West Tenth, a female-founded and female-focused entrepreneurship platform, has seen major growth in recent months, creating a digital marketplace for women to vend premium services to locals in several cities across the U.S. Now, they’ve also caught the attention of HearstLab, resulting in an investment driven by both mission and performance. The latest addition to HearstLab’s portfolio of women-led start-ups, West Tenth is a dual-sided marketplace that allows users to easily book local service providers and purchase products, while helping home-based businesses share their talents, grow their audience, build community, and generate revenue.
According to the Institute for Justice, 89 percent of more than 15 million home-based businesses nationwide are women-owned, and research has found that women entrepreneurs are less likely to have access to the necessary resources to succeed in the age of digital commerce. After discovering this trend, Lyn Johnson (CEO) and Sara Sparhawk (COO) founded West Tenth to empower the millions of micro-entrepreneurial women who are running small businesses from their homes.
West Tenth’s sleek marketplace features a plethora of service-oriented, local businesses ranging from bakers, to wedding planners, to photographers, florists, tutors, and more. Users can browse scores of micro businesses within their own communities, select a given category, and can book their preferred service provider directly in the West Tenth app. On the other side of the platform, business owners can advertise their services, communicate with customers, and receive payments, all in one place, making West Tenth the premiere space for both starting and scaling a small business from home.
“HearstLab and West Tenth have a lot in common — both are striving to provide equitable support for female entrepreneurship through community and resources,” says Eve Burton, Hearst EVP and HearstLab Chairwoman. “Lyn and Sara are working at the neighborhood level, taking large-scale ecommerce practices and applying them to small, in-home businesses. Their technology is unlocking new revenue for local high-end service providers and allowing people to invest in the women in their community. We are so excited to welcome them to the Lab.”
The startup’s CEO, Lyn Johnson, also recognizes the unique similarity. “We’re thrilled to be joining HearstLab’s portfolio of early-stage startups,” Johnson said. “This new partnership is particularly meaningful to us because our mission, to support women-owned home businesses, is so well-aligned with Hearst’s mission to grow female-led startups. With their support, we’ll be able to expand West Tenth to cities across the U.S. and help thousands more home businesses reach their potential.”
West Tenth has connected local home-based businesses with communities in Los Angeles, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Salt Lake City, UT, and Austin, TX and most recently expanded into San Antonio, TX, with Houston, TX and Tampa, FL launching next. The platform boasted nearly one hundred San Antonio businesses listed on its first day in the area. In the next year, the team says they plan to continue scaling, with aims to reach more than a dozen new cities in the coming year.