10 Houston Startups with Female-Founders You Should Know

Image credit:  Kate Prior

Today on International Women's Day Station Houston joins the global celebration of women’s achievements by featuring eight women-led startups in the #HOUtech community. These companies are as diverse as the women who lead them, focusing on themes such as art, fitness, dating, shopping, pet care, career and business guidance. Read on to find out how these Houston -based women are changing the world, one startup at a time.

1. Alice, the intelligent business advisor
Founded by Texas Aggies Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, Alice is virtual adviser community that used AI technology to help guide female entrepreneurs to success. Emerging from Circular Board,  the world’s first 100% virtual accelerator program, Alice connects women with mentors, online resources, investors and resources to support them in all aspects of entrepreneurship, whether it be technology, financing, marketing and more.

2. CAVU Biotherapies, modernizing cancer care for animals
Did you know that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in dogs? With this staggering statistic and motivated by the personal loss of two of her beloved dogs to cancer, CAVU Biotherapies Founder and CEO, Dr. Colleen O'Connor, is focused on personalized immunotherapy. By boosting the dog’s own immune system that has been depleted by chemotherapy, they have a better chance at fighting off  the cancer while reducing or halting the tumor's progression. While the therapy is currently for treating B-cell Lymphoma, it can hopefully be expanded to treat other types of cancers as well.

3. Dearduck, making gift giving more meaningful
Gift giving is always nerve wracking, especially when we are unsure of what our friends and family really want. Dearduck was created by Katy Aucoin to help personalize and curate the gift giving experience to avoid the worry. Users take a series of detailed quizzes on a mobile app which helps hone in on their preferences. Using a proprietary algorithm, Dearduck then offers a personalized shopping guide to their friends and family that are also using the app.

4. IncentiFind, going-green made easy
After over a decade-long career in architecture, engineering and construction, IncentiFind co-founder Natalie Campos Goodman launched IncentiFind to promote sustainable practices in the built environment. With the goal of reducing the cost and headache of going green for building owners, developers, business owners, home owners, builders and professional service providers, IncentiFind's national database of green incentives for sustainably-focused construction breaks down the search into four simple steps. 

5. JustSpot.me, keeping owners connected with their pets
If you're on NextDoor, you see daily reports of missing pets and pets seen loose on the busy Houston streets. With the motto “No more lost pets!" JustSpot.me was founded by Laura Matesco and Celine Tranquillin to help solve this problem. Still in the development stage, JustSpot.me is a small device that attaches to your pet’s collar. Once paired with its mobile app, you can look up your pet’s location in real time, helping bring home those escape artists and adventure seeking cats and dogs bringing peace of mind to their owners.

6. Kathaka, a personal on-demand trainer mobile app
Working as an attorney for two large firms, Sylvia Kampshoff’s hectic lifestyle made it difficult to find a fitness trainer that could accommodate her schedule.  Becoming a mother gave her the opportunity to re-evaluate her priorities and the idea for was born. Set up as a mobile app, Kathaka pairs you with a certified personal trainer in your area that can meet you at your home, office, hotel or gym when you are available, not the other way around. Currently available in Houston, Kathaka will soon be expanding to the Austin and Dallas area.

7. Mona Love Gustav, buy art based on your art personality
Mona Loves Gustav founder Michele LaRocco wanted to share her love with art with a larger audience and make the art buying experience more tailored to each unique individual. Using her extensive background in art history, Michelle created the ArtDNA™ Quiz to help identify your “art personality."  With the survey results, you are matched with affordable one-of-kind artwork, personalizing and making the art buying experience accessible to more people.

8. Pheramor, dating with a twist
Online dating can be such a gamble, so why not use science to help make your matches a better fit? Introducing Pheramor. Asma Mirza, Brittany Barreto, and Bin Huang co-founded Pheramor to integrate the use of genetics to match couples with more precision than your standard dating profile. By using eleven DNA indicators that are linked to attraction,  a person’s pheromone profile, and online social media presence, the dating app uses science and technology to find you that perfect match.

9. WatchHerWork, helping you ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask
Denise Hamilton founded WatchHerWork as a way to help women bridge the prevailing gender gap and place more women in leadership positions. The video-based online platform is a community where women at any level in their career can find guidance on all aspects of the workplace as well as have access to an impressive group of entrepreneurial women that come from diverse backgrounds.

10. Xtreme Lashes, the global leader in eyelash extensions
Founded by pediatric ICU nurse turned entrepreneur Jo Mousselli, Xtreme Lashes is an industry leader in semi-permanent eyelash extensions. With customers in over 50 countries around the world, their products have been featured on celebrities at events like the Golden Globes, Cannes Film Festival, the Academy Awards and in leading publications including Vogue, InStyle and Allure. 


Station Houston is proud to know such a diverse group of female entrepreneurs and  we find inspiration in all of their ground-breaking ideas and innovations. Feeling inspired? To find out more how we help startups launch and grow, head to our website to get more details.