” program, which promotes energy conservation and environmental awareness.
We have no doubt it’s going to be a case of onward and upwards for this fearless and spirited SaaS leader.
Women Leaders in SaaS are Here to Stay
The uprising that we are witnessing of female SaaS leaders and CEOs in the tech industry is a very promising step in the right direction – not only in terms of achieving equality in this sector but also in breaking those ingrained preconceptions about who a typical SaaS leader should be.
The increase of powerful female SaaS leaders is also imperative for creating role models who can inspire other young females to break into this traditionally male environment. Change is most certainly coming as the world wakes up to the fact that equality is the only option for the future.
And with this in mind, we watch in anticipation as to how the SaaS leadership landscape shifts – while also celebrating these female SaaS pioneers and following their extraordinary journeys.
A healthy work-life balance and the mental and physical well-being of employees are key to building and sustaining a happy, productive team. Read more about 5 Ways To Build a Healthy, Happy Remote SaaS Team