Early stage founders: move your startup forward in one day.
Gain knowledge, connect 1:1 with experts, and build community.
FFA Founder Day ran from 9:30a PT to 2:30p PT on February 24th
Workshop: Fundamentals of Fundraising with Cooley – Understanding Notes, SAFEs, and Stock (9:30a PT / 12:30p ET)
1:1 Mentorship with FFA’s Investor Circle and Community Networking (11a PT / 2p ET)
Inspirational Fireside, Melanie Elturk, Founder & CEO of Haute Hijab (1p PT / 4p ET)
**Select founders will have access to 1:1 Legal Clinics with Experts from Cooley
Learn the Fundamentals of Fundraising, connect with experts in meaningful 1:1 mentorship sessions, build community with fellow founders, and be inspired by founders who have walked your path. Our goal is for you to leave Founder Day with new knowledge, new network, and actionable insights so you can move your startup forward.
Speakers and Mentors
Cofounder & CEO, Haute Hijab
Melanie Elturk is the co-founder and CEO of Haute Hijab, the leading U.S. hijab brand and community that empowers Muslim women through leadership and community engagement. A former civil rights attorney, Melanie brings her passion for social justice to the fashion industry as she sets out to normalize hijab in the mainstream and build the first global hijab brand. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Melanie is a graduate of Wayne State University and received her J.D. from the University’s law school at age 23.
Elisa La Cava
Madrona Venture Group
Elisa joined Madrona in 2018. Elisa focuses on sourcing and evaluating new investment opportunities that span the full breadth of Madrona’s investment themes, as well as working with portfolio companies to develop strategies for growth and success. Elisa is particularly interested in intelligent applications, cloud-native software, and the future of work.
Prior to joining Madrona, Elisa held positions at MATH Venture Partners and AT&T Corporate Development / M&A. Prior to her MBA, Elisa worked at Deloitte Consulting where she held US West Region Chief of Staff and Consultant roles. She worked primarily with technology and life sciences companies in developing M&A integration, software implementation, and training strategies. She was also involved in several key initiatives including developing Deloitte’s first Diversity and Inclusion go-to-market strategy, as well as leading an international pro-bono consulting program for non-profits in Latin America. Earlier in her career, Elisa gained startup experience at Seattle biofuel manufacturer General Biodiesel where she wore several hats, including business development, project management, and HR.
EDUCATION AND EXTRACURRICULAR
Elisa graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Environment-Economics-Politics and Spanish. While at CMC, Elisa captained and played for four years on the Women’s Tennis Team. She received her MBA with a focus in finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. A Seattle native, Elisa takes every chance she can get to go hiking up in the Cascades, biking around the city, or kayaking on Lake Union.
Colleen Badgley practices corporate law, with a focus on all aspects of emerging company development, including corporate formation, venture capital financings and M&A.
While at the University of Michigan Law School, Colleen served as an international fellow at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. She was also a member of the
Angel Investor, Operator
Bootstrapped founder turned angel investor turned venture-backed startup operator.
Angel Investor, Operator
I am a computer science researcher, engineer, and angel investor in the Seattle tech industry. I have spent 16 years at Microsoft Research, having worked on advanced & applied research in mobile computing, networking, and cloud services.
I have advanced the state-of-the-art in several technical areas, including scalable cloud services, network traffic management, latency in multiplayer games, and geo-distributed online services. I have co-authored 40 academic publications with over 6,700 citations, and co-invented 48 issued patents. I have served on over 60 committees for international conferences, workshops, journals and the NSF.
I have worked closely with Microsoft business groups in my research, and have impacted Microsoft products, including Windows 10 and Windows Phone 8. Together with a small team of researchers and engineers, I’ve designed, implemented and stood up a scalable service on Azure that has served over 21 million users. I was recently named an ACM Distinguished Member for outstanding engineering contributions to computing.
I am an active angel investor in the Pacific Northwest. I have invested in 21 companies so far, including YCombinator graduates and companies that have gone on to raise from top VC firms such as Madrona. I mentor early stage startups through Grubstakes, Venture Out, and other groups in Seattle.
Iris Fujiura grows and leads teams to deliver results. She’s been successful in profit/loss and central roles, and understands the synergy necessary to optimize an enterprise. She is a passionate believer and practitioner of mentoring and diversity inclusion, recognized numerous times for her leadership in STEM. She has acted as a change agent for organizations needing course correction or revitalization to a new strategic vision. Currently, she supports diversity and inclusion in early-stage investing, as Chapter Lead for Golden Seeds in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco and West Coast Area. Golden Seeds is a National Angel investing organization that focuses on Women-led companies.
Over 30 years in the space industry, a strong systems engineering foundation and P&L leadership roles give her the executive presence, business acumen, and strategic vision to lead organizations to the next level.
Fujiura worked extensively in international venues in Europe and Asia while supporting a joint venture with two Russian companies, including significant on-site time in Russia, and Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Fujiura is a skilled communicator, adept at framing. Her years of experience on rocket launch crews honed her decisive and timely problem analysis, prioritization and execution.
Her interests include emerging technology, social trends, and global economics. Bombelyn supports her Alma Maters, Washington State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, providing mentoring , industry insight, and leadership and innovation presentations. She is Chair of the WSU Harold Frank Advisory Board.
International innovator & venture-builder at the intersection of strategy & creativity. I love connecting with people to unearth insights, cultivating & testing new ideas, building things from scratch, and developing products & businesses that make a difference around the world.
Focused on early stage CPG (consumer packaged goods), technology, and most recently circularity/sustainability B2B business models at ABInBev (ZX Ventures), running the best-in-class corporate accelerator program and overseeing pre-seed and seed-stage organic ventures as a coach & founding team member. Prior experience includes digital marketing strategy and management & CSR (corporate social responsibility) consulting.
Immediately prior to Techstars, I served as President of Mighty AI, a training data platform and service company which provided high quality training data to autonomous vehicle developers and other enterprises in the computer vision space. We were acquired by Uber in July, 2019. Before that, I co-founded and led two enterprise technology companies; one was successfully acquired, and the other is a leader in the global data center business. For 10 years, I served as Co-Founder, CFO, and EVP of Verne Global, an international growth stage green data center business based in the UK with operations in Iceland. At Verne, I conceived the business, raised $200M+ of equity and debt capital, built the team, and managed several functions of the company.
Also, I have 12+ years of experience as a venture capital, growth equity, and angel technology investor with General Catalyst Partners and Summit Partners. In those roles, I sourced, led, structured, and negotiated several investments, and served as a Director on multiple boards. I have an extensive network of technology investors and entrepreneurs with concentrations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Boston, and London. I am also an angel investor in early-stage technology startups.
Michael has 17+ years of experience building and managing software with projects ranging from startup MVP development to managing complex systems for Fortune 500 companies. Michael is passionate about eliminating waste in the software development ecosystem, and he started Flatirons Development with the mission of improving the efficiency and quality of product development.
I am an accomplished leader with 20 years of experience developing and implementing visionary programs, launching innovative products and driving engagement. I am passionate about good business, doing what you love, and connecting with people in meaningful ways.
Working in markets around the world, I’ve helped launch new businesses, initiatives, and products. I have built audiences through honest, compassionate and engaging storytelling and thrive when working in diverse, entrepreneurial environments across the nonprofit and for-profit sectors.
Areas of expertise include: business strategy, business development, marketing and communications strategy; branding; digital marketing; public relations; crisis communications; budget and team development and management.
Barbara G. Raho is a private investor with a particular interest in retail, women-led ventures and the theater. Since 2007, she has been a Managing Director at Golden Seeds, a network of angel investors dedicated to investing in early stage companies that are founded and/or led by women. She was a founding employee, shareholder and board member of Urban Outfitters in 1976 and remained on the Board until 1989.
In addition to her work with Golden Seeds, Barbara is a mentor for the Monarq Accelerator and has been a mentor in the past for The Refinery in Westport and AccelFoods Fund 1 companies.
Her corporate career was spent at W.R. Grace working in corporate finance and fixed-income portfolio management.
In her not-for-profit work, Barbara has served on the Board of Managers of United Hospital in Port Chester, NY and the Rye YMCA Board of Directors and currently serves on three other non-profit boards; P.O.T.S. (Part of the Solution), My Sisters’ Place and The Academy for Teachers. Barbara’s for-profit board work includes being a board member for Sugarlift and a past board observer for Lovesac and past advisory board member of Cocomama, formerly Cisse.
She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton Graduate School of Business.
Managing Partner, WXR Fund
The WXR Fund is a venture firm at the intersection of two immense opportunities: women and the next wave of computing. The WXR Fund invests in gender diverse seed stage companies that are transforming businesses and human interaction with spatial computing (VR/AR) and artificial intelligence.
Martina is an entrepreneur at heart. She founded her first startup over a decade ago in mobile gaming and after exiting that, she went on to found a VR production studio called ConveneVR.
