THE GRAHAM & WALKER CATALYST
Virtual. Free. Inclusive. Unapologetic.

THE GRAHAM & WALKER CATALYST

  • Where female founders get the “inside secrets of finding investment dollars.” Forbes

  • “The Y Combinator for female founders.” –TechCrunch

 

Batch 5 Dates: April 29th-May 17th, 2024

Applications are due March 14th

Since 2018, we have directly supported 638 founders in fundraising-readiness programming, resulting in a collective 150M+raised.

The Catalyst is for female founders to “start thinking and talking like insiders—decoding what is happening and giving them a massive leg up.” -Forbes
“The experience of female founders is very different from men, and preparing women requires expertise and an understanding of what that experience is like." -Dr. Arielle Radin Pulverman, co-founder, Bruin Health

The Catalyst is for female founders to “start thinking and talking like insiders—decoding what is happening and giving them a massive leg up.” -Forbes

A Catalyst alumna (and now G&W portfolio founder!), Dr. Arielle Radin Pulverman, recently told Forbes that she applied to the Catalyst because she knew that being a female founder would make the process of fundraising even harder. (Female founders got just 2% of VC funding in 2023, according to PitchBook). Let’s change that.

See Yourself Here

What Past Founders Have to Say

What Past Founders Have to Say

I feel like not only did I end up with a bunch of actionable insights that I’ve already put into practice, but that I have an army of experts at my back.

G&W gave me a secret entrance to a house of information and influence. And then, on top of all of that, I got a community of incredible women founders who I know I can reach out to bounce ideas off of and get support from. Amazing.

Jessie ShipmanFluincy
Company
Batch2 Cohort
What Past Founders Have to Say

“I would credit the Fundraising Process Session 100% with why this fundraise went so fast and was oversubscribed. Thank you.”

Amanda OrsonFounder & CEOGalleon
Company
Batch4 Cohort
What Past Founders Have to Say

The catalyst helped me understand what it takes. I’m leaving it with concrete examples and tactical information that will really help. I think that fundraising is hard, but I feel better equipped to be able to do it on my own.

Keara KindelynnForeverly
Company
Batch1 Cohort
What Past Founders Have to Say

“I am so proud to have been involved with Catalyst and G&W. We are leaving the program armed with honest, clear, actionable advice across multiple areas, from finance modeling to personal branding, and as a member of a broader community out there cheering each other on.”

Leanne TurnerCo-Founder and COOAlō Index
Company
Batch4 Cohort
What Past Founders Have to Say

I feel that this program should be mandatory for any woman wanting to fundraise successfully and efficiently.

After going through this program, I am really regretting not knowing and/or doing a lot of these best practices earlier and I think that my chance of succesfully fundraising pre-Catalyst and post-Catalyst has been hugely impacted.

Also, it’s extremely rare to find a program and team of this caliber offering a FREE program to founders – game changer for sure.

Sophie AignerAlive, Fit & Free
Company
Batch2 Cohort
What Past Founders Have to Say

“Any founder is guaranteed to be in a more advanced, aware, confident, and capable space after this experience.”

DMA AndersonFounder & CEOKorgi
Company
Batch4 Cohort
What Past Founders Have to Say

“It was a great program. Every woman should do this when they are starting out. I wish I had learned this earlier in my journey and to not take some of the finding investor pitfalls personally.”

Rory StantonFounderAila Health
Company
Batch3 Cohort
What Past Founders Have to Say

“The demystification of information regarding investors/investment and the pitch deck sessions we had with peers and mentors were extremely valuable. Since leaving the program we have spoken with several investors, have been invited to apply to Techstars Paris Sustainability Accelerator, and have attracted a co-founder from Y-Combinator Match. The G&W Catalyst program was instrumental in accelerating a clear understanding of what information should be presented to investors and when, making it digestible in stage appropriate bites, sharing what is necessary and providing a clear strategy of execution to create an investment pipeline.”

Shawna RuffFounderImpact Partners Network
Company
Batch4 Cohort
What Past Founders Have to Say

Nearly every minute was of value and offered excellent, useful information that can be put into practice. We very much appreciated G&W’s commitment to giving this Batch an incredible experience. Presenters, 1-on-1 conversations, and participants all came to fully engage with authenticity. The program offered great/honest feedback, resources, tips, and, most importantly, clarity and inspiration. You really are rockstars. Thank you for offering this program. We are fortunate to have participated.

Jane HelmkeEpilogg
Company
Batch1 Cohort

We invite quality, vetted experts to guide you on your fundraising journey.

Week 1 - Lift-Off: VC Demystified
  • Intro to Venture Capital
  • Investor Fireside Chat
  • Pitch deck fundamentals 1 – Nailing the value prop
  • Pitch deck fundamentals 2 – Business models & KPIs
  • Pitch deck fundamentals 3 – Setting milestones and raise targets
  • How to Pitch
  • Peak Performance Workshop
  • Pitch Practice 1 with Coaches
  • Founder <> Founder Networking

These sessions are subject to change.

