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A Letter From Our CEO

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Darya Allen-Attar, CEO, Women Founders Network

Startup Advice

Hello, Women Founders Network Community! I hope that you are all safe and healthy. I don’t know about you, but I have never been busier— working full-time at home on my day job, homeschooling three kids, and trying to find a lifeline for Women Founders Network and Women Founders Foundation during this time of business crisis. I understand that COVID-19 is not only a very personal crisis for our WFN Community, but a monumental business crisis of potentially disastrous proportions. In a time of fear and retrenchment, investors are focusing on capital preservation while those with less access to capital in good times (women founders and underrepresented communities) are especially challenged. Even though it would be easier for WFN to write off 2020 and start over in 2021, we feel that there is a need in our community and we are going to work to meet that need as best we can. To accomplish this, we also need your support and input. We want to offer help where we’re able and we will be focused on the following:

  • Virtual Events will be offered through the fall. Our Foundation will host virtual educational events for female founders and our unique Junior Judges program (making girls VC for a day, and educating them on evaluating business plans).

  • Fast Pitch applications will be accepted May 1-June 30 via our website. We are extending the early bird application fee of $50 through June 15.

  • Annual Fast Pitch Event will be held in virtual format on October 27. We are adjusting the program and the details of the event to align with this virtual format.

  • 5 companies will be selected as finalists to compete for a cash prize, and will also receive the mentorship, advice, visibility and credibility that our Fast Pitch provides.

  • Cash prizes will range from $25k-50k, dependent upon fundraising. Thank you to Union Bank for funding our 1st place prize of $25k and to Stacey Feinberg of 33 Capital for funding the $5k Junior Judge award.

We continue to need Corporate Cash Sponsors and tax deductible donations to our 501(c)3 Women Founders Foundation. Please let us know if you can help us meet the challenge of 2020!

Wishing you good health! Darya Allen-Attar CEO, Women Founders Network


Darya Allen-Attar

CEO, Women Founders Network

Executive Director, Women Founders Foundation

Darya is passionate about the advancement of women. In 2013, she co-founded Women Founders Network (WFN), a virtual accelerator whose goal is to connect women founders not only with the required capital but also with the resources, connections, mentorship and sponsorship they need to grow scalable, successful businesses. Since 2013, WFN and its members have awarded and invested over $1.5M in cash and services to women founders and alumni have raised over $100M in funding. Subsequently, Darya founded the nonprofit Women Founders Foundation (WFF) in 2017, with a mission of educating women and girls about entrepreneurship to inspire the next generation of women founders and investors. In 2008, Darya founded Broads Circle, an executive level women's networking group with a focus on money and power for women.

Darya has been recognized for her community service in California by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a leading woman “Making a Difference” in Los Angeles, Rising Star Category, LABJ 2013. She was also recognized as one of the “Most Powerful Women in California” by California Women Lead (November, 2016) for her community work and the advancement of women. Darya serves on the Investment Advisory Committee for the California Community Foundation. She also serves on the Boards of the Los Angeles Westside YMCA and the Los Angeles Chapter of Advisors in Philanthropy (LA-AiP). Darya earned her BA from Kalamazoo College, Certificate in Accounting from Northwestern University, and her MBA in Finance from Fordham University.


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