5+ years Board President of Women in Tech (Seattle), member of the Washington Technology Association XR Council, World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and advisor to the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking at the University of Washington. Featured in Forbes and Time
M12, Microsoft's Venture Arm
Lee is a Strategy Development Manager for M12 based out of the greater Seattle area. He is responsible for technology trend analysis, building thesis frameworks, and opportunity analysis influencing business development and investment activities. Lee’s areas of focus include: National Security technology, Brain-computer interface (BCI), cybersecurity, data & AI, IoT, and Enterprise IT.
He joined M12 from Microsoft’s Corporate Strategy team, where he advised Microsoft senior leadership on topics related to the business health and growth of the company. He also led strategic projects and customer engagement programs for Microsoft’s EVP of Corporate Strategy and Core Services Engineering and Operations.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Lee was a management consultant where he helped traditional software companies transform their business models towards XaaS models. He has a BA in Economics and a certification in Entrepreneurship from the University of Michigan.
I have close to a decade’s experience designing and implementing actionable impact frameworks using collaborative approaches adapting logical frameworks for various organizations. At Capria, I have worked with 19 fund managers in the Capria Network and over 30 companies in the Unitus Ventures portfolio to develop and integrate impact management strategies. I strongly believe impact and financial returns can be enhanced by aligning impact with business operations and strategies. I am an active contributor to multiple global impact working groups including the GIIN IRIS+ and EMPEA’s SDG working groups.
Partner, Slow Ventures
Will focuses on originating, valuing and managing the firm’s secondary investments. Will was previously a Vice President and Associate and represents the firm on the Board at eBags.
Prior to joining Industry Ventures, Will worked as an Analyst with Banc of America Securities working on private capital raises, with an emphasis on growth capital
in the Media, Technology and Healthcare sectors. Prior to Banc of America, Will served as an editor for the AlwaysOn Network, where he covered technology startups and was responsible for selecting the AO 100, a list of the 100 most innovative private companies.
Will earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.
Giselle Rivers represents high growth companies in the technology, media, fashion, e-commerce and consumer product industries.
She advises clients throughout their lifecycle on general corporate law matters as well as complex transactions including debt and equity financings, strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions and public securities offerings.
Giselle also regularly represents venture capital and private equity investors in connection with their investments and acquisitions.
Lauren Creel primarily represents start ups and venture capital funds, with an emphasis on early-stage companies and financings.
She also has experience with public offerings for both domestic and foreign private issuers, SEC reporting and compliance and mergers and acquisitions.
Before joining Cooley, Lauren was an associate with Vinson & Elkins in Austin, Texas. In her former career, she worked for several economic consulting firms, supporting expert witnesses in class action litigation and qui tam lawsuits.
While at the University of Texas School of Law, Lauren was associate editor of the Texas Law Review
and a teaching assistant in the first-year writing program (or Teaching Quizmaster as the Longhorns like to call it).
• “Why the Enforcement Agencies’ Recent Efforts Will Not Encourage Ex Ante Licensing Negotiations in Standard-Setting Organizations”, 89 TEXAS LAW REVIEW 967, 2011
Mel spent over 17 years at Nike, leading international marketing teams across running, women’s, soccer/football and training. She worked on all of Nike’s digital sports and tracking products, advised their new business incubator Valiant Labs, and was most recently vice president and general manager for their skateboarding business. Today Mel is managing partner at Next Ventures, a VC fund investing in innovative health, sports and wellness companies. She sits on the board of performance brand PowerDot and sports media group Pocket Outdoor Media, and is an advisor for photography app VSCO. She is also an advisory board member for Women in Sports Tech and Outdoor Afro.
Phoebe Huang practices corporate and securities laws and represents companies across a broad
spectrum of industries.
Phoebe has experience with corporate formation, venture capital financings and general counseling.
Sara Semnani counsels private and public companies at all stages on formation and financing activities, securities law compliance, public company disclosure and corporate governance matters.
She also represents companies in initial public offerings and follow-on securities offerings as well as other equity financings, primarily in the life sciences industry.
Prior to joining Cooley, Sara was an associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP.
As a Partner at Keeler Investments Group, I manage a multigenerational family office and invest in Seattle and San Francisco-based pre-seed and seed stage tech companies.
2018 investments: Visual Vocal, Jet Closing, Public Goods, UnicoAero, Slope.
