business

All-Female-Led SPAC Backed by Stacey Abrams Raises $250M in Public Debut

Athena Technology Acquisition, a female-led special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with Stacey Abrams on the board, made its public debut on Friday, raising $250 million in capital.
The SPAC, however, has no set plans to acquire a female-led company.  
"Although we're not looking just for an all women-led company, we also hope that it creates the opportunity for those that would have never considered a SPAC as an alternative," Phyllis Newhouse, CEO of Athena Technology Acquisition, told Cheddar.
Rather, the company hopes to lead by example. 
"Women founders seeing an all-women-led SPAC would have a sense of comfort in knowing that this is an opportunity or an alternative for them as well," Newhouse said. 
As for the criteria it will be using to make its acquisition, Newhouse said the SPAC is looking into fintech, direct-to-consumer, and cybersecurity companies in particular. 
Newhouse had previously founded the cybersecurity firm Xtreme Solutions after retiring from a 22-year career in the military. 
The SPAC has 20 women in leadership and advising roles, including Abrams. 
"When I reached out to Stacey about the SPAC, she was obviously very interested and understanding of how the economics work and why so many women were not involved, especially women of color, and we had a very good conversation around how we can create change," Newhouse said. "So she immediately said 'you know what, I want to be an investor.'"
Serving as chairman of the SPAC is Isabelle Freidheim, the co-founder of Starwood VC and Magnifi, a personal finance search engine. 
Newhouse said the all-women group is working together to tap their networks to find the right fit for an acquisition. 
"If you want to get something done, call up a couple of your girlfriends and say 'okay, who do you know, who do you know?' and trust me within 15 minutes, you'll have more people on the list," she said. 
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