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The two women behind this $600 million IPO just made history

May 28, 2021, 1:07 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A new project examines the legacy of the Tulsa massacre, the pandemic could cost women $600,000 in lifetime earnings, and we get another history-making IPO. The Broadsheet will be off on Monday for Memorial Day in the U.S.—we’ll see you here on Tuesday.

– A FIGS first. Yesterday, direct-to-consumer medical apparel company FIGS debuted on the public market, raising nearly $581 million. Those who don’t work in health care or follow the day-to-day IPO news may not have heard of the company, but here’s one reason it should be on your radar: It appears to be the first-ever company taken public by female cofounders.

Heather Hasson and Trina Spear started the company after observing that health care workers were typically responsible for buying their own scrubs, but stores that sold the apparel were often located in a “strip mall far from the hospital.” In addition to being founded by women, the company serves an overwhelmingly female customer base—83% of FIGS shoppers are women.

Emma spoke to All Raise’s Pam Kostka to put Hasson and Spear’s accomplishment in perspective. While the All Raise CEO doesn’t know of any other female cofounders who’ve made it all the way to IPO together, she did point out that they may be a harbinger of what’s to come. The companies going public now, she says, likely received VC funding five to ten years ago. Women are still getting just a tiny sliver of venture funding—but it has increased in recent years. So, we’re still a few years out from seeing how that shift in venture money might change the types of companies that make it to an IPO.

For more on FIGS and trends in female-led companies entering the public markets, check out Emma’s story.


Now, as we head into the holiday weekend here in the U.S., please allow me a quick bout housekeeping—albeit some of my favorite housekeeping of the year! We’re gearing up for Fortune‘s annual Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit, which is taking place on June 23-24. We are virtual this year, so we won’t get to see all your faces in person just yet, but we hope many of you will join us digitally. We have a fascinating, diverse, inspiring speaker lineup—including former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, author and activist Dylan Farrow, Facebook’s Fidji Simo, entrepreneur/model/actress/writer Emily Ratajkowski, Google’s Jacqueline Fuller, 2-time WNBA champ Renee Montgomery, beauty pioneer Bobbi Brown, McDonald’s Katie Fallon, Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, Cameo CFO Deb Schwartz with Cameo favorite and all-around icon Fran Drescher—and more. Explore the full agenda here and apply to attend (or nominate an attendee) here.

Kristen Bellstrom

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Legacy of a tragedy. A new Fortune project examines the legacy of the 1921 Tulsa massacre on its centennial. The story starts with the recent Congressional testimony of Viola Fletcher, a 107-year-old survivor of the massacre. "I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke…I still see Black businesses being burned…I live through the massacre every day," Fletcher told Congress. Fortune

- The latest on Gates. At least four employees at Cascade Investment, the firm that manages Bill Gates' fortune, complained to the billionaire about money manager Michael Larson over several years, reports the NYT. Larson's alleged behavior includes bullying, judging female employees on their attractiveness, showing nude photos of women to colleagues, and making a racist remark to a Black employee. A spokesperson for Larson says "any complaint was investigated and treated seriously and fully examined;" a spokesperson for Gates says the organization "takes all complaints seriously and seeks to address them effectively to guarantee a safe and respectful workplace." And in more Gates news, Bill and Melinda are considering changes to their foundation in the wake of their divorce—including bringing in a board and outside directors, the WSJ reports

- Lifetime losses. According to a new analysis, the pandemic could cost women $600,000 in lifetime earnings. That forecast assumes that women's unemployment won't fully recover until 2024. Altogether, the women who left the workforce in 2020 would lose out on $885 billion for two years of unemployment. Newsweek

- Working women. As Saudi Arabia prepares for a post-oil future, the country can no longer afford to keep half its population at home. Women are working—with their households relying on their income—in more and more Saudi families. While men still hold most decision-making power, women's participation in the workforce increased from 19% in 2016 to 33% last year. Bloomberg

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: The Senate confirmed Christine Wormuth as secretary of the Army, making her the first woman to hold the position. Katie Sowers, who was the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl but left her position with the San Francisco 49ers in January, will join the Kansas City Chiefs staffStephanie Izard, chef and owner of restaurant Girl and the Goat, will be DoorDash's first chief restaurant adviser. Oak HC/FT managing partner Patricia Kemp joins the board of blockchain infrastructure platform Paxos. Puppet promoted SVP of customer success Beth Shea to chief customer officer. 


- Gap goes home. Gap Inc., led by CEO Sonia Syngal, will start selling a new line of home goods—but only via Walmart, not in Gap stores. The partnership allows Gap to reach Walmart customers with its own brand without competing in stores with apparel. Fortune

- Opting out. Naomi Osaka announced that she won't do the typical press conferences at this year's French Open, where athletes are often asked emotional questions about both wins and losses, citing her mental health. Osaka may be fined by the Open for that decision, but she says she's willing to pay—and many athletes and others spoke up in support of her choice. Reuters

- Chipped away. The global computer chip shortage forced GM to close four North American plants for most of this year. Now the automaker led by CEO Mary Barra will restart those plants, again producing the Chevrolet Camaro, Cadillac CT4, and CT5 sedans. New York Times


COVID-19 is killing hundreds of pregnant women and babies in Brazil Wall Street Journal

Some big companies are starting to cover the cost of doulas. Will others follow? The Lily

Nikole Hannah-Jones considering legal action against UNC over tenure flap News & Observer


"There’s something so freeing about it."

-Emma Stone on playing Cruella de Vil in the 101 Dalmatians villain's new origin story

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