2019 investments: SigmaIQ, Teooh, Kylie.ai (now Directly), Datamode, Friendshop (now Landed), Union Apartment, Dolly, Kids on 45th, GiveInKind, 5Five, Bamboo Learning.
2020 investments: Source, Yesler
Sonya has over 30 years of experience counseling emerging growth companies, established technology businesses and venture capital funds. Her clients range from early stage startups to larger public companies.
Sonya advises clients on a variety of legal and business issues. Her particular expertise is in private and public financing, strategic technology transactions and mergers and acquisitions. Sonya is counsel to public and private companies in a broad range of industries, with a focus on the software, biotechnology and medical products and services industries. In the last 10 years alone, Sonya has worked on more than 500 venture capital and private equity transactions, as well as numerous public offerings, M&A structured buy-outs, spin-offs and other complex business transactions.
Sonya serves on Cooley’s board of directors. Prior to joining Cooley, she was a shareholder at Heller
Ehrman and a director and one of the founding members of the Seattle, WA office of the Venture Law Group (VLG) before the merger with Heller Ehrman. Prior to that, Sonya was an associate and VLG in Menlo Park, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison in Palo Alto and Jones Day in Los Angeles.
Sonya is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the category of Venture Capital Law since 2004, is
listed as a leading attorney in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2013 –
2018, and listed in Washington Super Lawyers from 2014 to 2018.
Madrona Venture Group
Len joined Madrona in January 2010. He is interested in software/hardware/analytics systems that transform work and economics for big industries, and consumer products that change the way we see, hear, feel and sense life. He most enjoys working with entrepreneurs on building their teams to last and scale. “I have 16 years of experience working at companies and have made some great decisions and meaningful mistakes. It’s worth learning from both.”
Len has served on the boards of 17 early-stage companies and has been a director or executive at three companies that have completed initial public offerings. Prior to joining Madrona, Len was a partner at Frazier Technology Ventures and was involved in investments including Control4 and Docusign. Prior to his career in venture, Len spent 16 years in the software industry, including as senior vice president at RealNetworks from 1996-2001 (RNWK-Nasdaq). Len’s team released four major versions of the RealSystem software platform and generated the majority of the company’s 100%+ annual revenue growth during the period. Before joining Realnetworks Len was President of Creative Multimedia, Inc., (acquired by IHS- NYSE INFO) and started his software career in product management for Central Point Software before it was acquired by Symantec (SYMC- Nasdaq).
Len is past President of the Seattle Country Day School Board of Trustees, founding board member of Seattle United Soccer Club and has coached and played soccer his entire life. He enjoys spending time trying to keep up with his wife and four children, runs occasionally and is remembering how to play tennis.
Trilogy Equity Partners
Chuck Stonecipher, Managing Director, is a member of Trilogy’s investing team. Prior to joining Trilogy, Chuck served in various executive capacities, including President and COO, with Advanced Digital Information Corporation (NASDAQ: ADIC) from 1995 to 2006, when it was sold to Quantum (NYSE: QTM). During his tenure, ADIC grew from less than $20MM to over $400MM in annual revenues. Prior to ADIC, Chuck served as Chief Financial Officer of Interpoint Corporation and as a manager and consultant with Bain and Company in San Francisco. He began his career as a design engineer with Boeing Aerospace and then Korry Electronics.
Chuck holds BS, Phi Beta Kappa, and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is part of a five-generation wheat farming family from Walla Walla, WA.
Madrona Venture Group
Tim is focused on investing in B2B software companies in the Pacific Northwest. He currently is particularly interested in the areas of intelligent applications and SaaS, cloud native software, ML and data analytics, and security. He is a board member of numerous Madrona portfolio companies.
In addition to his work at Madrona, Tim is a member of the Investment Committee for the Alliance of Angels Seed Fund I and is on the board of the Technology Alliance. Tim also serves on the Investment Committee for Global Partnerships’ Social Venture Fund.
Prior to joining Madrona in 2006, Tim was a key member of Microsoft’s Corporate Development group, where he shared responsibilities for sourcing, structuring, and negotiating Microsoft’s acquisitions, strategic investments and joint ventures. While at Microsoft, Tim focused on enterprise software, security, and mobile and closed 14 transactions for over $850 million. Notable transactions included Microsoft’s acquisitions of Softricity, FrontBridge Technologies, ProClarity, Whale Communications, and Giant Company Software. Earlier in his career, Tim worked nearly five years for broadband satellite start-up Teledesic, spending his last year there also working for Craig McCaw’s Eagle River Investments.