As Silicon Valley battles accusations about sexism and gender discrimination, Steph Korey and Jen Rubio are two women rising above it all.
They are the cofounders and entrepreneurs behind a fast-growing startup Away. Their main product is a sleek, light-weight, durable, and moderately priced carry-on suitcase that has a built-in phone charger. They’ve sold more than 100,000 suitcases in the past 18 months and expect to post profits this year on estimated revenues of $50 million.
The two women became friends while working at Warby Parker in its early days. That’s where they learned about branding and the benefits of selling direct-to-consumer. When they founded Away in 2016, they positioned themselves not as a luggage company, but as a broader must-have travel brand. Their vision, as well as smarts and confidence, opened doors at the top venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. Since Away’s beginning, Korey and Rubio have raised $31 million— one of the largest seed financings for a female-backed start-up.
“I think Jen and I are fortunate to be an example of maybe the new wave of how things can be for women,” Korey says. “I hear the stories of women who have a harder time or are discriminated against. My hope is we’re an example of the future and that things can be better and things can be fairer.”