By Valentina Zarya
October 28, 2015

Putting together our 40 Under 40 list is always a tough job, but this year it was more difficult than ever. For the first time, our list was entirely new with no repeats from previous years, which means we had 40 new spots to fill — and there were hundreds of great candidates. Making it even more difficult: There were many more high-caliber women candidates than ever before.

Despite being incredibly impressive, the majority of these women didn’t make the final cut. So, we wanted to shine a light on ten of the lesser-known women whose careers we are following with interest. Some you may already know, while others are under-the-radar, but all have enormous potential—and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them appear on our 40 Under 40 list or any of Fortune’s other rankings in the future.

Without further ado, and in no particular order:

Payal Kadakia

Claim to fame: CEO and co-founder, ClassPass; founder and artistic director, Sa Dance

The first version of Kadakia’s start-up—initially called Classitivity—was a huge flop. But that didn’t stop this dancerpreneur from trying again, this time succeeding in a big way. By the end of 2015, ClassPass, which allows members to take classes in multiple studios with one single membership, will be in every major U.S. market and include more than 10,000 locations. Despite the company’s massive growth, Kadakia still makes time for her one true love: dance.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Co-Founder and CEO of ClassPass, Payal Kadakia speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2015 - Day 3 at The Manhattan Center on May 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Photograph by Noam Galai — Getty Images


Laura Weidman Powers

Claim to fame: Co-founder and CEO, CODE2040

CODE2040, which Weidman Powers co-founded with her Stanford classmate Tristan Walker, is tackling the profound problem of diversity in tech head-on. Its flagship Fellows Program connects minority candidates with summer internships in the Silicon Valley and has thus far been remarkably successful: 90% of CODE2040 fellows received full-time offers from their employers.

Founder and CEO of CODE2040 Laura Weidman Powers speaks at the 17th Annual Ford Freedom Awards on May 5, 2015.

— WireImage/Getty Images


Polina Raygorodskaya

Claim to fame: Co-founder and CEO, WanderU

Raygorodskaya’s app WanderU has been the Kayak of bus travel, but she has plans to broaden it into a millennial-focused travel app. Besides raising $5.6 million in series A funding last fall, she also has a fan in Sir Richard Branson, who may know a thing or two about the travel business.

BOSTON - JANUARY 30: Wanderu CEO and Co-founder Polina Raygorodskaya photographed on January 30, 2015. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Boston Globe via Getty Images


Maxine Bedat & Soraya Dorabi

Claim to fame: Co-founders, Zady

What happens when you put together a digital marketing guru and an activist for artisans in developing countries? A sustainably sourced fashion e-tailer, of course! Often called the “Whole Foods of Fashion,” Zady aims to combat today’s fast-fashion trend by bringing honesty and high quality to today’s shoppers.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Co-Founders of Zady Maxine Bedat (L) and Soraya Darabi attend An Evening of Slow Living in honor of Fashion Revolution Day hosted by Zady and FIT on April 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Zady)

Getty Images


Maheen Rahman

Claim to fame: CEO, Alfalah GHP Investmentment Management

The Karachi-based money manager is not only the youngest head of a Pakistani asset management company, but also the only woman. Her stellar performance has led to an increase in client assets of about 40% this year, and she continues to break glass ceilings in one of Asia’s most male-dominated economies.

Maheen Rahman, chief executive officer of Alfalah GHP Investment Management Ltd., sits for a portrait while her daughter plays at their home in Karachi, Pakistan, on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. Rahman turned a loss-making asset management company into a profitable acquisition target, led her flagship equity fund to the country's top performance and positioned her new firm for what she estimates will be a 40 percent jump in client assets this year. Photographer: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg via Getty Images


Angela Rye

Claim to fame: Principal and CEO, IMPACT Strategies

Rye has made a name for herself as a highly respected political strategist. In addition to founding her boutique political consulting firm IMPACT Strategies, Rye is a frequent media commentator and served as the executive director and general counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress.

UNITED STATES - MARCH 1: Angela Rye, founder of Impact Strategies, poses in Washington on Friday, March 1, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

AP via Getty Images


Shivani Siroya

Claim to fame: Founder and CEO, InVenture

Siroya’s new approach to assessing risk might just revolutionize microfinance. Her startup, InVenture, is able to paint an accurate picture of the individuals and businesses applying for loans in risky markets and help them get financing for small businesses. The company, which has funding from high-profile investors like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, Palantir and PayPal co-founder Nathan Gettings and former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, has already launched an app in Kenya and loaned $1.5 million.

Founder and CEO of InVenture, Shivani Siroya

Image courtesy of InVenture


Danielle Fong

Claim to fame: Co-founder and chief scientist, LightSail Energy

The self-proclaimed “girl from the future” is trying to create an entirely new way of sourcing energy: compressed air. Though she has yet to bring a single product to market, the amount of confidence that’s been placed in her is astounding; Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, and Peter Thiel are all LightSail investors.

Image courtesy of LightSail Energy

Jini Kim

Claim to fame: Founder and CEO, NunaHealth

A former product manager at Google Health, Kim founded her own health care analytics comapny, Nuna, in 2010. The company collects, reports, and analyzes healthcare data for business clients. But her real moment of glory came in 2013, when she joined the tech task force to save Though she has returned to Nuna, Kim continues to affect change through her continued work with all levels of government.

Jini Kim, Founder of NunaHealth

Image courtesy of NunaHealth

Katie Walsh

Claim to fame: Chief of staff, Republican National Committee

Walsh became the RNC’s chief of staff earlier this year after breaking fundraising records as finance director in the 2014 election cycle. As RNC chairman Reince Priebus’s right-hand woman, the 2016 presidential election will be her time to shine.

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