The Rising Stars of SheConnects

SheConnects was hosted this past week as part of Venture Café Kendall’s Thursday Gathering. Having taken place in March, it coincided with International Women's Month. She Connects was the latest incarnation of Venture Café’s mini-conferences, which offer even more workshops and talks that the traditional gathering you’re likely used to. While they have rotating themes, She Connects served as a wonderful opportunity for all to gather advice and forward-looking ideas from successful female entrepreneurs, those funding women-led ventures, and leaders behind some of the ecosystems’ well-known organizations in Boston.

Our CIC colleague Emma, actually hosted a podcast with some of the movers and shakers of the evening including Diane Hessan of CSpace and Wafaa Arbash of Workaround. Be sure to check it out when it posts!

In addition to the extra goings-on of mini-conferences, She Connects also featured a handful of quite exceptional woman-led companies based in Massachusetts. Today, we’d like to take the chance and feature two of these, InvisaWear and Zencare.

We chatted with Rajia Abdelaziz, founder and CEO of InvisaWare. They produce jewelry that directly contacts emergency service providers and designated contacts instantly with just the push of a button. When we asked about how she came up with this idea, Rajia mentioned that it was started a project when she was an engineering student at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

 Rajia Abdelaziz, CEO of InvisaWear

Rajia Abdelaziz, CEO of InvisaWear

I’d always feel uncomfortable walking outside late at night after classes and wanted a way to protect myself in case something happened. It went viral and so many people wanted it. Other college students wanted it so they could feel safe as well, and so many others expressed demand.
— Rajia Abdelaziz, CEO of InvisaWear

InvisaWare just recently got a round of funding and made it to market, which Rajia described as her young company’s greatest recent milestone. Thought things are turning up, she concedes that there’s always something new to learn.

“We just got to market, so the next step for us is to learning how to scale the business and increase sales! We're also looking to partner with like minded organizations who are looking to take a stand against violence.”

We also met up with Yuri Tomikawa who founded her company, Zencare, after the very convoluted experience of trying to find a therapist for herself.

 Yuri Tomikawa (left) and Maggie Jordan (right) of Zencare

Yuri Tomikawa (left) and Maggie Jordan (right) of Zencare

I realized many individuals gave up searching for a therapist because of similar experiences, and that up-to-date, accurate information could significantly help others in this process.
— Yuri Tomikawa, CEO of Zencare

So, like any good entrepreneur, Yuri decided to make her own app to help solve this problem. Zencare is unique because they go through a comprehensive process of personally vetting all of the service providers they connect their users with. For Yuri, it’s become clear that Zencare is a labor of love. She says there are three things that make her day every time she sees them: “1) when we hear from users that Zencare was helpful to them or that their therapist helped them with their challenges, 2) when therapists are able to build thriving practices with clients they love seeing, and 3) when my team members learn something new or achieve the goals we set together. “ If you’re interested in learning more about Zencare, visit their website at Zencare.co. They’re expanding to a some new markets very soon! (Just in case they’re not where you are yet.)

If you think you know of a rising-star company and want to be featured on our CIC blog, shoot us a note! In either case, we’ll be sure to see you next Thursday at Venture Café.