From providing the latest cutting-edge technologies to revamping outdated processes across a multitude of industries, tech startups play an integral role in paving the way for the future of business and tech.
The CEO is the driving force behind the success of every starting company. Their role is multifaceted, requiring a unique set of skills to lead the company toward excellence. Not to mention, leading a tech startup in 2023’s challenging climate is what people refer to as being a “wartime CEO” where the captain of the ship needs resilience to navigate the tumultuous waves.
If you’re looking to learn from some of the best startup CEOs building known brands, here are 5 to follow in 2023:
Assaf Rappaport (Wiz)
Assaf Rappaport, CEO and Co-Founder of Wiz, has a notably impressive career history.
Before launching Wiz, he served as CEO of Adallom. After the acquisition of Adallom, Assaf worked at Microsoft’s Tel Aviv office for over four years. During his tenure, he held various positions, including the general manager of the cloud security group and later as the general manager of Microsoft Israel’s R&D department. Before that, Assaf worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company and as a software engineer and project manager in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Wiz is a cybersecurity company that assists organizations of all sizes and sectors in identifying and resolving security vulnerabilities in public cloud infrastructure. Wiz specializes in AWS, Azure, GCP, OCI, Alibaba Cloud, and Kubernetes, enabling companies to detect and remove the most critical security risks quickly. As a result, organizations can securely build and operate in the cloud, accelerating their digital transformation initiatives.
Yoav Vilner (Walnut)
Yoav Vilner is the CEO of Walnut, an award-winning platform that is impacting the way SaaS sales is done.
Known for his innovative, progressive, and visionary leadership, Yoav has been recognized as a “Tech Marketer to Watch” by Forbes and has led the viral movement #WeAreProspects, which was designed to expose the ongoing flaws with the traditional B2B buying experience and demand a change within the industry. It’s also aimed at helping buyers by offering discounts for solutions that aim at making prospects’ lives easier.
Before Walnut, Yoav established one of the earliest technology marketing firms globally, which aided 600 startups in their growth, and served as a founding CMO for an anti-bullying startup. Yoav also worked as a mentor for startups in various accelerators, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo, and the United Nations. Furthermore, he has written articles for well-known publications such as Inc Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur, among others.
Jessica O. Matthews (Uncharted)
Uncharted CEO Jessica O. Matthews is an accomplished entrepreneur, inventor, and social scientist.
With over a decade of experience in forward-thinking ideas related to smart cities, climate resilience, and improving equitable access to infrastructure resources, Jessica led Uncharted with the goal of enhancing the quality of life by implementing innovative and cost-effective solutions that are inclusive and intelligent. By using data, Uncharted assists municipalities in optimizing their infrastructures.
Jessica started her career at 19 with the invention of the SOCCKET, a soccer ball that generates energy. She established Uncharted as a power solutions provider when she was 22 before branching out into smart city infrastructure development. Her entrepreneurial accomplishments resulted in an invitation to the White House.
Christina Stembel (Farmgirl Flowers)
Farmgirl Founder and CEO Christina Stembel has always had an entrepreneurial drive even at an early age.
Her passion for business led her to move to the Bay Area during the first dot com boom. This environment was instrumental in giving her the idea to start her own business. A decade later, she created Farmgirl’s first business model that focused on offering fewer, higher-quality products to stand out among the hundreds of options provided by competitors. In November 2010, she launched Farmgirl officially in San Francisco, starting with one customized daily arrangement per order, using $49,000 of her personal savings.
Despite not receiving any external investment, Christina has successfully expanded Farmgirl into an international enterprise that has disrupted and innovated the floral industry. Today, Farmgirl Flowers operates from North and South America, and the company is run by an expert team of innovators from three different continents.
Kathryn Petralia (Keep Financial)
Keep Financial CEO and Co-Founder Kathryn Petralia is a seasoned financial services executive.
Kathryn has spent the past 20 years working with startups and established companies focused on credit, payments, technology, and e-commerce. Today, she serves as the leader at Keep Financial, a financial services company that is transforming the way compensation is managed, intending to improve recruiting, retention, and performance by aligning it with business objectives and return on investment. By using Keep’s platform, employers can provide employees with upfront compensation that is earned over time, incentivizing them to stay with the company for longer while also allowing them to achieve their personal financial objectives.
Before founding Keep Financial, Kathryn was a co-founder of Kabbage, a groundbreaking fintech company for small businesses. Kabbage raised $400 million in equity, provided capital to 500,000 small businesses in the United States, and delivered $16 billion in funding before being acquired by American Express in October 2020.
Opinions expressed by CEO Weekly contributors are their own.