Five international women leaders under 30

Last updated 18 Feb 2016 . 3 min read

Some of them run billion dollar companies and some others created niche products that boost social good. Let’s get to know of some women leaders from across the borders who “did that little something different” well before they were 30.

Nanxi Liu

Liu started her first company, Nanoly Bioscience—which develops and sells polymers that allow vaccines to be stored without refrigeration—while still a senior at UC Berkeley. Then, she got the itch to create something totally different: a new operating system for digital displays in public spaces. Nanxi founded Enplug three years ago to help businesses like stadiums, malls, stores and hotels distribute and manage content across display screens. Now the 25-year-old entrepreneur's service is being used in countries such as Nigeria and Slovakia, as well as in the U.S.

Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO, Uncharted Play

Matthews came up with the idea to harness play time to create energy during her junior year at Harvard, when she participated in a class project to create clean energy from soccer. Uncharted Play currently offers two products, a soccer ball and a jump rope—both of which harvest energy while in use. One hour of kicking around the soccer ball can power a light for three hours. With each purchase of one of the products, Unchartered Play donates an energy-harnessing toy to a child in the developing world.

Jessica Billingsley, co-founder, COO, MJ Freeway

Billingsley saw a need for a software platform for business operation in the cannabis industry after investing in one of Boulder, Colo.'s first dispensaries. Joining forces with Amy Poinsett, who owned a local web development firm, she decided to fill that niche herself, creating MJ Freeway. "We were the first cannabis-specific software company to enter the market, and we did so believing that when properly regulated and tracked, the opening of cannabis to free trade is good for the economy and the right thing for people who need medical access to cannabis," Billingsley says. The software platform includes tracking and reporting systems that help businesses account for products at every stage of production and sales.

Michelle Zatlyn, co-founder and head of user experience, CloudFlare

More than 5% of the world's web traffic flows through the network of CloudFlare, a service that speeds up websites and gives them enhanced protection from cyber attacks. Websites on the CloudFlare network, on average, load twice as fast and use 60% less bandwidth than those that are now. Zatlyn says that 5,000 new customers sign up for the service, which is valued at $1 billion, every day.

Payal Kadakia, CEO and co-founder, ClassPass

ClassPass is only two years old, but it has already booked more than 7 million fitness class reservations at gyms and studios across the U.S., plus Canada and the UK. In exchange for a monthly fee, the startup gives customers access to thousands of boutique fitness classes in their area. Kadakia says she started the company after trying and failing to find a ballet class in New York City that she could attend. "In that moment, I realized the pain point that most people must experience in staying connected to their hobbies and passions," she says. She was right: Her idea tapped into a fitness craze.

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Radha Sivakumar
Radha Sivakumar is an educationalist and IT Professional. She loves teaching and fixing computers.

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