For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statements” I had the opportunity to Interview Lindsey Taylor Wood, Founder and CEO at The Helm.
The Helm makes it easy to invest in women. They bring you the latest female-founded products and companies, tell you why they matter, and connect you with ways to support them directly. The Helm’s venture fund invests in female-founded startups, putting capital behind the next generation of leaders in technology and innovation.
I love everything about the way The Helm works. The fact that you can shop the companies and products and that they are grouped by theme with a well thought out digital magazine issues is awesome.
Start with Issue No. 01 Women, Money & Power, there’s so much informative and enjoyable content, the site is designed to make learning interesting.
Paolina: On your website, you have a quote – “We’ll never solve the feminization of power until we solve the masculinity of wealth.” – Gloria Steinem, what does this quote mean to you and how does it drive what the Helm does?
Simply put: money is power. So long as men hold the lion’s share of the wealth, women will never gain equality.
Typically, men with wealth are invited to invest and amass more wealth. Women? They’re invited to give their money away. We make it easier to invest in women by upending the system and changing who is invited to the investment table. Our fund is just the first piece to a greater puzzle. We’re currently building a platform to tell the tales and share the products and service of incredible women across categories. You can expect that early next year.
Paolina: What do you and the Helm look for when selecting business to help support? What are three things that every business owner/entrepreneur should know/learn/understand about finance and/or looking for investment?
We invest exclusively in early-stage, high-growth technology companies with women at the helm — which for us means they are both the founder and CEO.
We are looking for businesses which are leveraging technology in a way that is innovative and scalable, and which can point to some sort of traction or product market fit.
We also make a point of looking for companies in industries that are outside of the traditional areas where women get funding. Our Managing Partner, Erin Shipley, has done a fantastic job of diversifying our portfolio. To date, we’ve invested in digital healthcare, wearable technology, the sharing economy, design software, and eCommerce.
How about three things I’ve learned?
1) It’s not personal. Just because someone doesn’t want to invest in you doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea. There are many successful companies who heard “no” hundreds of times before they heard yes. Keep going.
2) The highs are high and the lows are low. My team hears me say “learn to ride the wave” all the time. One day you feel ready to conquer the world and convinced you are going to. The next day you are certain you’re a failure and the whole thing was a terrible idea.(My friend Kathryn Minshew, Founder & CEO of The Muse and Advisor to The Helm, calls the latter “the trough of sorrow.”) You have to learn to be uncomfortable and to live in the hard; the highs will end but the lows will end too.
3) Because the life of an entrepreneur is so up and down, I recommend finding someone who can both hold you accountable and support you. It’s ideal to have that one person who can hold your vision for you when you’re having trouble holding it for yourself.
Paolina: How can someone become involved as an investor/funder with the helm? For women who want to invest in female led and run businesses, but are not at the accredited investor status, how can they get involved in investing and learning about investing?
Investing doesn’t always mean writing a check. Sometimes it’s asking: how are we, as consumers, being thoughtful about the purchases we make, and the ways in which we move through the world. Recognize the power of your dollar and put it towards goods made in ways that align with your personal beliefs.
Consider this: every dollar you spend is is being invested in something. What are you investing in? Who is profiting from you? If you are interested in purchasing products and services from companies built by women, good news! We are going to make that easy for you through our new Platform launching early next year.
To that end, I would encourage anyone who is passionate about investing in women to sign up for The Helm newsletter where you can read about female founders from across the globe, find resources to become a more confident investor, and get our exclusive Helm Guides. As for investing in our fund, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.