Leslie Feinzaig: Accelerating Women Founders [Built in Seattle Ep. #18]
2 min read

Leslie Feinzaig: Accelerating Women Founders [Built in Seattle Ep. #18]

Female Founders Alliance (FFA) CEO, Leslie Feinzaig, talks about the 2% problem, accelerating women and non-binary founders, and her business lessons.

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Only 2% of venture capital goes to women and non-binary founders.

You might know the stats. But what are the solutions?

Leslie Feinzaig started Female Founders Alliance (FFA) to accelerate the success of venture-scale, women and non-binary founded companies. After 3 years working on this big mission, she's now serving over 1,500 startups.

FFA has a big mission. But it's also a business. For Leslie, it's important that FFA is a business rather than a non-profit or charitable cause.

Leslie shared her lessons on this episode of The Built in Seattle Podcast.

Episode Highlights

  • Leslie's personal experiences raising VC that inspired FFA.
  • Why FFA is a business, not a non-profit or "charitable cause."
  • How Leslie knew she had founder/market fit.
  • What needs to change in 20 years and how we'll know it's working.
  • Why FFA started an accelerator to create a flywheel.
  • How Leslie pivoted her way to product market fit and evolved with the community.
  • Why Leslie just wanted to "do her job" and not have gender get in the way.
  • The journey from 0 to 1500+ founders served.
  • Why Leslie makes authenticity an advantage.

Leslie Feinzaig Bio

Leslie Feinzaig was born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica, where her family — and her heart — still live to this day. She’s the granddaughter of Holocaust refugees who were refused entry into the U.S. in the 1930’s. Through generations, her family leaned on entrepreneurship, hard work and education to settle into their new home — values that, until recently, were mostly reserved for the males in the family.

After securing permanent residency in the U.S. — and with it, the ability to switch jobs and join smaller companies — Leslie moved into tech startups. She led product management and marketing at Big Fish Games, going into their $1 billion acquisition. She then joined Julep Beauty, an Andreessen-Horowitz backed ecommerce startup, leading product management, front-end engineering, and digital marketing. She left Julep in 2015 to start her own company.

The following year, when her daughter was 6 months old, Leslie launched Venture Kits — games that develop leadership skills through play. Her one-of-a-kind, inspirational concept quickly garnered critical acclaim and customer love. The experience of raising capital for this company, coupled with the realization that only two percent of venture capital is invested in female founders in the US, propelled Leslie to start the Female Founders Alliance in 2017.

Today, Leslie leads FFA full time, dedicated to her personal mission of creating a more just world for her daughter. She was named one of Forbes Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women from Central America & the Caribbean, Seattle Magazine’s Most Influential People, and Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. She’s a frequent speaker at events like TEDx Pura Vida, SXSW Interactive, Geekwire Summit, NW Angel Capital Conference, Seattle Magazine’s Daring Women, and more. Her writing has been featured in publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and AllthingsD. She lives in Seattle, Wash. with her husband and 3-year old daughter.