Career Path

Investing in women: How The Helm is shaking up the VC world

On Oct. 12, 2017, the venture capital (VC) world was introduced to The Helm, a company and new VC community that offers seed-round funding to female business founders. The Helm, founded by Lindsey Taylor Wood, Erin Shipley and Emily Verellen Strom, takes a radical new approach to change the pipeline of capital available to women founders. By giving investors bespoke opportunities to see how their money is put to work, The Helm’s community aims to attract a new type of investor — men and women familiar with giving through philanthropic pursuits — and show them how real impact is achievable by supporting female founders who are changing industries.

The Helm will invest in high-growth tech startups that have female founders and will back eight to 12 seed-stage deals per year with an average investment size of $200,000. Wood and Shipley talked with me recently about The Helm, how they will measure success, and what their venture means for the VC world in general. Here’s what they had to say.

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Sharon Florentine: What was the impetus for starting The Helm? How is it different than other VC firms?