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Venture Capital

Seven Ex-Facebook Employees Team Up to Invest in Women-Led Startups

Ex-Facebook executives Kelly Graziadei and Sarah Smith were sitting in Ms. Smith’s kitchen last year having a glass of wine and some cheese when the talk turned to startups, and how few women founders there are in Silicon Valley. The two agreed they should try to do something about it, and in the following months they reached out to their networks, emailing former colleagues and gathering over dinners with other women focused on the issue.

The result: F7 Ventures, a venture capital fund founded last month by Ms. Graziadei, Ms. Smith and five other former Facebook women who have pooled their own capital to make seed-stage investments in startups founded mostly by women. The firm’s investment strategy and its all-female leadership stand out in Silicon Valley, where only 15.2% of decision-makers at venture capital firms are women, according to The Information’s Diversity Index, which you can find here. Meanwhile, data from Pitchbook shows that just over 2% of all U.S. venture capital funding last year went to female founders. “That’s a stark reality that we want to help impact and change,” Yvette Lui, one of the founding partners and a former Facebook director of global partnerships, said.

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