Inspired by two pioneering women, publisher Katherine Graham of The Washington Post, the first female Fortune 500 CEO, and Madam C.J. Walker, who is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America, the Female Founders Alliance has rebranded as Graham & Walker and announced a $9 million venture fund to invest in technology companies led by women.
Founder and Managing Director Leslie Feinzaig made the announcement during her keynote at Graham & Walker’s inaugural Women’s Leadership Summit.
Investors in the new fund include Bank of America, Carta Inc., leadership coach and former VC Jerry Colonna, Docusign founder Court Lorenzini, American Airlines and eBay Inc. Board Director Adriane Brown, and author and expert Ruchika Tulshyan. The fund has 110 investors, two-thirds of whom are women, one-third are people of color, and 40% are first time fund investors.
“Graham & Walker is leading by doing, and we need more investors to follow their example. This fund is at the vanguard of a necessary evolution of the capital markets, and I am proud to be part of that journey.” Court Lorenzini, founder of Docusign.
“The facts are clear: women-founded companies outperform the norm. I have long admired and appreciated Leslie Feinzaig, the Female Founders Alliance team, and their important work. The Graham & Walker fund is special. I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate.”— Will Daugherty, CEO Pacific Science Center
The fund started investing in early 2021. Early investments include:
- Pair Tree – whose software facilitates the process of adoption
- Health in Her Hue – a telehealth marketplace
- Datacy – a pioneer in data privacy,
- Brightly – a leading community for eco friendly living and shopping.
“I have known Leslie Feinzaig for years and have been impressed by her tenacity and authenticity. She’s a business builder, knows the entrepreneur journey first hand, and easily attracts expert talent to join her. The mission is important and I’m proud to support it as an LP, but this isn’t altruism. Graham & Walker have quality deal flow, a seasoned operator as GP, and a reputation for drive and determination. I’m excited to be on board.”
—– Michael Schutzler, CEO Washington Technology Industry Association
In an interview with Forbes reporter Rebecca Szkutak, Feinzaig explained the fund and its new name were two years in the making.
“Our roots are as a community of women startup founders. But being a founder is just one part of your career. You have more options – you can invest, you can advise, you can serve on a board. There’s great potential in every woman, and we activate it with opportunities, know-how, network, and now with investments from our debut fund.”
Graham and Walker is headquartered in Seattle, but its team is distributed to support a national community and connect with ecosystems across the US. The in-house Accelerator, known as Ready Set Raise, is dedicated to ensure women CEOs are able to participate regardless of their at-home responsibilities. The new group will operate the program virtually to ensure access to women at all life-stages, and hope to return to a blended in person and virtual accelerator model in the future.
With several team members and many notable partners s in the Pacific Northwest, Graham & Watson has a special connection to the Puget Sound ecosystem. Many of the fund’s first investments are PNW companies, including Brightly, Pair Tree, and Give inKind.