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Sheryl Sandberg inspiring f7 Ventures general partners as they roll out their first fund – TechCrunch


It may be the end of an era now that Sheryl Sandberg has announced that she will be leaving Meta. However, for Kelly Graziadei and Joanna Lee Shevelenko, general partners at f7 Ventures, a start-up venture capital firm, they are continuing the influence Sandberg had on them during their time at Facebook in their new venture.

The original seven founders of f7 Ventures are all longtime operators who met on Facebook and started the company over three years ago.

“At first, there weren’t many female leaders on Facebook,” Graziadei said. “And so quickly years later, we got together.”

They wanted to leverage their years of operating experience and roll up their sleeves to provide that added value to early-stage founders, especially women and other underrepresented people, so they could help them build a foundation to grow and evolve and “eventually become the next generation or the next generation defining business group,” Graziadei added.

Sandberg and his business partner, Tom Bernthal, are among the list of sponsors supporting f7 Ventures’ new $50 million fund. The list also includes Paris Hilton, Andrew Bosworth, Justin Kan, SoftBank, JP Morgan, Insight Partners, Anthemis Group, Espresso Capital and Verdis Investment Management.

“We are very grateful for Sheryl’s continued support,” Graziadei told TechCrunch. “I felt Sheryl’s impact, her leadership philosophy and her advocacy for women leaders from my earliest days on Facebook.”

She not only had the opportunity to work with Sandberg after joining the company 12 years ago, but also remembers working with people who also worked with Sandberg at Google and Facebook and continued her advocating for women to have a place at the table.

More than a year ago, Lee Shevelenko and Graziadei decided to take the natural next step of raising an institutional fund to continue investing in pre-seed and seed businesses. In May, they closed the $50 million fund.

The company primarily invests in founders who create technologies for the future of work, mental and physical health, and connected communities. So far, investors have injected funds into 20 investments from this fund, and 39 in total since they launched f7 Ventures.

Lee Shevelenko and Graziadei intend to invest in around 45 companies from their first fund with average check sizes between $500,000 and $750,000, with some flexibility to go up to $1 million. .

Meanwhile, Lee Shevelenko, who joined Facebook before Sandberg, said she also saw the impact of Sandberg, which included structure and “organizational rigor,” and the dedication of others who followed. Sandberg on Facebook.

Lee Shevelenko also recalled that Sandberg talked a lot about women experiencing “tiara syndrome,” hanging their heads, working hard, and waiting for people to notice and pat them down for the next opportunity.

“We shouldn’t wait to be tapped or anointed,” added Lee Shevelenko. “Sheryl said we need to look for the opportunities and drive the change we want to see. As with Kelly, it was a big push for me to take the leap from our full-time roles as operators. .

Graziadei felt that Sandberg’s influence helped her broaden her view of what she thought was comfortable for herself professionally. At the same time, Graziadei was encouraged to think “bigger and bolder” and to push and pursue what she wanted.

“It ultimately fueled my personal need to jump in and start a venture capital business and help other women and underrepresented people,” she added. “Without that influence, who knows if this is where we would be?”

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