The 100 Women Building America's Most Innovative and Ambitious Businesses

The entrepreneurs on Inc.'s second annual Female Founders 100 list have transformed every major industry in America. Meet the boundless dreamers making the biggest difference in 2019.


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Melanie Stricklan

The 20-year Air Force vet’s startup analyzes satellite images in real time for smarter disaster response.

When Hurricane Michael barreled into the Florida coastline last October, Melanie Stricklan's startup, Slingshot Aerospace, sprang into action. The Austin, Texas-based company, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze satellite images in real time, quickly determined the best places to assemble triages and the safest routes to hospitals, then delivered that information to FEMA and other disaster-response agencies. Before co-founding Slingshot, Stricklan spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, with much of that time spent as a technician on surveillance aircraft that collected reams of data. “The analysis would come back weeks or sometimes even a year later,” she says. “Faster results could have saved lives and produced very different outcomes.” Today, Slingshot’s A.I. can deliver results in minutes. The company’s insurance customers can make coverage determinations and get flood victims their money quickly; other clients include the Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and--yes--the Air Force. --Kevin J. Ryan

MORE COMPANY INFORMATION

Company name: Slingshot Aerospace

Location: Austin, TX

Founded: 2016

Industry: Science Pioneers

Co-founders: Thomas Ashman, David Godwin

Twitter: @sling_shot_aero

Facebook: facebook.com/slingshotaero

Instagram: instagram.com/slingshotaerospace/?hl=en

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/slingshot-aerospace

Website: slingshotaerospace.com


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Melonee Wise

She’s making robots to tackle the tedious warehouse jobs that humans don’t want to do.

From manufacturing to delivering a product to a shopper’s doorstep, the race for ever more efficiency is fierce. Melonee Wise’s autonomous, mobile robots make it easier to find, track, and move items in warehouses and factories. When they’re hauling things, the robots also gather useful data about everything around them. “We use that data to tell people about the inside of their facilities,” Wise explains. Understanding where there’s congestion, for instance, is powerful information for a warehouse manager. A mechanical-engineering PhD and founder of a previous robotics company, Wise has led San Jose, California-based Fetch Robotics since shortly after its founding in 2014. In July, Fetch raised $46 million in venture capital, bringing its total funding to $94 million. This year, it also landed a major new client, Universal Logistics, which uses Fetch-designed robots and cloud-based software to move car parts around the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, the largest auto factory in North America. Fetch has several hundred robots deployed in 11 countries, and Wise says she's looking to expand in Europe. --Brit Morse

MORE COMPANY INFORMATION

Company name: Fetch Robotics

Location: San Jose, CA

Founded: 2014

Industry: Science Pioneers

Twitter: @FetchRobotics

Facebook: facebook.com/fetchrobotics

Instagram: instagram.com/fetchrobotics/?hl=en

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/fetch-robotics

Website: fetchrobotics.com