04/01/23 | Media & Culture

AI-powered wearable startup, GirlBuzz, receives $500M from Extremely First Ventures to democratize personality feedback for professional women

Have you ever felt emasculated by the aggressive, over-confident comments of a female colleague? Silicon Valley’s latest golden child startup, GirlBuzz, is working to change that. 

“If there’s one thing I know from having a wife and a daughter, it’s that women want to be ‘girl bosses.’ And I love that for them,” GirlBuzz CEO and co-founder, Andy Malarky shared. “The problem is that sometimes, when given a seat at the man’s table, they can get a little too… bossy. They might speak too loud or out of turn, act too aggressive, or say things with too much authority.”

Steve Rosenwall, Malarky’s college roommate from Stanford, had similar observations. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to tell a woman that works for me – or even ones I’ve reported to – that they need to take it down a notch. I always wished there was technology that could do it for me.” 

Thanks to Malarky and Rosenwall’s brainchild, now there is. GirlBuzz’s tastefully-bedazzled #girlboss necklace uses AI to detect when the wearer’s tone has become too abrasive or assertive, and gives her a subtle buzz. The accompanying app lets her track how many times she was buzzed in the last week, and compare that with her historical data. 

The promising AI wearable startup just announced the close of their pre-seed round of $500M at a $3B valuation, led by Extremely First Ventures.

“We are thrilled to be backing this incredible team with such a bold and important mission,” shared Matt Roberts, GP of Extremely First Ventures and Stanford classmate of Malarky and Rosenwall. “I have a sister, so I know how important it is for women to feel like girl bosses, without inflicting professional harm on themselves or others. I have no doubt that GirlBuzz will be as impactful as it is compassionate.” 

A testimonial on the GirlBuzz website from a lab technician named Phil gives high praises to the wearable. “This is brilliant. I got it for my colleague, who always acts so high & mighty about her PhD and years of experience. And I love the way it accentuates her collar bones.”

The unicorn startup says their wearable personality buzzer will be out of beta later this year. 


Author’s Note: April fools! GirlBuzz is not, in fact, a real startup, and Extremely First Ventures is not a real venture fund. However, this story is not as far-fetched as you might hope. 

From the pinky glove that was invented and invested in by men to help woman with the “unpleasant” experience of removing a tampon, to the white men that received record funding for their diversity hiring startup – funding that many talented founders of color weren’t able to raise – bias in venture capital is a breeding ground for stories like this. This is what happens when women founders receive 1.9%  and Black founders receive 1% of venture capital. 

The premise behind GirlBuzz is not outlandish either. Women are frequently scrutinized for personality traits like being too aggressive, abrasive or assertive, when their male counterparts are not held to these same standards. One study found that negative personality feedback showed up 76% of the time in reviews of women, while only in 2% of men’s reviews. 

Let’s have a good laugh about GirlBuzz, and then get to work making this a much more far-fetched story!

Rebekah Bastian

Rebekah Bastian

Rebekah Bastian is an entrepreneur, writer, artist, tech executive, mentor, wife, mother and aerial acrobat. She is the CEO & Co-founder of OwnTrail and was previously vice president of product and vice president of community and culture at Zillow. Rebekah is the author of Blaze Your Own Trail, is a contributor to Forbes and is a frequent speaker on social impact, career navigation and building AuthenTech companies.

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