Week 2 - Rocket Fuel: Business Building
  • Female Founders: Challenges and Overcoming Bias
  • Building your Founder Brand
  • Hypothesis-Driven Building
  • How to Get Early Traction with Users, SMBs, and Enterprises
  • Press 101
  • Building a Customer-Centric Company from Day 1
  • The Power of a Great Financial Model
  • How Startups Can Build Communities
  • Pitch Practice 2 with Coaches
  • Founder <> Founder Networking

These sessions are subject to change.

Week 3 - Shoot for the Moon: The Fundraise
  • How to Run a Fundraising Process
  • Early Fundraising Options
  • Introduction to SAFE and Convertible Note Financings
  • Navigating Current Market Conditions
  • Founder Panel: How to Avoid First-Time Founder Pitfalls
  • What Goes in the Data Room
  • How to Manage Your Investors
  • Pitch Practice 3 with Coaches
  • Founder <> Founder Networking

These sessions are subject to change.

coolet-white-logo

Best-in-Class counsel for founders

Cooley supports Graham & Walker Catlayst participants with best-in-class counsel, deferred fees, and discounted services.

“Cooley’s team did a great job at helping me navigate our raise. Their founder-friendly and collaborative approach helped us to close our complex round seamlessly.”

– Founder-turned-customer Paroma Indilo

FAQs

0$ to you! We work hard to secure corporate partnership dollars to sponsor this program so that it can be completely free to all entrepreneurs. 

 

April 29th-May 17th, 2024, every weekday between 9 am – 2 pm PT. All of our planned programming will be held within this window, with few exceptions. 

The programming will be fully virtual. The three weeks will be time-intensive,  occupying around 15 hrs/week (up to 20)! Please plan to clear your schedule for the three weeks of the program from 9 am – 2 pm PT so you can maximize the opportunity. 

There are three main pillars of the Catalyst:

  1. Cohort Experience: the fellow founders in your Cohort are on the same path as you, and we facilitate connection & encouragement so you don’t feel alone in your CEO-seat. We start and close each week with just the Cohort. Founders from past Cohorts have said their Cohort is, in the long run, so much more valuable than they had anticipated.
  2. Workshop Sessions with industry experts, including exclusive and high value offers from partners: We bring experts in to provide knowledge and advice on areas specifically related to fundraising and what you need to know as a founder about operating a business in order to be defensible in front of investors. We curate, customize, and tailor this content specifically to the woman or nonbinary founder experience. Our conservative value of these is $50k. 
  3. Mentorship and Coaching: Through the program, you’ll have the opportunity to schedule 1:1 time with select, vetted mentors or investors who are uniquely qualified to give you guidance at this early stage of your journey. Additionally, once per week, you will pitch to a coach and receive feedback. Your coach will be an experienced investor who will be paired with you based on their background, and you will keep the same coach throughout the program. You will also receive feedback from peers!

We understand the unique challenges that await women and non-binary founders, especially those of marginalized identities. We are here to help. Even if you don’t think your company is qualified or ready for the Catalyst, we encourage you to apply. Our program is designed to support a wide variety of founders, including first-time founders.

In our five years running programming for founders, we have learned that companies we are best suited to help get ready to fundraise have clarity on their business, their product, and have evidence of demand. This could mean anything from a waitlist, to signed LOIs, to pilot customers, to paying customers.

We specifically look for companies that understand their business model, target customers, and go to market strategy. We want you to use your time with us to prepare to fundraise, not to pivot! If you’re in the idea phase of your company or product, we’d be happy to refer you to other suitable programs, or would love to see you apply for the next Cohort!

By applying to this program, you will be added to our Founder Community, where you’ll benefit from programming, resources, and support from fellow founders year-round.

As far as you, the founder? Founders who succeed are highly coachable, skilled at interpreting and implementing feedback, and ready to put their full focus on the program.

Applicants must have a woman or non-binary founder. Founders are encouraged to bring co-founders to all programming.

We honor your time in applying with a thorough review. The deadline to apply is March 14th.

If your application rises to the top during the application review, we will invite you to a virtual interview. Interviews will occur the end of March through the beginning of April. 

From hundreds of applications, we will select ~20 companies for the Catalyst program. 

If you are not selected, it doesn’t mean you aren’t building something amazing! It more likely means we don’t believe we are the best vehicle to support you at this stage of your company, and we would hope to see you back in the pool at a later date. 

By applying to this program, your startup will automatically be included in our founder community and be screened for investment. You are also welcome to pitch us directly here. You can learn more about the G&W Fund and our investment thesis here.