The founder of Grafine Partners intends to share the wealth. Her firm's '1A' mission is to 'provide a place where women can thrive in careers in private equity.
When brainstorming what to name her new firm, Elizabeth Weymouth wanted something to reflect her intent to create a durable and high-quality investment platform. This made her think of various materials, and eventually came up with graphene – considered one of the strongest and most transparent substances in the world.
The name Graphene was trademarked. Weymouth was discussing this issue with her mom, a native of Denmark, who came up with the solution. “My mom told me to just change it to Grafine,” Weymouth says.
Launched in 2019, Grafine Partners uses two strategies within its fund. The first invests in new general partners to help them develop and scale, much like a GP stakes fund. The second connects LPs (think family offices and sovereign wealth funds) to direct investment opportunities.
“Being a woman in leadership in the early part of my career gave me great perspectives to identify talented alpha generators. Being able to see different perspectives and having peers with different backgrounds and a diversity of ideas is critical for success”
While bringing returns to its investors is the firm’s top priority, Weymouth says Grafine’s “1A” mission is to “provide a place where women can thrive in careers in private equity.”
So far, roughly two-thirds of Grafine’s existing team are women.
Weymouth spent the first part of her career in JP Morgan’s private banking division, rising to the ranks of managing director and head of investments for the northeastern US. She said JPMorgan provided support not just for her, but for women and minorities throughout the company.
“Being a woman in leadership in the early part of my career gave me great perspectives to identify talented alpha generators. Being able to see different perspectives and having peers with different backgrounds and a diversity of ideas is critical for success,” Weymouth says.
Weymouth left JPMorgan to become the only female partner at Riverstone Holdings, a boutique investment fund focusing on the energy industry – as male dominated a sector as one will find. But that, too, gave her valuable experience as the firm helped steer institutional capital to many founder-led firms.
“At the end of the day, I chose the off-the-beaten path. I like finding the area less traveled,” Weymouth says.
Raised in New Orleans, Weymouth spent significant time overseas while growing up. “Those global travels early on helped me understand how to connect with different people and see different perspectives,” Weymouth says.
Her global outlook is reflected in her being a member of the prestigious Council of Foreign Relations. “It’s a great group of first-class experts. It’s great to be able to talk with them and have the opportunity to ask questions and get their expertise,” Weymouth says.
Weymouth also serves on various boards for schools and others connected to education.
An avid reader, Weymouth has an indirect connection to acclaimed business writer Michael Lewis (The Big Short, Flash Boys, Moneyball) as both attended the Isidor Newman School in New Orleans. (They did not overlap.) But she says her three sons are much more impressed with two of the school’s other famous graduates – legendary quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning.