Starting as a Facebook support group for founders, the Women Founders Coalition community has evolved and changed a lot since its inception. Today, it announces a name change and the fact that it has started writing checks from its inaugural fund. $9 million to play with, newly minted graham and walker Its focus is on the “potential of all women in business” including community building, investment and various programs.
The fund has its job cut out – even in an exceptionally foamy market. As VC Claire Diaz-Ortiz pointed out in a column last month, only 9% of all funds deployed for technology startups went to founding teams that included at least one woman. Single female founders and all female teams raised just 2% of all VC dollars. As far as we know, Diaz-Ortiz isn’t involved with Graham and Walker, but echoes their sentiments: It’s encouraging to see initiatives like Graham and Walker come into the picture with an agenda to change.
“[Women founders] Tough local and global problems need to be addressed,” says Mary Williamson, corporate VP of Microsoft Azure Apps, Infrastructure and IoT – and an investor in Graham & Walker. “My participation in this fund is a tribute to all women and their potential.”
Maybe the name “Graham & Walker” is bugging you, conjuring up an old-school partnership from days gone by. Make Your First Impression – The firm is not named after its founders or investors, but includes a beautiful nod to influential women in history.
“We know that when people first hear Graham and Walker, they imagine it is named after two men, like a very old-school law firm,” said Leslie Feinzig, founder and managing director Director explains. “But when you dig deeper and look at who we are and what we do, it makes you question what inspired your own perception. The ampersand also has a lot of significance, it represents you and me. Yes, it represents our community.”
Notably, the firm is named after Katherine Graham – Newspaper publisher of The Washington Post and the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company – and madam cj walker, an African American woman widely recognized as the world’s first female self-made millionaire.
“A big reason for this rebrand is our own evolution of seeing the world as binary (founders and non-founders) and realizing that we are all the same person. It is women who want to take ownership of their careers, Feinzig says. “Graham & Walker is a way for us to grow that woman at any time in her service – not only in the time she is a founder but also as an investor, advisor, corporate leader, board member, etc. is in.”
The fund began investing in early 2021. Early investment includes adoption software pairtree, Culturally Conscious Telehealth Marketplace health in her complexionEco-friendly living and shopping community shining brightly and data market datasee.
The fund’s investors include Bank of America, Carta and a number of private investors. In total, over 100 investors contributed to the $9 million fund. Graham & Walker reports that two-thirds of investors are women, one-third are people of color and nearly half are first-time fund investors.