Meet the women behind some of San Diego’s fastest growing companies

Aug 28, 2018 - Sarah Lubeck

With UC San Diego graduating the most female STEM majors than any other university in the country, it’s no wonder San Diego is home to some powerful female founders.  Two ‘x’ chromosomes and incredible resume aside, local female entrepreneurs also have something else in common. From making scientific data more accessible to helping millions around the globe communicate with one another, they all have a mission and desire to make San Diego (and the world) a better place.

Here are a few San Diego female founders and entrepreneurs to watch:

Samantha Urban, Urban Translations

Image credit:  Linkedin

Before starting her own company, this Jill-of-all-trades sharpened her skills on the East Coast as a software engineer, project manager, and more, giving her a well-rounded skill set to start and run her 15-person company, Urban Translations. This MetroConnect company has now inked partnerships with Samsung and other reputable names, and it’s just getting started.


Melani Gordon, TapHunter

Image credit: Linkedin

TapHunter, the brainchild of Melani Gordon, combines two San Diego staples: beer and tech. Gordon and her team have made it seamless to find and review the best libations and locations. As a co-founder of San Diego Startup Week and a board member of Startup San Diego, Gordon’s commitment to making San Diego a better place for entrepreneurs comes through.


Laura Johnson, You & Yours Distilling Co

Image credit: Linkedin

Meet Laura Johnson, founder of You & Yours Distilling Co. After searching wide and far for a job in the distilling industry, she decided to do what any motivated female entrepreneur would – start a distillery of her own. Three years later, You & Yours Distilling, was launched and dubbed “one of the most Instagram-worth tasting rooms in San Diego” by Food & Wine.

Her endeavors have also landed her on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. We’ll raise a (beautiful) glass to that. Distilling might be one of humanity’s OG expressions of science, after all.


Dawn Barry, LunaDNA

Image credit: Dawn Barry’s Ted Talk

Your genetic data is personal, and that’s why people like Dawn Barry believe you should own that data.  After honing her craft at Illumina, Barry co-founded LunaDNA, the first community-owned genomic and health research platform, based in Solana Beach.

For more on Barry and a behind-the-scenes at LunaDNA, check out LunaDNA’s Takeover Tuesday and be prepared for some major office envy.


Yuanyuan Zhou, Whova

Find it difficult to connect with colleagues and peers at conferences? There’s an app for that, and it’s called Whova.

“We are using geeky ways to help geeks like us to know how to socialize at events,” said Yuanyaun Zhou, the company’s founder. This UC San Diego computer science professor created a digital safe-haven for introverts.

And despite her introverted tendencies, Zhou has insured that Whova stands out in the crowded event technology space. In 2016, the company won Best Event Networking Technology Award from the Event Technology Awards. The MetroConnect alum is located in Sorrento Mesa, a stone’s throw away from its initial UC San Diego location.


We know there are tons of other female founders in San Diego. Please leave your input below and let us know who should be on the next list.